The No. 2 Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, gave a speech Wednesday highlighting some of the changes and oversight initiatives Democrats hope to launch if they win back the House majority this fall.
Pointing to ideas that have already been proposed from a range of rank-and-file Democrats, Hoyer painted a picture of a US House of Representatives that seeks to correct what Democrats consider the wrongs of the Trump administration.
“Our people believe their government is rigged against them,” he said at a speech in Washington hosted by End Citizens United Action Fund. “This belief undermines trust in government and impedes our ability to govern. It must be urgently addressed.”
The longtime congressman from Maryland, who was majority leader the last time Democrats had control of the House, is poised to go after another top leadership post should his party win in November.
Hoyer routinely beats back reporters’ questions about leadership races, saying he’s squarely focused on the midterms, but it’s commonly believed in the House that he’ll pursue a top post again next session if Democrats are in power.
Building on themes that Democrats have espoused this year of “cleaning up corruption” in Washington, Hoyer pointed to specific areas of oversight that Democrats would address at the start of a new session. Those include the Trump administration’s response to last year’s devastating hurricane season, migrant families being separated at the border this summer and alleged misuse of government funds by Cabinet secretaries.
“This will not – and must not – be about playing politics,” he said. “The aim of these investigations will be to safeguard the public interest and make government work again for the people.”
He also listed a policy agenda that includes restoring the Voting Rights Act, bolstering election security, enacting redistricting changes and pushing campaign finance revisions.
As for changes within Congress and the White House, Hoyer called for full financial disclosure and the most recent five years of tax returns for the president and vice president – a not-so-veiled shot at President Donald Trump, who has not released his tax returns.
Hoyer also pointed to a proposal to ban House members from serving on corporate boards and advocated requiring all members to link to their financial disclosures on their official websites.
Hoyer endorsed ideas by the bipartisan Problem Solvers caucus in the House to change the rules in a way that empowers members, such as allowing any bill that receives a certain number of cosponsors to be considered.