While Democrats made gains in the recent midterm elections, incumbent and incoming progressives in Washington, D.C. are already proposing new strategies and policies to combat economic inequality and save the environment. Senator Bernie Sanders is taking on big businesses that do not pay workers a living wage and Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pressuring House Democrats to combat climate change. The fight for progress in the 116th United States Congress, starting in January 2019, is off to an explosive start.
Last Thursday, November 15, independent senator from Vermont and California Congressman Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley introduced a bill called the Stop Walmart Act. This proposed law would prevent big companies like Walmart from buying back stocks unless they pay all of their own employees at least $15 an hour, allow workers to earn up 7 days of paid sick leave, and limit CEO compensation to no more than 150 times the median pay of all Walmart workers.
The bill was similar to Senator Bernie Sander’s Stop Bezos Act, proposed in September of 2018, that would impose a tax on large companies such as Amazon equal to the value of the public benefits that their own workers receive. That would mean thaat big businesses would pay the federal government for food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal welfare assistance programs for low-income individuals and/or families received by their own workers.
New York Congresswoman-elect, Ocasio-Cortez is a Sanders-style progressive Democrat backed by the Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, and the Democratic Socialists of America. She joined protestors from the Sunrise Movement in California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office to support and propose a Green New Deal, which could transition the country from non-renewable energies to renewable energies.
Win or lose, one thing is for sure: grassroots organizing, protest, and public policy is already taking shape in the next Congress and future elections to come.
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