US House Democrats reaffirm right-wing program of austerity, bipartisanship


US House Democrats reaffirm right-wing program of austerity, bipartisanship

Niles Niemuth

4 January 2019

The 116th Congress opened Thursday with a nearly unanimous vote by the Democrats in the House of Representatives reaffirming their commitment to austerity by adopting a rules package which includes a “pay as you go” provision, requiring any increased spending on social programs or tax cuts to be offset by equivalent budget cuts or tax increases. The Democrats took control of the House for the first time in eight years following November’s midterms while the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate.

The new rules were moved by Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi who was re-elected to the position of Speaker of the House earlier in the day, giving her effective control of its legislative agenda. Pelosi became the first woman to be elected Speaker when she held the position from 2007 to 2011. As Speaker, she is now second in line of succession for the presidency behind Vice President Mike Pence.

Pelosi’s great “achievement” in her first stint as Speaker was the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, aimed at shifting much of the burden of paying for health insurance from businesses and the government onto the backs of workers. In 2007, she worked closely with her top aides, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn, to block any efforts to impeach President George W. Bush and ensure an unending stream of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hoyer and Clyburn have been returned to those positions for the 116th Congress.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy congratulates Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. [Credit: C-Span]

Pelosi’s re-election as Speaker was welcomed by President…

Read more