August 21, 2019

Democrats Celebrate 100 Days of House Leadership

100 Days

The Democrats took over the majority of the US House of Representatives in November, and celebrated their first 100 days of control in April. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote an op-ed that was published on CNN.com to highlight the work Democrats have done in that time.

“With a dynamic, diverse and energized freshman class of 63 new members, Democrats are moving ahead with our agenda for the people: Lower health care costs and the price of prescription drugs, increase paychecks by rebuilding the infrastructure of America in a green, modern and job-creating way, and clean up corruption in Washington so that the government works for the public interest, not the special interests,” Hoyer and Pelosi wrote in their op-ed.

In a press release, Democrats said they have taken steps to fulfill promises to the American people, passing major legislation, holding hearings, and introducing bills to address the nation’s biggest challenges. Hoyer and Pelosi said they will continue to use the House majority to set out an agenda of economic opportunity, growth, justice for all, and a stronger and safer America.

On Health Care

In their first 100 days, House Democrats have been working to deliver on the promise to protect access to affordable health care and bring costs down for coverage and prescription drugs.

With the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor Committees, Democrats also brought legislation to protect Americans who have pre-existing conditions, reverse the sabotage of the ACA, and make coverage more affordable. Individual components of this comprehensive bill are being worked on through committees, and House Democrats will bring those bills to the floor in the coming weeks. Also, Democrats are holding hearings on the increasing costs of prescription drugs and advancing legislation to address it.

On Economic Opportunities

Democrats ran on a platform of putting the concerns of working families first. A key point of this effort is raising wages, which have stagnated since the beginning of the economic recovery and have been stopping workers and their families from accessing opportunities to get ahead. That’s why the House passed H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Authored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, it builds on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to make it more difficult for employers to discriminate against women in pay and benefits. Women are now the primary or co-primary breadwinners in more than half of American households, so the effort isn’t just about equality and fairness – it’s about ensuring that working families have higher incomes so Americans can access opportunities. Also, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott introduced the Raise the Wage Act in January and has held a markup to report a bill to the House. The bill would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and then index it to inflation.

Because infrastructure investment is a key to economic growth across the country, Democrats have begun to hold hearings on the need to build a 21st-century infrastructure. This is an area where Democrats, Republicans, and the president can work together, and as legislation advances Democrats will continue reaching out to seek bipartisan cooperation.

Also, Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Richard Neal, marked up and advanced the SECURE Act to increase access to retirement plans for workers, including part-time employees in long-term positions.

Making Government Work

To renew Americans citizens’ faith in government, Democrats began the new majority by putting in place immediate reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and ethical standards. In their first days in office, they implemented changes to House rules that restore regular order and end the gridlock that has alienated so many Americans from Congress. Led by Rep. John Sarbanes and with input from new freshman members of the House, they passed major legislation to put government back into the hands of the people it serves. The For the People Act, H.R. 1, reduces the corrupting influence of money in politics, reforms the redistricting process in way that is national and nonpartisan, sets higher standards of ethics for public officials, and makes it easier for Americans to vote

Rep. Terri Sewell led Democrats in introducing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation is designed to restore the voting rights protections struck down by the Supreme Court in its Shelby v. Holder ruling in 2013. This long-overdue effort complements the House’s passage of H.R. 1’s provisions that expand early voting, make voter registration automatic, and restore the vote to those who have paid their debts to society.

On Gun Violence

In less than 100 days, the Democratic House passed H.R. 8, Rep. Mike Thompson’s Bipartisan Background Checks Act. It makes sure that a background check takes place before every gun purchase. The House also passed Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s bill to close the Charleston loophole, which allowed a man to murder nine innocent people at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2015.

Preserving Public Lands

As a tribute to the life and legacy of the late Rep. John D. Dingell Jr., the House passed a bipartisan lands package in February. The legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and preserves public land for current and future generations of Americans to enjoy this country’s natural environment.

On Immigration Challenges

House Democrats are determined to address the border and immigration challenges. They introduced H.R. 6 to protect Dreamers and those here on Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure from being deported unfairly. They also secured a decision by the administration to give Liberian refugees who already live in this country another year’s deferral, so they will not be sent to a country still reeling from disease and violence.

On the Violence Against Women Act

In the first 100 days, House Democrats passed a five-year reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which includes new protections against partner violence and strengthens programs that already exist. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support, and House Democrats will urge Senate Republicans to take up and pass this critical bill.

On Climate Change

There is, perhaps, no greater threat to the American economy, public health, and national security than climate change. Democrats know a global response is necessary and that the US needs to be a leader in such an effort. That’s why they created the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and introduced H.R. 9, Rep. Kathy Castor’s Climate Action Now Act to maintain America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and keep a leadership role in a global clean energy economy. This is only a first step, and House Democrats will keep making climate change a top priority throughout the 116th Congress.

Rejecting Discrimination and Hate

Democrats have used the first 100 days of their majority to make it clear that they will fight for equality and against discrimination in every form. That’s why they stood up against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in a resolution in early March. House Democrats introduced Rep. David Cicilline’s Equality Act, H.R. 5, to ban discrimination against LGBT Americans in housing, employment, education, jury service, credit, and every other area in which they still face inequality. The Equality Act will come to the House floor in the coming months.

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For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.

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