From the Left



What to expect of House Democrats

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After two years of Republican control over both chambers of Congress and the presidency, some balance has been restored to our democracy.

I know and have worked with many members of the 116th Congress. They are people of integrity who will strive to do what's right for America. Nancy Pelosi is tough and courageous. Were it not for her insistence, Barack Obama would not have pushed for the Affordable Care Act.

But they are not miracle workers. Republicans still control the Senate, Donald Trump is still the president, and there is still a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

House Democrats will make life harder for Trump, to be sure. They will investigate. They have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents. The House Ways and Means Committee is specifically authorized to subpoena Trump's tax returns.

They might even move to impeach Trump, if Robert Mueller reports what I expect him to.

They will also stop bad laws coming from the Senate -- cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps for the poor.

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But they will do little to slow or reverse the growing imbalance of wealth and power in this country -- unless they are pushed to do so.

Do not ever underestimate the influence of Wall Street Democrats, corporate Democrats and the Democrats' biggest funders. I know. I've been there.

In the 2018 midterms, big business made more contributions to Democrats than to Republicans. The shift was particularly noticeable on Wall Street. Not since 2008 have donors in the securities and investment industry given a higher percentage to Democratic candidates and party committees than to Republicans.

The moneyed interests in the Democratic Party are in favor of helping America's poor and of reversing climate change -- two positions that sharply distinguish them from the moneyed interests in the Republican Party.


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