In November, 1994, Democrats in Congress were rudely awakened when, by the slimmest of margins, voters tossed incumbents out and the Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives after decades as the majority. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was largely credited as the architect of that GOP victory; he galvanized Republican candidates through a clever tool called the Contract with America — a ten point conservative platform. Never mind that most voters didn’t know what the contract stood for (and still don’t), but the Contract set the agenda for the 104th Congress. Now, Congressional Democrats, weary of their brief minority status, have unveiled a new “Families First” campaign, a 21-point agenda they hope will galvanize Americans to return the reins of the Capitol to Democratic hands. The Democrats refuse to be outmaneuvered in 1996 — they’re going on the offensive with a well produced, orchestrated multimedia strategy to win back the hearts and minds of American voters.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt unveiled the Families First Agenda in a five city satellite town meeting yesterday.
The 21-point Families First Agenda offers few real details, but it does call for a wide range of policies, including pension protection, enforcing pay equity for women, tax breaks for child care costs, banning child labor imports, ending tax breaks for corporations that move U.S. jobs overseas, cutting corporate welfare, giving tax breaks to small businesses, encouraging states to invest in infrastructure, and developing a national effort to prevent teenage pregnancy.