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Democrats Offer Their '96 Agenda

Families First

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 23) -- The Republicans had their Contract with America. The Democrats now have their own election-year agenda for America.

Dubbed "Families First," the plan unveiled Sunday by congressional Democrats, is aimed at helping middle-class Americans, and helping Democrats regain a majority in the House and Senate in November.

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt introduced their plan before a party meeting at the Old Town Hall in Fairfax, Virginia. (451K WAV sound)

The Contract With America was a 10-point plan House Republicans rallied behind in 1994 when they took control of the House and Senate. The Democrats said that their plan, drafted by leaders of the House and Senate, would be used if they retake Congress in the November elections.


"The bottom line is that Democrats are asking for another chance to lead," Gephardt said. "Our sole and central mission would be to help the working families caught in today's middle-class squeeze ... then we will have a Congress that puts families first and special interest last ... then average Americans will finally have a Congress that's on their side." (193K WAV sound)

The House Republican Conference dismissed the plan, saying it is full of "tiny ideas from tiny minds."

The Democratic agenda centers on the same issues party leaders were concerned with throughout the lengthy budget process -- health care, welfare, education, children and crime -- and steers clear of controversial issues like abortion and gay rights.

Specifically, the plan calls for:

  • Tax breaks for educational expenses.
  • Legislation to help workers retain pensions when changing jobs.
  • A cut in inheritance taxes for family-owned businesses.
  • A loss of tax benefits for companies that shift jobs overseas.
  • Additional federal funding for police officers.
  • Expanded child care tax credits.
  • A ban on clothing imports made with child labor.

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