Loading...
BYH to the one who thinks that we are energy independent because of this president. The initiatives you speak of began...

Democrats have a golden opportunity to update the Contract With America

Loading…

Sunday, December 31, 2017

In 1994, Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" included such goodies as "a balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses."

Well, times have changed, haven't they? However, the contract that Gingrich came up with — a mix of process pledges ("Require committee meetings to be open to the public" — another grand idea Republicans now shun) and policy nostrums (fiscal responsibility, tax relief for small businesses, child tax credits) helped nationalize the election and deliver the House majority to Republicans.

To a large extent, President Donald Trump has already nationalized the midterms, giving Democrats a common theme and rallying cry. But the notion of a succinct, punchy contract is not a bad one.

On the process side, let me suggest:

1. No votes on budgetary items without a Congressional Budget Office scoring of the final version and a period of 72 hours for consideration.

2. Regular order. Period. No secret committees. No drafting behind closed doors. Hearings with witnesses over a substantial period of time should be required for major legislation.

3. Return the filibuster for Supreme Court justices and circuit court judges to prevent extreme and unqualified nominees from reaching the bench.

4. Apply executive branch conflict-of-interest rules to the president and vice president.

5. Members of Congress do not get use of the tax breaks they voted for until a new Congress is voted into office.

6. No more hiding from the voters. Members should pledge to hold regular town halls and be accessible at regular intervals to meet with constituents.

7. No more use of taxpayer money to pay for harassment or discrimination claims. Names of members of Congress who settled need to be released. No more nondisclosure agreements to settle such claims in the future.

8. Provide a public forum for those claiming to have been sexually abused by high government officials (before or after taking office).

9. No stock transactions in any industry in which members of Congress exercise oversight.

10. Hold hearings and enforce the Constitution's emoluments clause.

As for the substantive points, Democrats will have disputes among themselves, but certain agreed-upon items should unify them and prove popular beyond the party:

1. Repeal the tax plan items aimed at the rich (e.g. reducing the top bracket).

2. Support a robust infrastructure plan.

3. Pass the bipartisan bill to bolster the exchanges (e.g. Alexander-Murray) and subsidize states' high-risk pools (e.g. Collins-Nelson). (House Republicans would deny a vote on these items, snubbing Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.)

4. Support a resolution making clear that a first strike on North Korea amounts to an act of war, for which a vote of Congress is needed.

5. Pass a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

6. Close down the phony electoral integrity commission. Support state efforts to make voting easier (e.g. automatic registration, vote by mail).

7. Repeal the 2011 Budget Control Act (which has squeezed defense and popular domestic programs while allowing the debt to balloon).

8. Require shell companies to disclose their owners, similar to a measure the United Kingdom enacted to halt the laundering of kleptocrats' money.

Democrats have a golden opportunity to take back the House and, perhaps, the Senate. In addition to solid candidates and voter engagement, they could use some smart marketing. A updated Contract With America would provide the perfect mechanism, with an extra dollop of irony.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

December 16, 2018

Republicans are beginning to jump the not-so-good-ship Trump, but in a most unusual and indirect manner. Instead of joining the cacophony chorus of critics emanating from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations, increasing numbers of Senate Republicans are discovering alternate ways…

douglascohn.jpg

December 16, 2018

The Washington Post

A federal judge sentenced Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, to three years in prison on Wednesday. His misdeeds include criminal violations of campaign finance law, to which Cohen connected the president. Specifically, Cohen, in league with the National…

December 16, 2018

Last month's elections are not quite over.

In two states that chose Democratic governors, Michigan and Wisconsin, Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to nullify the results by passing bills in lame-duck sessions that handcuff the incoming chief executives.

In North Carolina, there's…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

December 16, 2018

Good news for the incoming House Democratic majority! They have something President Trump really, really wants: money to build a border wall. Trump is desperate for this money. Mexico won't give it to him. Only congressional Democrats can. Without their consent, he can't deliver on one of the key…

MarcThiessen

December 15, 2018

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency, he repeatedly promised to build a high, impenetrable, concrete wall along America's nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

And he further promised that it wouldn't cost American taxpayers one red cent, saying he would make Mexico pay for it.…

lambro2

December 15, 2018

The Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s announcement that he will nominate William Barr to serve as U.S. attorney general — a position Barr also held under President George H.W. Bush — eases concerns that he would seek to replace ousted Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions with a loyalist…

December 15, 2018

While many are fretting over the just-right Christmas present, tackling last-minute holiday details or preparing for years-end, many of North Carolina’s high school seniors have the added stress of preparing applications for college.

Unless you parent a high school student it is hard to…

Tom Campbell.jpg

December 14, 2018

Every time conventional Beltway wisdom congeals as quickly as it did on Tuesday — this time around, the certainty that President Donald Trump had blundered terribly in saying he would in effect "own" any government shutdown over border security funding — analysts ought to think back to…

HughHewitt

December 14, 2018

This just in: Black men are still being killed by police officers for no good reason.

But you knew that. Anyone who has remotely been paying attention should be aware that unjustified police killings of African-American men continue unabated. In far too many police departments, the unwritten rule…

Eugene Robinson

December 13, 2018

In the January 1953 edition of the magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction, a fan of the genre from Texas, Marilyn Venable, made her debut as an author. “Time Enough at Last,” Venable’s story of a bookish man who survives a nuclear holocaust, made such an impression that Twilight…

john hood.jpg
325 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»