How Senate Democrats pledge to fix economy, inflation, avoid recession

  • Democrats retained their Senate majority in a surprise midterm victory.
  • In addition to abortion rights and fair elections, Democrats have been appealing to voters about their plans for the economy.
  • This involves taxing corporations, approving Biden’s spending, and reducing health care costs.

Democrats will retain control of the Senate for at least the next two years, in a surprising midterm victory.

“Tuesday was a good day for America and a good day for democracy, and a strong night for Democrats,” President Joe Biden said. She said on Twitter this weekend, adding that Democrats lost fewer House seats this year than in the first midterm elections of any Democratic president in four decades.

The House is still too close to convene, and in the event of a Republican takeover, a blue Senate will have limited power. They would be able to confirm candidates for Biden’s judicial and executive branches, but not pass significant new legislation on partisan lines. However, Democrats heralded the victory as voters’ rejection of far-right extremism and their desire to see abortion rights safeguarded and fair elections.

Those might be big scores, but Democrats blocking the Senate — and likely giving Republicans only a slim majority in the House — also indicate that voters favor the Democrats’ plan to curb a tumultuous economy.

This is after early polls showed otherwise. Before Election Day, polls showed that Americans were more concerned about the economy and inflation than any other problem, and that they trusted Republicans the most to solve it. That’s something few economists saw as likely, however, and it appears the Democrats’ plan for the economy over the next few years has given them at least the slight edge needed to score upset victories. Marginal victories in Nevada and Washington, for example, have been won by candidates sympathetic to Biden’s plan to cut costs for Americans.

But voters probably aren’t just looking for Representatives to bow to the party line: Several Democrats who have won upset victories have outlined clear plans on the campaign trail to deal with inflation and the high cost of living. Below are three main ones.

Pay for Biden’s expenses, such as an IRA and a reinstated Child Tax Credit

Republicans on the campaign trail blamed Biden’s spending for the country’s inflation woes, arguing that America’s $1.9 trillion bailout was a major instigator. Experts say if it were, the impact wouldn’t be significant. However, the GOP similarly united against Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

But public support for the legislation has been solid, with an August Reuters/Ipsos poll showing broad support for individual measures of the Inflation Reduction Act, even though Americans were divided on the package as a whole.

And voters have come out to support pro-politicians. It could be because redistributions such as tax credits can, in theory, provide immediate relief to households against higher prices.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, whose victory just secured a majority of a Senate seat for Democrats, has been a vocal supporter of the IRA, for example. His Republican rival Adam Laxalt was adamantly opposed, e tied up Cortez Masto to it repeatedly.

John Fetterman, the Democrat who beat Mehmet Oz for the Pennsylvania Senate seat, and Mark Kelly, the Democrat who held out in Arizona, similarly endorsed Biden’s IRA and the US bailout plan, with Kelly endorsing she has secured some IRA money for climate projects in her region.

A Fetterman spokesperson said Fetterman would support Biden’s stimulus initiatives going forward, such as a reinstated Enhanced Child Tax Credit. Valued at up to $3,600, it was originally part of the American Rescue Plan. The credit expired earlier this year but briefly caused a significant drop in child poverty.

Tackling corporate profits as a measure to fight inflation

Many of the Democrats who scored close victories criticized the companies for enjoying record profits in recent years without easing the burden on consumers amid record inflation.

Cortez Masto criticized oil and gas companies for “prioritizing payments to shareholders rather than using their record profits to help lower prices and responsibly increase domestic production” on his campaign website.

Fetterman and Kelly made the same point in the weeks leading up to the election.

“In the Senate, I will fight for a fair tax code that ensures the wealthiest Americans and corporations don’t get away with cheating the system and finally pay their fair share,” Fetterman promised on his campaign website. “We can and must build an economy that works for all of us.”

A tax on profits could, in theory, cause companies to lower prices and reinvest more of their earnings back into the companies with expenses such as wages.

Make health care more affordable by expanding Medicare and lowering drug costs

Democrats have spent the last half of their terms positioning themselves as strongholds for entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and framing Republicans as a threat.

That emphasis has paid off: Fetterman, for example, wants to expand Medicare, while Oz has only said he only supports the expansion of Medicare Advantage, which are plans offered by private companies that contract with Medicare.

“We finally passed legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices and limit annual prescription drug costs, but we can’t stop there: We must allow the import of low-priced prescription drugs from other countries and limit the drug costs for all Americans,” Fetterman says on its website.

While Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices may be the most direct way to reduce costs for Americans, it’s a fairly small program and won’t fully roll out for four years.

Laxalt didn’t specifically say he wanted to reduce or cut Medicare, but said he intended to “look for ways to reduce costs,” versus Cortez Masto, who argued for multiple types of Medicare expansion.

In addition to Medicare, Democrats like Fetterman have also called for allowing low-priced drugs to be imported into the United States, as well as capping drug pricing costs in general.

“I will push to lower the cost of prescription drugs by continuing to hire drug companies that raise prices,” he told a local Fox News affiliate.

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