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Pelosi urges Dems to stick to economic script

Pelosi urges Dems to stick to economic script
© Greg Nash

House Democratic leaders are sticking to their script as the midterm elections inch closer, largely disregarding the turmoil surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE to focus instead on the economic consequences of the Republicans’ legislative agenda.

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In a Dear Colleague letter sent to Democrats on Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democratic candidate denounces attack ads on rap career MORE (D-Calif.) urged her troops to highlight new funding hikes in areas like health care, veterans services and education — adopted as part of the recently passed 2018 spending package — while hitting Republicans over tax reform and a proposed balanced budget amendment, which Democrats consider a threat to domestic programs like Medicare and Social Security.

“With a strong first quarter behind us, we must now step up our efforts to protect Americans from the ongoing assault by the Trump Administration and Republican Congress on hard-working families,” Pelosi wrote.

The strategy builds on the Democrats’ “Better Deal” agenda, launched over the summer, which is designed to speak to the economic insecurities of middle class voters in lieu of spotlighting the turbulence within Trump’s White House, including the ongoing investigation into Moscow’s 2016 election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

While Trump has been a boon to the Democrats’ recruiting efforts this cycle, party leaders have taken pains to avoid making the election a referendum on the divisive president — a strategy that backfired in 2016.

Pelosi, for instance, has refused to back the small but growing impeachment push from some liberals in her caucus, and she’s declined to weigh in on the allegations of Trump’s affair with a porn star. Instead, she’s sought to shift the discussion to the Republicans’ tax overhaul, efforts to undo ObamaCare and the ongoing administrative push to dismantle regulations designed to protect consumers and the environment. Monday’s letter, arriving as Congress returns to Washington after a long spring recess, largely sticks with those themes.

“The Republican tax scam increases the debt by $1.5 [trillion] to $2 trillion dollars. And yet they are bringing their so-called balanced budget amendment to a vote this week,” Pelosi wrote. “But their real goal is to end Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as we know it. 

“We cannot let this happen.”

Pelosi also called for Democrats to oppose the GOP’s farm bill, expected to be unveiled this week, citing steep cuts to food stamps. And she’s urging her members to fight any Republican efforts to rescind certain spending hikes contained in the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill — rescissions under discussion by Trump and House GOP leaders. Pelosi said those “back-room talks” would undo the bipartisan compromise that took months to achieve.

In a notable break from her economic message, Pelosi amplified her earlier call for the resignation of Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA puts science ‘transparency’ rule on back burner Tucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports MORE, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who’s under fire for lavish travel arrangements and allegations that he benefited from a sweetheart rental agreement on a Washington condo owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist.  

“[H]e is merely the latest example of the staggering ethical blindness emblematic of this Administration that favors special interests and corporations at the expense of America’s children and the air they breathe and water they drink,” Pelosi wrote. 

She’s urging Democrats to hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire when it comes to congressional oversight of the executive branch.