RELEASE: CAP Memo Outlines Priorities for New Congress in Early 2019: Political Reforms and a Progressive Legislative Agenda

Washington, D.C. — A new memo from the Center for American Progress outlines early 2019 priorities for the new majority that will take control of Congress at the start of next year, with systemwide political reforms and a strong progressive legislative agenda at the top of the list.

“The U.S. House of Representatives must … begin its work in early 2019 by … embracing difficult but consequential reforms such as banning lobbyist fundraising. Alongside those reforms must come a progressive legislative agenda that can further restore faith in government and deliver real progress for American families. This agenda should make meaningful change in policy areas core to the life and livelihoods of working families: raising wages, lowering health care and prescription drug costs, and restoring basic American values to how we protect the most vulnerable among us,” the memo reads.

As CAP’s memo notes, trust in government is at record lows, because an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the system benefits politicians and their well-connected donors, rather than advancing an agenda that protects the rights of the people it represents. As such, CAP encourages the new House majority to pursue the following priorities in early 2019:

  • Fighting corruption and restoring democracy: Ban lobbyist fundraising, end committee conflicts of interest, demand accountability for elected leaders, and expand voting protections and enfranchisement. Flagrant examples of state disenfranchisement of voters in the 2018 elections, as has been seen in states such as Georgia and Florida, signals that Congress must quickly move forward on the broad suite of pro-democracy reforms in congressional Democrats’ “Better Deal for Our Democracy” package.
  • Lowering health care costs: Reduce prescription drug prices and strengthen and protect the Affordable Care Act.
  • Raising wages: Rebuild our nation’s infrastructure; raise the minimum wage and restore overtime protections; end so-called right-to-work laws and other barriers to organizing; make child care affordable for all Americans; create a national paid leave program, and raise teacher pay.
  • Restoring American values: Pass the Dream Act and provide permanent protections for those with Temporary Protected Status, pass comprehensive criminal justice reform, pass the Equality Act, and pass gun violence prevention measures.

CAP’s memo also notes that beyond early 2019, the new House majority must take action in the next Congress to lay the groundwork for future bold actionsuch as enshrining health care as a right for all, making college affordable, addressing the clear and present danger of climate change, and passing comprehensive immigration reform—so that these solutions are ready for a future president who will sign them into law.

Click here to read the memo.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at apreiss@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6331.