Blue Dog Coalition Announces Policy Task Forces for the 116th Congress

February 27, 2019 by TWN Staff
On Tuesday, the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally responsible House Democrats announced its new leadership team as their party is poised to retake the gavel in the 116th Congress.

WASHINGTON — The Blue Dog Coalition has announced its four policy task forces for the 116th Congress. The task forces will be the main drivers of policy for the centrist group of members and will focus on fiscal responsibility and government reform, national security, rural opportunity, and infrastructure and job creation. The group, whose ranks grew to 27 in the 116th Congress and has already flexed its policy muscle through the inclusion of pay-as-you-go in the recent rules package, is poised to have a significant impact on legislation in the Democratic House.

“Our members came to Washington to fight for the needs of their constituents and get Washington working again,” said Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46), Blue Dog Coalition Co-Chair for Communications.  “That starts with good governance and sound policy. When the Republicans held control over Washington, they abandoned regular order, silenced calls for fiscal discipline, and ceded huge territory when it comes to securing our nation. Now it’s more necessary than ever that Democrats prove that we are the Party of responsible governance. We can and should deliver on that promise—and the Blue Dogs will help to lead the way.”

“Our country is facing many issues that need to be addressed in an urgent manner; and in this era of divided government, the most urgent way to address these problems is to pursue bipartisan solutions that can reach the President’s desk for a signature,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Blue Dog Coalition Co-Chair for Policy. “This requires a sound policy process and returning to regular order. That means listening to our constituents, pursuing an open, transparent debate, holding committee hearings, accounting for independent policy analysis, and then coming to a fully-informed vote. Under the leadership of the Blue Dog Coalition’s policy task force co-chairs, we will work tirelessly to pursue bipartisan solutions that can be implemented and move our country forward.”

The Blue Dog Coalition Task Forces for the 116th Congress:

Task Force on Infrastructure and Job Creation

Co-Chairs: Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01) and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)

Members: Rep. Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Rep. Max Rose (NY-11), Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)

The Task Force on Infrastructure and Job Creation will primarily focus on delivering a 21st-century infrastructure to all corners of the country and a creating a positive economic climate geared toward boosting growth. The group will advance policies that create good-paying jobs for middle-class Americans and assist small business owners in growing their companies.

“Here in the Lowcountry, we need a substantial investment in infrastructure to improve our roads, bridges, flooding problems, and evacuation routes, and that much is true for communities across the country,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Infrastructure and Job Creation.  “I look forward to developing policies and legislation that fix our ailing infrastructure while allowing small businesses to grow and the middle class to thrive.”

“Investing in infrastructure is a national priority,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Infrastructure and Job Creation. “Americans across the country face failing roads, rails, and bridges, and in New Jersey we know that the consequences of inaction are too great to ignore. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the task force to promote a 21st-century infrastructure plan that will improve our infrastructure, grow good-paying jobs, and strengthen our economy.”

Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform

Co-Chairs: Rep. Ed Case (HI-01) and Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04)

Members: Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46), Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-05)

The Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform is charged with building on the Blue Dog Coalition’s recognized leadership in addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges and enhancing good governance. The group will pursue smart, strategic policies to rein in the federal government’s persistent annual deficits and unsustainable debt, and they will be responsible for crafting policies that apply strong ethical standards to members of Congress. The Task Force will also seek to improve burdensome, antiquated regulations that undermine job creation, and identify ways to increase transparency and accountability throughout the federal government.

“Our country must return to the same fiscally sustainable path that every responsible business and household understands it must follow for its financial health and survival,” said Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform. “This will require clear thinking and real reform, and we look forward to engaging across the political spectrum in an honest debate toward practical solutions.”

“Interest payments on the debt are the fastest growing part of the budget, an amount that equals $113,000 on every American taxpayer’s credit card. That’s a deep hole and it’s time for all of us to stop digging. I’m committed to taking bipartisan steps to begin to turn this around,” said Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), Chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform. “I’m also eager to work across the political aisle to streamline unnecessary government red tape while ensuring government transparency and accountability to the people we serve.”

Task Force on National Security

Co-Chairs: Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02)

Members: Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Rep. Max Rose (NY-11), Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)

The Task Force on National Security will proactively engage on issues that promote a strong and smart national security for the United States. The group will pursue policies that better protect the American people and our allies, and ensures American leadership around the world.

“Our national security requires more sophistication than ever,” said Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on National Security. “Our country’s safety depends on smart, stable policy and reliable, responsible funding. The Blue Dogs’ unwavering dedication to those ideals makes the coalition uniquely suited to lead Congress in its national security efforts. I’m looking forward to working with my co-chair, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, and to building commonsense, bipartisan solutions.”

“I am pleased to be a co-chair of the Blue Dogs Coalition Task Force on National Security with my colleague, Representative Kendra Horn,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on National Security. “I am looking forward to proactively engage on issues that promote a strong and smart national security for the United States. Our government has no more important responsibility than protecting the safety and security of our nation and our people, both at home and abroad; and this task force is committed to pursuing policies that better protect the American people and our allies.”

Task Force on Rural Opportunity

Co-Chairs: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02)

Members: Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-07), Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34)

The Task Force on Rural Opportunity will primarily focus on addressing the inequality of opportunity between rural and urban America. The group will tackle this issue by focusing on job creation, growing the rural economy, regulatory improvement, increasing access to health care, and expanding a 21st-century infrastructure to rural communities.

“In Central Virginia and across the country, rural communities face unique challenges related to health care, education, the farm economy, and other issues,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Rural Opportunity. “Congress must do more to increase educational and economic opportunities throughout rural America. Through my work on the Task Force on Rural Opportunity, I look forward to pursuing bipartisan policies that increase access to affordable, reliable health care in community health facilities, promote career and technical education, and improve rural infrastructure—including high-speed broadband internet. I’m honored to serve as Co-Chair and to have this new platform to bring greater attention to the needs of rural and underserved communities.”

“For too long both parties have failed to address the unique challenges facing rural communities like those in my district,” said Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Rural Opportunity. “As Co-Chair of the Blue Dogs’ Task Force on Rural Opportunity, I look forward to working with my fellow Coalition members and colleagues across the aisle to bring a voice to these issues while developing bipartisan, commonsense solutions.”

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