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Senate Democrats Unveil 2014 Agenda: “A Fair Shot For Everyone”

Mar 26, 2014

Senate Democrats Will Put Major Legislation on the Floor this Year, Including to Raise the Minimum Wage, Achieve Pay Equity for Women, Protect Medicare for Seniors, and Boost Jobs Through Manufacturing, Infrastructure, and Small Business Development

Senate Democrats Go on Offense, Will Focus on Giving Middle-Class "A Fair Shot" While Republicans Fight to Defend System that Benefits Koch Brothers, Wealthy, Huge Corporations

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senate Democratic Leadership unveiled the caucus' "Fair Shot for Everyone" agenda for 2014. The Democratic Policy and Communications Center has planned an agenda for the year ahead that focuses on ensuring that every American who works hard has a fair shot to succeed. The first plank of the agenda, increasing the minimum wage, is set to appear on the Senate floor next week. Following a push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, Senate Democrats will propose the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women have a fair shot to earn as much as a man for equal work. While Republicans defend a system that benefits huge corporations and the few at the top, Democrats will go on offense with a positive agenda that has broad support among liberals, conservatives, and moderates.

"These are not just Democratic agenda items - this is an agenda for the middle class, policies that will help ensure a fair shot for everyone," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Republicans here in Washington may not agree with us on all of these issues, but I hope that in the months ahead they will listen to their constituents and work with us to get things done for the middle class."

"Democrats believe that we are strongest as a nation when we work together and our economy works for everyone," Senator Durbin said. "Helping build and grow a strong middle-class is the surest way to create a vibrant, resilient economy and the agenda Senate Democrats are announcing today does just that. By giving everyone a fair shot at an affordable education and creating the types of 21st century manufacturing jobs that will help our economy grow, we can create an America that's ready to compete and lead."

"We hope that Republicans will join us in giving everyone a fair shot," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. "Raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for equal work, making child care and college more affordable are all things that Americans broadly support. This is an agenda that has support from coast to coast, and that will unite us as a caucus throughout 2014."

"At the heart of our agenda is the simple idea of fairness," said Senator Patty Murray. "Because whether it's the home health aide that's making barely over $7 an hour or the senior who sees Republicans targeting their Medicare payments while safeguarding corporate tax loopholes, real Americans are struggling to see how the system works for everyone. Our agenda is aimed at providing one set of rules that will help create middle-class security, fairness, and opportunity."

"American families rightly believe that too often the system is rigged against them in favor of the wealthy and well-connected," said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Vice Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. "That is why Democrats are focused on an agenda that gives a fair shot to everyone. We will focus on making sure that someone working a full-time job isn't living in poverty, that women aren't being paid less just because they're women, and that college is affordable again for young people and their families."

Following votes to increase the minimum wage and to achieve pay equity, Democrats plan to introduce a series of proposals to give every American a fair shot. Democrats will put legislation on the Senate floor to make college more affordable by easing the burden of debt for current student borrowers and helping parents of future students make college more affordable.

Senate Democrats will also propose legislation to protect Medicare from Republican efforts to end the Medicare guarantee. Democrats will also introduce and vote on proposals to make child care more affordable for middle-class families. Later this year, the Senate will vote on a series of proposals designed to create jobs by boosting American manufacturing, closing loopholes for offshoring companies while providing incentives to bring jobs back to America, bills to bridge the 'skills gap' and infrastructure bills.

In order to pay for many of these measures, Democrats will propose closing egregious corporate tax loopholes that only serve to benefit the wealthy and big business, and doing nothing to stimulate the economy.

Throughout the year, Senate leaders expect the Senate to debate and pass a number of bipartisan measures, including legislation to boost manufacturing, improve energy efficiency, restructure our sentencing laws, and others.