Regardless of whether Nancy Pelosi becomes the next speaker of the US House of Representatives, one thing has become immediately clear in the wake of the 2018 midterms: the Democratic Party is ready to provide a check on Donald Trump.
The California Democrat told Face the Nation that she is prepared to hold the president and his administration accountable, while conducting oversight “with the cool, strategic mindset that has been missing for too long”.
“We are not doing any investigation for a political purpose,” she said, “but to seek the truth. So I think a word that you could use to describe how Democrats will go forward in this regard is, we will be very strategic.”
Democrats are facing questions from reporters on Capitol Hill since the election about whether they will support the House minority leader to become the next speaker, or if they’d vote for any one of the rising stars within the party who have taken further left-of-centre stances on a range of issues.
However, with its newfound voice in Congress, Ms Pelosi appears slated to become the Democratic Party’s House speaker. As of Sunday, nobody within the party had announced a challenge to the 78-year-old congresswoman.
She’s now walking a fine line between catering to the liberal factions of her party who are demanding various investigations into the president and his conduct, while also pushing to accomplish policy initiatives that Democratic candidates won on in battleground districts, from health care to immigration.
Soaring prescription drug prices and insurance costs drove voters to the polls in reliably red states like Texas, the uninsured capital of the nation, where more than 17 per cent of residents lack health care coverage compared to a nearly eight per cent uninsured nationwide average.
“Health care was on the ballot, and health care won,” Ms Pelosi said after the House Democrats victories last week.
Among the first early votes Democrats plan to hold include proposals that will protect those with pre-existing medical conditions – an effort that will test promises several Republicans made along the campaign trail in which they claimed to support coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, the New York Times reported.
The House will also attempt to stabilise former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, by controlling prescription drug prices.
And yet, at the end of it all, Democrats still plan to launch a range of investigations – with at least one likely probe involving health care. The NYT also reported the soon-to-be majority will seek to investigate “Trump administration actions that undermine” Obamacare.
The Democratic Party may also intervene in a major lawsuit which challenges key provisions to Obamacare – including coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Ms Pelosi may find herself at odds with a new range of Democratic newcomers and rising stars in Congress who ran in 2018 on “Medicare for All”. Several Democrats in the House have called for plans to provide federal funding to states in order to pay the largest medical claims, while others have said they want to add funding to encourage Americans to enrol under the Affordable Care Act.
The former House speaker told CNN this week she was “100 per cent confident” she will return to her previous post in order to spearhead these policy proposals and investigations. Meanwhile, at least 10 key House Democrats are reportedly unified behind blocking Ms Pelosi, including Tim Ryan of Ohio and Kathleen Rice of New York.
A vote to determine who will lead the House Democrats will take place at the start of the new Congress in January; the fate of which could ultimately shape the balance of focus on both policies and investigations under the new world order in Washington.
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