Dear Commons Community,
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading to Washington, D.C. next week to present a progressive “Contract with America,” a 13-point agenda intended to push the Democratic Party leftward.
According to a draft of the document provided to The Daily Beast by someone asked to join the effort, de Blasio will call for a number of measures for which he has already pushed in New York City, including national paid sick leave and free, universal pre-kindergarten and afterschool programs. Other items expected to be in the Contract are a reform of the National Labor Relations Act “to enhance workers’ rights to organize and rebuild the middle class,” the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, allowing students to refinance student loan debt, closing the carried interest loop, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and the closing of a “CEO tax loophole that allows corporations to take advantage of ‘performance pay’ write-offs.”
De Blasio is expected to be joined in Washington by a more than 60 members of Congress, progressive activists, and labor leaders, among them Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Congressmen Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva.
Aides to de Blasio dismiss the suggestion that this effort is designed to lift de Blasio’s profile, and say instead that it is intended to get a more progressive government into Washington, D.C.—one that will be more attentive to New York City’s needs. The contract is modeled on Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, which helped Republicans retake the House in 1994.
Many of the items that de Blasio calls for are unlikely to pass, even with a Democratic president and a Democratic congress. Regardless, they need to be in the public’s eye.