Gun safety proposals taking shape for new Democratic House
Although Democrats won’t take over the majority in the House of Representatives until January, they’re already spelling out an ambitious agenda. Democratic leaders and incoming representatives have been giving details about some of the issues they hope to tackle, such as a broad ethics reform package, which would include campaign finance reform, voting rights, and ethics and accountability.
Of course, Democrats will have oversight authority, which various committees will use to investigate the many misdeeds of the Trump administration. Already, incoming committee chairs are announcing their agendas.
California’s Adam Schiff aims to support the Robert Mueller investigation and look into the Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
California’s Maxine Waters is ready to take on the big banks and insurance companies as head of the House Financial Services Committee.
Maryland’s Elijah Cummings is likely to head an ethics investigation as the new chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Impeachment, if it happens, would be under the auspices of New York’s Jerry Nadler as head of the House Judiciary Committee, although he says his first move will be to protect the Mueller investigation.
As head of the House Ways and Means Committee, Massachusetts’s Richard Neal says he has every intention of going after Trump’s tax returns.
Several new members, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are backing a Green New Deal to combat climate change. There’s some pushback from veteran Democrats slated to head committees that normally focus on the environment, who worry that the ambitious plan might not be realistic, but a few other House Democrats are on board.
Another big initiative could be legislation on gun safety, which many newly elected Democratic members of Congress stressed in their campaigns. By all accounts, Democrats aim to start with common-sense gun laws backed by big majorities of Americans—support for universal background checks of all gun buyers is nearly universal itself. These bills could include background checks; a “red flag” law, in which police or family members could ask a court to take weapons away from someone deemed a danger; a repeal of the Dickey Amendment, a 1996 provision that restricts federal funding for research on gun violence; a ban on bump stocks; and more.