Ethics & Religion
November 8, 2018
An Agenda for the New Congress
By Mike McManus
After winning control of the House, Democrats should surprise the Trump
Administration by proposing initiatives that could win its support. The
temptation to investigate crimes that could lead to impeachment, for
example, should be set aside to allow time for thorough investigation
into such matters and to avoid looking political.
While the Democratic House might also be tempted to pass a measure that
would strengthen the hand of Robert Mueller, for example - the wiser
course is to let him finish his investigation and make recommendations
that can be considered by the Congress as a whole.
What initiatives might win the support of the Democratic House, the
Republican Senate and the Administration? I have ten suggestions.
First, I believe Democrats and Republicans can agree on the need for
infrastructure investment, for example. America's roads and bridges are
in great disrepair. Both parties can see the need for increased funding
for roads, airports and mass transit - that have been neglected for
Secondly, both parties can concur on the need to raise the minimum wage,
which is only $7.25 an hour and has not been raised in a decade. That
figure is so low, a worker earns only $15,080 a year - not enough to
live on. Some states have raised it to $10 to $12, such as Arizona and
California. How about pushing it nationally to $10 over several years?
Third, I believe both parties can agree on several gun control
initiatives. In just 2015, the year of the Sandy Hook massacre of 20
children plus adults, there were 142 more school shootings and 150 mass
Even three-quarters of gun owners and 97% of Americans believe there
should be universal background checks for purchasers. Sadly, 40% avoid
background checks by buying at gun shows. Three-fourths of Americans
want to bar the sale of assault-style weapons like the AR-15. A
three-day waiting period for gun purchases would reduce suicides.
Fourth, let's strengthen the Affordable Care Act, to guarantee that
every American will get needed health care that covers pre-existing
conditions. While Republicans tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act -
which was defeated by the single vote of John McCain - many Republicans
on the campaign trail this fall said they favored covering pre-existing
Fifth, a bill is needed to grant legal status to the immigrant children
known as "dreamers" who were brought here by their parents. The Trump
Administration did just the opposite - separating children from their
immigrant parents, and sending them to ghastly barbed wire camps. It
later recognized its error, and reunited several thousand families - but
not all of them.
In addition, tens of thousands of teenage immigrants have crossed the
border without their parents. All of these "dreamers" could be given a
guaranteed American future.
A sixth important initiative that can win support from Democrats and
Republicans is to strengthen the Voting Rights Act. Some Republicans,
such as Brian Kemp of Georgia, have allegedly suppressed voter
registration - especially of minorities.
As Robert Klaine put it in a Washington Post column, "The greatest
democracy in the world should not be the one where it is hardest to
participate in the democratic process." In fact, a smaller percentage of
Americans vote than in most European countries.
Seventh, let's take initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. California
has shown that it is possible to make drastic reductions of coal, oil
and gas consumption to keep the planet from warming to excessive levels.
It set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020
and has already hit that goal. Its aim is to use solar power to produce
100% of its electricity by 2050. Every state should follow its lead.
My eighth proposal is to accept Obama's goal to increase average gas
mileage to 30 mpg by 2020 and 36 mpg by 2025. Trump has proposed
eliminating those goals. I believe both parties might agree to aim for
50 mpg by 2040.
Ninth, let's prohibit federal subsidies to cohabiting women who have
children. Unmarried women need the $25,000 for welfare, food stamps and
Medicaid. But cohabiting women have the benefit of their partner's
income. America's unwed birth rate is now 40% - 20 times the 2% rate of
Japan. Fewer subsidies would cut unwed births.
Finally, America must cut its federal deficit. In two years it has
jumped from $587 billion to $750 billion. It's soon expected to be $1
trillion. Let's aim for a balanced budget with a zero deficit.
Let's work together to solve America's problems.
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to
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