Donald Trump

Pelosi's House: What to Watch for When Democrats Take Control

More bipartisan projects such as infrastructure improvements could be on the table

The divisive, down-to-the-wire midterm elections dominated by President Donald Trump and his denunciation of immigrants ended with Democrats gaining control of the House for the first time since 2010, according to NBC News projections.

Victories in hard-fought races will enable the Democrats to take charge of committees, issue subpoenas and block parts of Trump's agenda. Nancy Pelosi, a target of many Republicans during the hard-fought election season, is expected to retake the role of speaker of the House.

Trump, under investigation for possibly conspiring with Russia to win his office, has predicted he could work with Democrats. But by Wednesday morning he had tweeted, without evidence: "If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!"

Here's a look at what could be in the Democrats' plans as they wield power against Trump.

Investigating the Trump Administration
Democratic leaders steered clear of talk of impeachment during the campaign, although activists such as Tom Steyer have raised it frequently, and they want to allow special counsel Robert Mueller to complete his investigation.

First off could be protecting Mueller's probe, a step the House Judiciary Committee unsuccessfully tried to take in September, with a bill that would have prevented Trump from firing him without good cause.

With control of just one chamber of Congress, Democrats likely can't protect Mueller legislatively. But with control of the House, they'll have other tools. 

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, who is on the Judiciary Committee, earlier requested hearings on Trump's use of his pardon power and his attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a report separate from the Republicans' finding of no evidence of collusion in the 2016 election, and it could be used for future investigations. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California has said he wants to know whether Russians were laundering money through the Trump Organization.

And Democrats are poised to ask for Trump's tax records from the IRS through a seldom-used 1924 law, which says the treasury secretary must comply with such a request. The move would likely lead to a court battle with Trump, who has guarded his returns carefully.

Stabilizing Obamacare and Other Health Laws?
Even as Trump painted a grim picture of an America in danger of a caravan of asylum seekers from Central America, Democrats stayed focused on health care, which, in a turnaround, was the very issue that caused them to lose control of the House in 2010. But since then, Republicans have repeatedly failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, votes that Democrats used against them. Key to the debate: protection for pre-existing conditions, which last year's Republican bill weakened.

With Senate Majority Mitch McConnell threatening to try again to dismantle Obamacare, House Minority Nancy Pelosi said in an interview with The New York Times that Democrats would focus on improving it rather than immediately work to replace it with a single-payer system. Democrats also will emphasize keeping down the price of prescription drugs, with some advocating allowing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, and increasing funding for birth control.

Infrastructure Projects That Might Have Bipartisan Appeal
House Democrats have proposed $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements to fix roads, modernize schools, enhance rail transportation, ports and airports, protect drinking water and expand broadband access. They say the work would create more than 16 million jobs.

Pelosi has said the package is a top priority for Democrats and it is one they might find agreement on with Trump. The president had campaigned on rebuilding the country's infrastructure in 2016. The White House wants to spark $1.3 trillion in spending from state and local governments and the private sector with $200 billion in federal spending.

To pay for the plan, some lawmakers back raising the federal gas tax.

Mitigating Climate Change
Pelosi told The New York Times that if the Democrats win the House she wants to revive a select committee on climate change, to prepare legislation on conserving energy and take other steps to combat global warming and educate the public on extreme weather. The Democrats could also investigate the administration's response to Hurricane Maria, which left Puerto Rico devastated.

Immigration Policy Oversight
Trump urged the U.S. Supreme Court this week to consider whether his administration can quickly end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program begun under President Barack Obama — even before challenges make their way through federal courts. Democrats have opposed discontinuing the program, which has allowed 700,000 young people who are known as Dreamers and who were under 16 when they were brought to the U.S. to remain in the country. Their control of the House would enable the lawmakers to scrutinize all immigration policy. In an op-ed on, Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California argued that the Oversight Committee would be able to put a spotlight on a senior adviser, Stephen Miller, who has driven the administration's attempts to restrict immigration, from ending birthright citizenship to banning immigrants from certain Muslim countries to separating families at the U.S. Mexico border.

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