The Democratic Agenda By Betsy Newmark

by John Hawkins | October 20, 2006 8:36 am

The Wall Street Journal[1] points to this release from the Republican Study Committee[2] in the House of actual bills that House Democrats have proposed in this past Congress. Here are a few of those proposals that might interest people.

Gas Stamp Act (McDermott, D-WA)—H.R. 3712. Creates billions of dollars in gas stamps each year for people to get free gas, to be distributed to those already eligible for food stamps.

Ex-Offenders Voting Rights Act (Rangel, D-NY)—H.R. 663. Allows those convicts who are just out of prison to vote.

National Health Insurance Act (Dingell, D-MI)—H.R. 15. Institutes a new 5% value-added tax on property and services and creates a board to oversee payment to any individual for medical services not covered by Medicare.

End the War in Iraq Act (McGovern, D-MA)—H.R. 4232. Defunds the War in Iraq, forcing immediate troop withdrawal.

A Living Wage, Jobs for All Act (Lee, D-CA)—H.R. 1050. Builds on and strengthens FDR’s “Economic Bill of Rights,” creating rights to “decent” jobs, income for individuals unable to work, a “decent” living for farmers, freedom from monopolies, “decent” housing, “adequate” health care, Social Security, education, work training, collective bargaining, a safe working environment, information on trends in pollution sources and products and processes that affect the well-being of workers throughout the world, voting, and personal security. The bill also requires the Attorney General to create a registry of all corporations convicted of violating state or federal law.

Social Security Forever Act (Wexler, D-FL)—H.R. 2472. Imposes a new income tax on workers, employers, and self-employed businessmen to fund Social Security.

Universal National Service Act (Rangel, D-NY)—H.R. 4752. Makes it an obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the U.S., between the ages of 18 and 42, to perform a two-year period of national service, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense.

And then there are the proposed amendments.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding the right of citizens of the United States to health care of equal high quality (Jackson, D-IL)—H.J.Res. 30. Creates a constitutional right to equal health care.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States respecting the right to decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing (Jackson, D-IL)—H.J.Res. 32 and Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States respecting the right to a home (Rangel, D-NY)—H.J.Res 40. Creates a constitutional right to housing.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States respecting the right to full employment and balanced growth (Jackson, D-IL)—H.J.Res. 35. Creates a constitutional right to full employment.

Granted that most of these bills might not make it out of committee or the House, much less into law. But it is an eye-opening look at how different the discussion in politics would be with Democrats in control. Are those conservatives who are so fed up with GOP spending ready to face a House that would be led by Democratic members looking to guarantee all sorts of new entitlements. And note the clear willingness to raise taxes to pay for these new rights. No matter how annoyed you are with the GOP for spending, at least we haven’t been discussing new taxes while they’ve been in control. And we certainly haven’t been talking about the federal government guaranteeing voting rights for convicted felons or mandating service from 18 to 42 year olds!

This content was used with the permission of Betsy’s Page[3].

  1. Wall Street Journal:
  2. this release from the Republican Study Committee:
  3. Betsy’s Page:

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