Democrats will have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 for the first time in a decade. And while legislative gridlock is likely to remain the rule in Washington, the shift in the balance of power will still affect Californians and issues they care about, from immigration to healthcare to traffic jams.
Here is a look at some of the ways House Democrats can shape policies that matter most to the state: Bridges, water infrastructure and public transit systems are also in desperate need of new investment. Improvements could help reduce the choking congestion many California drivers face.
Republicans in the House balked at the price tag for a federal infrastructure funding package. But with Democrats at the helm, their opposition will be less of an issue. The president said Tuesday he was open to compromise on an infrastructure plan.
Pelosi promised vigorous oversight of some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policies at her press conference in Washington Wednesday. “We are ashamed as a nation by a policy that takes babies out of the arms of their mothers, that builds tents and all the rest to house people under the separation of families,” she said. “We want to look into that.”
Immigrant advocates are also hoping Congress can reach a deal with the president to protect undocumented immigrants that were brought to the country as children, known as Dreamers. California is home to the most Dreamers of any state in the country.
But while Trump has said he wants to find a permanent solution to let these young immigrants stay in the country, his administration has sought to upend a program to protect Dreamers enacted by President Obama, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. Most recently, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the legal fight to end that Obama-era program. That posture doesn’t bode well for a compromise between the president and Democrats on DACA.
House Democrats, however, also have leverage with Trump: they will have the power to block funding for his proposed wall along the southern border with Mexico. Asked about the prospects for immigration reform on Wednesday, Pelosi said only, “we have find common ground, we have to try to find a path.”