Press Release ● Convening of the 116th Congress
For Immediate Release: 
April 11, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
To:        Editors, Editorial Writers, Reporters
From:   House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer 
Re:        House Democrats’ First 100 Days: Delivering on Our Promises
Date:    April 11, 2019

Overview

Friday marks 100 days since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and began putting it back to work For the People.  In this short time, Democrats have already taken important steps to deliver on our promises to the American people, passing major legislation, holding hearings, and introducing bills to address our nation’s most pressing challenges.  This is only the beginning, however, and Democrats will continue to use our House Majority to set out an agenda of economic growth, opportunity, justice for all, and a stronger and safer America. 

Protecting and Expanding Americans’ Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care

In our first 100 days, House Democrats have already worked to deliver on our promise to protect access to affordable health care and bring costs down for health coverage and prescription drugs.  One of our first acts in January was to authorize the House to defend the Affordable Care Act in the lawsuit brought by Texas and other Republican-led states and the Trump Administration.  In seeking to invalidate the entire law, President Trump and Republicans have made it clear that they wish to eliminate every part of it, including protections for those with pre-existing conditions, its ban on discrimination against women, the ability for those under age twenty-six to be covered under their parents’ plans, and the elimination of out-of-pocket charges for preventive screenings and care.  Democrats will take every step to defend the law.In March, we passed a resolution introduced by freshman Rep. Colin Allred expressing opposition to the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage the law by executive actions and through the courts. 

Led by the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor Committees, House Democrats also introduced comprehensive legislation to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, reverse the Administration’s sabotage of the ACA, and make coverage more affordable. The Committees are advancing individual components of this comprehensive bill through their Committees, and House Democrats will bring those bills to the Floor in the coming weeks. In addition, we are holding hearings on the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs  and advancing legislation to address it.  Our Majority will take every necessary step to protect Americans’ access to quality, affordable health coverage and lower prescription drug costs.

Raising Wages and Creating Economic Opportunities

Americans entrusted the House Majority to Democrats because we ran on a platform of putting the economic concerns of working families first.  Central to this effort is raising wages, which have stagnated since the beginning of our economic recovery and have been holding workers and their families back 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 harder for employers to discriminate against women in pay and benefits.  With women now the primary or co-primary breadwinners in more than half of American households, this effort isn’t just about equality and fairness – it’s about making sure working families have higher incomes so our people can access opportunities.  In addition to this legislation, 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.  This bill would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and then index it to inflation.
Recognizing that infrastructure investment is a key to economic growth across the country, Democrats have begun holding hearings on the need to build a twenty-first century infrastructure.  We continue to believe that this is an area where Democrats, Republicans, and the President can work together, and as we advance our legislation we will continue reaching out to seek bipartisan cooperation. 

Additionally, 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 For the People

To renew Americans’ faith in government, Democrats began our new Majority with immediate reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and ethics standards.  During our first days in office, we implemented changes to House rules to restore regular order and end the gridlock that alienated so many Americans from Congress.  Next, led by Rep. John Sarbanes and with input from our dynamic new freshman Members, we 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 our politics, sets higher standards of ethics for public officials, reforms the redistricting process in way that is national and nonpartisan, and makes it easier for Americans to exercise their right to vote

Democrats are also taking action to protect the right to vote.  In February, Rep. Terri Sewell led Democrats in introducing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.  Her legislation would restore the voting rights protections struck down by the Supreme Court in its Shelby v. Holder ruling in 2013.  This effort is long overdue and complements the House’s passage of H.R. 1’s provisions expanding early voting, making voter registration automatic, and restoring the vote to those who have paid their debts to society. 

Addressing the Deadly Epidemic of Gun Violence

For years, the Republican-led Congress ignored its responsibility to take action to make schools, houses of worship, and other public spaces safer from deadly gun violence.  Even with nine out of ten Americans supporting stronger background checks, the Republican Congress did nothing.  Now, in less than 100 days, the Democratic House has passed H.R. 8, Rep. Mike Thompson’s Bipartisan Background Checks Act.  It ensures that a background check takes place before every gun purchase in our country.  The House also passed Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s bill to close the Charleston loophole, which allowed a gunman to murder nine innocent worshippers at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2015.  

Preserving America’s Public Lands for Future Generations

Paying tribute to the life and legacy of the late Rep. John D. Dingell Jr., the House passed a bipartisan lands package in February.  This legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and preserves public lands for current and  future generations of Americans to enjoy this country’s natural environment.  The bill’s enactment was an example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together in good faith to deliver results based on reaching consensus, even during a time of divided government.

Addressing our Nation’s Immigration Challenges

With a deepening humanitarian challenge along the border and many U.S. families at risk of being torn apart by Trump Administration policies, House Democrats are determined to address our border and immigration challenges with the seriousness they deserve.  To that end, we introduced H.R. 6 to protect Dreamers and those here on Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure from being unfairly deported.  At the same time, we secured a decision by the Administration to give Liberian refugees living in this country another year’s deferral, stopping them from being sent to a country still reeling from disease and violence.  Meanwhile, Democrats stood firm against President Trump’s efforts to force Congress to fund his broadly opposed wall, which leaders from both parties have called expensive and ineffective.  Last week, we initiated the process of taking the Administration to court over its unconstitutional effort to move already-appropriated funds to pay for a border wall that Congress has not authorized.

Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

After the Republican Congress failed to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act last year, the law lapsed, putting programs for survivors and support for law enforcement in jeopardy.  In our first 100 days, House Democrats passed a five-year reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that includes new protections against partner violence and strengthens existing programs.  The legislation passed with bipartisan support, and House Democrats will urge Senate Republicans to take up and pass this critical bill.

Taking Action to Address the Threat from Climate Change

There is, perhaps, no greater threat to our economy, public health, and national security than climate change.  Democrats understand that a global response is necessary and that the United States needs to take a leadership role in such an effort.  That’s why we created the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and introduced H.R. 9, Rep. Kathy Castor’s Climate Action Now Act to keep America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and maintain a leadership role in a global clean energy economy.  This is just a first step, and House Democrats will continue to make addressing climate change a top priority throughout the 116th Congress.

Countering Russian Electoral Interference & Strengthening U.S. Foreign Policy

Nothing is more critical to protecting our democracy and maintaining faith in our institutions of government than protecting our elections against foreign interference.  We know that Russia interfered in 2016 and tried to do so again in 2018.  In seeking to prevent Russian interference in 2020 and future election years, House Democrats passed a resolution on a bipartisan vote of 420-0 calling for the full release of the Special Counsel’s report so Congress and the American people can see the full picture of what Russia did and has been attempting to do.

Recognizing that our alliances are a strength multiplier for U.S. diplomacy and national security, House Democrats passed Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s resolution reaffirming American support for NATO and its collective defense article.  Together, NATO countries face a common threat from Russian aggression, and our military personnel continue to serve together in Afghanistan and around the world.  Last week, Speaker Pelosi invited NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint meeting of Congress, where it was made clear to the world that the United States stands firmly with our NATO allies in our common defense of democracy.

In addition, House Democrats, led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and Rep. Ro Khanna, took action to end U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war with a War Powers Act resolution.  Aimed at helping to promote a peaceful settlement that addresses that country’s humanitarian crisis, the resolution also passed the Senate and now sits on the President’s desk. House Democrats will continue to urge him to sign it.

Rejecting Discrimination and Hate

Democrats have used the first 100 days of our Majority to make it clear that we will fight for equality and against discrimination in all forms.  That’s why we stood up strongly against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in a resolution in early March.  It’s also why we passed Rep. Joe Kennedy’s resolution condemning the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military and calling on the Pentagon not to implement that ban on April 12.  Moreover, House Democrats introduced Rep. David Cicilline’s Equality Act, H.R. 5, to ban discrimination against LGBT Americans in housing, education, employment, jury service, credit, and every other area in which they still face exclusion or inequality.  The Equality Act will come to the House Floor in the coming months. 

Beyond the First 100 Days

Over the first 100 days of our Majority, Democrats have made clear that we intend to govern For the People and put Congress back to work on their behalf.  The bills we’ve passed now go to the Senate, where it will be up to its Republican Majority to act responsibly and take action.  Ignoring the legislation it receives from the House will only further alienate Americans who want to see Congress get off the sidelines and be a force for good in their lives once more. 

Democrats are ready to work across the aisle to achieve results and find solutions to our most pressing challenges.  But we will not sit idly and wait for the Senate or the President.  The Democratic-led House will meet its responsibilities to do the job it was elected to do.  We’ve demonstrated that already in our first 100 days.  We will continue to do so in the days and weeks and months ahead.