Democrats on Capitol Hill have made it clear that, for now, they are in charge — and party leaders are not particularly shy when it comes to boasting about their power.
That was particularly evident this week when Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a clear threat to Republicans that they should be more willing to work with his party now that they have seen “we can do it without them.”
“Big, bold change”
His attention-grabbing rhetoric came on Tuesday during an on-air interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
Schumer emphasized that his party is focused on getting “big, bold change done” now that his party has the power to act without serious interference from the GOP.
“I always say, we want to work with Republicans where we can,” he began. “But we have to get big, bold change done, and that is our number one priority. I have a hope. I’m always an optimist, you know that, Anderson, that now that Republicans have seen we can do it without them, that they’ll realize they ought to try to work with us.”
Harkening back to the perceived mistakes Democrats made during the first two years of the Obama administration — when the party had similar power — Schumer told Americans to expect big proposals in the short term.
“But we’re not going to make the mistake of 2008 and 9 and do such a small, measly proposal that it won’t get us out of the mess that we are in right now,” he asserted.
Possible areas of interest
It might not be a stretch, therefore, to presume that Democrats are going to try to cram through as much progressive legislation as possible before Republicans likely see midterm gains in next year, as they did in 2010.
Shortly before Biden’s inauguration, Boston University reported that his administration remained focused on tackling several key issues that would likely be impossible if the GOP recaptured control on Capitol Hill.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, his stated priorities included issues like climate change, the economy, racial equality, and COVID-19. As for the ongoing pandemic, the Democrats were able to score a massive victory this week with the passage of a $1.9 trillion relief bill despite unanimous opposition by Republicans.
The White House also recently confirmed that this administration is committed to pushing for “commonsense” gun control legislation.
Schumer and the rest of his party’s leaders in Congress might be emboldened by the power they have at the moment, but they could regret it when voters have an opportunity to return them to minority status again next year.