Acknowledging that “too many Americans don’t know what we stand for,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer unveiled an economic agenda that he and other congressional Democrats say will show that “we are the party on the side of the working people.”
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump presented himself as a champion for working people and his populist promises helped propel him to victory. But, as president, he has pursued an agenda that would line the pockets of billionaires and big corporations at the expense of the working families who believed in his candidacy.
Trump’s failures to live up to his campaign promises has left a vacuum on economic issues, as Schumer (D-N.Y.) put it during Monday’s unveiling of the Democratic plan titled “A Better Deal.”
As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) explained in a Washington Post op-ed published today, Democrats seek to connect with working people who feel left behind in today’s economy.
“It is an ambitious economic agenda that represents a renewed Democratic commitment to the hard-working men and women across the United States who have been left out and left behind for too long,” Pelosi wrote.
The Democratic agenda includes proposals to increase workers’ pay, reduce people’s daily expenses and “provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy,” as Schumer wrote in The New York Times. He promised that in the coming months his party will lay out “a series of policies that, if enacted, will make these three things a reality.”
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders supports this effort. In a statement, he emphasized the role of unions in achieving these goals:
“I applaud Democrats’ commitment to building an economy that rewards working people and not just the wealthy and well-connected,” Saunders said. “Substantial investment in infrastructure, paid family leave and a higher minimum wage are all important policy goals that AFSCME enthusiastically supports.”
He added that the best way to accomplish such goals is to protect the freedom of workers to join labor unions and negotiate a fair return on their work.
“Unions provide the power in numbers that make better jobs, better wages and a better future possible,” Saunders said. “We encourage all lawmakers to make freedom to join a union a centerpiece of any economic agenda going forward.”