Minnesota's Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar were part of a group of Senate Democrats who rolled out a big-picture economic plan Monday.
They call it "A Better Deal" and it has three main goals:
- Raise wages and create jobs. Democrats say they'd spend on building projects and give small businesses priority.
- Lower the cost of living. Prescription drugs, a college education, and child care are among the expenses they want lowered.
- Give workers tools for the 21st Century. There'd be tax incentives, for example, for businesses that help train and educate their workers.
The parts that Franken zeroed in on
Within those overarching goals, Democrats have some specific plans. In an emailed statement Franken highlighted a handful he says are priorities for him: lowering prescription drug costs, raising wages, closing tax loopholes, investing in high speed internet, and cracking down on trade cheating.
The senator says in a Facebook post he hears all the time from Minnesota families who feel like the system isn't working for them.
"If we really want to unrig the system and usher in a new era of prosperity for the middle-class," Franken says, "this is the kind of economic agenda we need to pursue. These policies ... confront real issues that our workers and families are facing, rather than simply benefiting the bottom lines of millionaires...."
Why unveil a plan that won't pass?
Unless some major political earthquake strikes, "A Better Plan" will not be transformed into law anytime soon.
Democrats simply don't have the votes to push their agenda through. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer acknowledged in a New York Times opinion piece:
"...(W)e cannot promise anyone that this Congress will begin passing our priorities tomorrow. But we have to start raising our voices to present our vision for the country’s future."
Instead of being the basis of upcoming legislation, the plan looks more like a foundation for the 2018 campaign season.
A National Review blogger says it's the result of a branding problem Democrats are struggling with. National Public Radio sees it as a try at sparking the kind of populism that energized supporters of President Trump in last year's campaign.