House Dem says party needs to 'take some risks' in power

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called on House Democrats to “take some risks” in the new Congress and not wait until the next election.

Grijalva said during an interview that aired on Monday that his biggest hope for the 116th Congress is that the Democratic majority “acts, behaves, and asserts itself as a co-equal branch of government.”

“I hope that we are thinking 10 years ahead, and that we understand that the American people put us in the majority to take some risks to move the ball forward,” the Arizona Democrat told Hill.TV correspondent Jamal Simmons. “To sit comfortably and to wait for the next election, is not an option and shouldn’t be an option and I’m hopeful that that’s what happens"

Grijalva said Democrats shouldn't make statements that "we can't back up" in Congress. But he added that the party should not be "cowardly" on the important issues they ran on in the midterms.

“If we’re going to reform health-care and protect it, let’s agree that that’s where we’re going to go,” he said. “To make a statement that we’re not going to make as a Congress, I think is a mistake.”

Grijalva said Democrats have to be conscious of the responsibilities of leadership.

“We have to bring people along not get so far ahead of them they can’t hear us.”

After 10 years, Grijalva is stepping down as a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), and is poised to take over the gavel on the House Natural Resource Committee in the new Congress.

Democrats have revealed an outline of their first bill for the majority, House Resolution 1— "H.R. 1"— is a wide-ranging anti-corruption bill aimed at expanding voter rights and strengthening the government's ethics laws, particularly when it comes to campaign finance.

Though the overhaul isn't expected to make it past the Senate, the bill is part of Democrats' overall goal of creating more transparency and accountability in Washington. 

—Tess Bonn