While pressure grows on Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, senior members of the party, including Connecticut's Rosa DeLauro, say they're focused on the bread and butter issues.
Congresswoman DeLauro laid out her message to a small group of reporters in her New Haven office Tuesday. She wants people to know that while the news cycle has been focused on the Mueller report, impeaching the president, and now the debates, Congress has been working on issues that have a direct impact on everyday life.
DeLauro talked about several bills, including a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap, and universal background checks for gun buyers. While these and other measures have passed in the Democrat-majority House, DeLauro expressed frustration in getting anything passed in the Republican-held Senate.
“That always leads to the question of where the heck do you go when you get to a Mitch McConnell,” she said, referring to the Republican Senate majority leader. But on the issue of impeaching the president, so far, she is not falling in line with the more than 100 House Democrats who are calling for hearings. She told reporters during the hour-long meeting there’s no majority for impeachment and the focus should be on the issues.
“Where is the information on driving down the cost of prescription drugs? This president said he was going to do that. He has done nothing,” she said. “In addition to which, he supports a trade agreement that would do nothing but lock in the highest cost for prescription drugs in the country. Why aren’t we all over him about that?”
DeLauro, who’s served Connecticut’s 3rd District since 1990, said her constituents are not talking about impeachment. They’re concerned about jobs, affordable housing, and health care.
“You take a look at what happened last November,” DeLauro said. “What were the issues in the campaign last November? Health care. Jobs. Prescription drugs. Draining the swamp? I believe he has betrayed those people who said, ‘I need help. I don’t have any economic security in my life. I can’t afford health care. I can’t afford childcare.’”
DeLauro chairs the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee, and serves on the subcommittee for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. She reintroduced, along with Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the Medicare for America Act, which seeks to provide universal, affordable, high-quality health care coverage.
DeLauro has also been fighting to close the child migrant detention camps at the border and defended her decision to vote against the supplemental funding bill – a $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill, containing provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody. DeLauro said she didn’t feel the Senate’s version of the measure, which ultimately passed, went far enough in accountability standards for the Trump administration. She said it gave too much flexibility to the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for the children's care and “to people who have not safeguarded the well-being of these children.”
As for Trump, DeLauro said she’ll wait until next November when she hopes he is voted out of office.