WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Democrats’ strategic vacation turns into a working staycation, as the politics of the moment derails planning efforts for the year ahead.
In the minority on Capitol Hill, democrats are politically out-gunned, but drawing up a legislative counterattack. The strategy session comes one week after Republicans laid out their plans.
With the federal government on the brink of shutdown, again, House democrats scrapped plans to leave D.C. Wednesday. Instead of a three-day getaway to Maryland, they’ll design their legislative plan of attack for the year in-between daily action on Capitol Hill
Miguel Rodriguez is a political expert with the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund. “The tricky part for Democrats, is that it’s not enough to be anti-Trump,” he said.
Rodriguez said Democrats must have a strong plan and message to counter Republican messaging surrounding the recent tax reform law. A spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus said members will work to raise the minimum wage, increase access to affordable health care, and reform immigration policy.
“The retreat is actually a really an important time to come up with their own positive agenda,” Rodriguez emphasized.
Political operatives interviewed for this story, and on both sides of the aisle said the policies developed by the minority will have far more impact on the campaign trail than here on Capitol Hill. The first midterm primaries are just around the corner.
Political consultant Ryan Williams worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run. “It’s all about elections,” he said of a minority party’s work during retreats.
Williams said democrats only have a chance to win control of Congress if leadership moves the party toward the center. But, he doesn’t believe Democratic voters would get on board. “It’s about getting on the same page,” he said, “the democrats, really right now, are in the midst of a civil war with their base.”
Williams and Rodriguez both said infrastructure could provide the best in-road for bi-partisanship, but so far there’s no agreement on the details.
A federal budget deal needs to be worked out by Thursday to avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers are currently considering a short-term plan.