Letter from the Class of 2019

House Democratic Leadership
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
December 3, 2018
House Democratic Leadership,
On November 6, 2018, the people of the United States elected an historic class of Democrats. In
an election with significant turnout, the American people placed their faith in each of us, with the
expectation that we will restore normal order, deliver results, and work towards a more perfect
union.
As a whole, the more than sixty newly-elected Democratic Members comprise the most diverse
class in our nationas history. We have the highest number of women ever elected to the U.S.
House of Representatives, including our first Native American and Muslim women Members,
the most LGBTQIA Members, and the largest incoming class of veterans in nearly a decade.
More than two-thirds of our class were elected in Republican-held districts, demonstrating the
importance of addressing concerns that cross party lines. Our incoming class will make up more
than a quarter of the entire Democratic Caucus, representing the largest Democratic gains in the
U.S. House of Representatives since Watergate.
We are a diverse group. Politically and ideologically, we have different views. But make no
mistake, the undersigned are united in the belief that our class has a responsibility and mandate
for change in the U.S. Congress. We are united in the belief that change means restoring a sense
of integrity to the work of the U.S. Congress. We are united in the belief that all people,
regardless of background or circumstance, deserve a fair shake -- no more, but no less. We are
united in the belief that whatever the differences we may have with our Republican colleagues, it
is our solemn responsibility to debate and pass legislation that improves the lives of those who
elected us. And despite how the media may focus on our differences, we are united in the belief
that the diversity of our Caucus makes us stronger, not weaker.
For the success of the 116th Congress, the undersigned therefore urge our leadership to adopt the
following approaches:
On the legislative agenda, we must heed the call from our constituents. While we have a duty to
exercise oversight over the Executive Branch, particularly when the Administration crosses legal
lines or contravenes American values, we must prioritize action on topics such as the cost of
healthcare and prescription drugs, our crumbling infrastructure, immigration, gun safety, the
environment, and criminal justice reform. In order to maximize progress on these topics, many of

the undersigned have already called for a comprehensive anti-corruption and campaign finance
reform bill to be the first item addressed by the 116th Congress. While we may not always agree
on how to approach every issue, we are united in the belief that we have a mandate to debate,
draft, and work across the aisle to pass legislation. In order to ensure that the legislative priorities
of our constituents are heard, even as the junior-most Members of the Caucus, we request
monthly meetings with the Speaker, Majority Leader, and Whip, on the legislative priorities of
this incoming class.
On committee representation, we respectfully request that members of our incoming class be
assigned to the exclusive committees of Appropriations, Rules, Ways and Means, Energy and
Commerce, and Financial Services. The voters have asked for our voices to be heard, and to do
that, this class must be a driving force in drafting legislation with far-reaching economic
implications for the country. For the Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus,
which determines committee assignments and helps determine both the message and messengers
of the Democratic Caucus, we request that our incoming class be represented by two elected
first-term members, instead of one. And in order to expand transparency of the work of the U.S.
Congress to the American people, we ask that leadership consider holding Committee hearings
outside of Washington whenever possible. Citizens across the country should have the
opportunity to attend hearings that impact their lives.
On changing internal rules, we respectfully request that in the spirit of transparency and common
sense, bills be available for review 72 hours before they can proceed to a vote. Members on both
sides of the aisle need adequate time to actually read the legislation that they will be voting on.
In an effort to prevent continued legislative gridlock, and to move legislation that has broad
support, we ask that a bill that receives 290 cosponsors be prioritized for floor consideration by
Democratic Leadership. To expand those who can introduce legislation that gets to the floor, we
ask that committees hold regular, scheduled hearings where all Members -- regardless of their
tenure or position -- are able to publicly provide their legislative proposals in an open setting.
Given our desire to get to work quickly, we ask that every Committee designate a Member
Services staff member to help new Members increase our immediate effectiveness.
We also ask that Congressional schedules are established well in advance and to every extent
possible, are adhered to. As we were elected based on our increased accessibility and our
promise to make Washington work for everyday Americans, it is imperative that we be able to
travel home reliably for planned events in our districts. Having a set calendar will facilitate the
necessary balance between our Washington, home district, and personal obligations, enabling all
Members to be more effective lawmakers and representatives.

We are united in our belief that the 116th Congress, and the American people we were elected to
represent, will be better served by these changes. We look forward to discussing these requests
with Leadership at the earliest possible date.
Signed:
1. Colin Allred

28. Dean Phillips

2. Cindy Axne

29. Katie Porter

3. Anthony Brindisi

30. Max Rose

4. Ed Case

31. Harley Rouda

5. Sean Casten

32. Mary Gay Scanlon

6. Gilbert Cisneros

33. Dr. Kim Schrier

7. Angie Craig

34. Donna Shalala

8. Jason Crow

35. Mikie Sherrill

9. Joe Cunningham

36. Elissa Slotkin

10. Sharice Davids

37. Xochitl Torres Small

11. Antonio Delgado

38. Abigail Spanberger

12. Abby Finkenauer

39. Greg Stanton

13. Josh Harder

40. Haley Stevens

14. Katie Hill

41. Rashida Tlaib

15. Steven Horsford

42. Lori Trahan

16. Chrissy Houlahan

43. David Trone

17. Andy Kim

44. Lauren Underwood

18. Susie Lee

45. Jennifer Wexton

19. Andy Levin

46. Susan Wild

20. Mike Levin
21. Elaine Luria
22. Tom Malinowski
23. Ben McAdams
24. Lucy McBath
25. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
26. Joe Neguse
27. Chris Pappas