An array of activist groups led by United Vision for Idaho held a press conference today to call on Congressman Mike Simpson and Congressman-elect Bill Sali, both Republicans, to back key elements of new Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s economic agenda for the first 100 hours of the new Congress, including raising the minimum wage, cutting interest rates on student loans, repealing tax breaks for big oil while investing in alternate energy, and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices for seniors. “We can’t imagine that either Congressman Simpson or Congressman-elect Sali would oppose any of the four major things we’re proposing here,” said Bill Whitaker of United Vision.
However, Sali’s campaign for office included independent TV ads demonizing Pelosi, and Sali spoke out in political debates against the minimum wage.
“There need to be large, bipartisan majorities if we’re going to pass these things out of the House and get the president to sign them,” said Roger Sherman of United Vision, who said Simpson has been receptive to a minimum wage increase. “I think there’s a lot of Idahoans who are affected by all of these things.”
The push for the economic changes, called “Change America Now,” is part of a national campaign by organizations in 31 states. The Boise press conference included the Idaho Community Action Network, the Idaho Progressive Student Alliance, and the Sierra Club Northern Rockies Chapter along with United Vision for Idaho.