Nancy Pelosi tells House Democrats: 'Be ready' to be in the majority

Key Points
  • Nancy Pelosi tells her colleagues to prepare for the possibility of being in a House majority after November's midterm elections.
  • She says the party has started to draft legislation aiming to cut drug prices and boost wages, among other initiatives.
  • Democrats are considered at least slight favorites now to win enough GOP-held seats to take a House majority.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats on Tuesday to prepare for the possibility of taking control of the chamber.

The California Democrat wrote in a post-Labor Day memo to colleagues that the party should "Be Ready for the prospect that we will be in the Majority in January" after November's midterm elections. Pelosi said that committee ranking members and other Democratic members have started to draft legislation to follow through on the party's agenda that it outlined in recent months.

The House Democratic leader said the party has started to craft bills that would aim to cut health-care costs, boost pay and crack down on corruption. Pelosi added that Democrats should prepare to act on "measures that have bipartisan support" including legislation to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation and to prevent gun violence.

The message comes about two months before the midterms, when Pelosi's Democratic Party hopes to flip the 23 GOP-held seats needed to take a House majority. Forecasters consider Democrats at least slight favorites to do so. They lead Republicans by more than 10 percentage points in an average of recent generic ballots asking Americans which party they would prefer, according to FiveThirtyEight.

President Donald Trump's poor approval rating relative to most of his recent predecessors is expected to help Democrats, and polls in key states have found that more voters want their ballot in November to provide a check on Trump rather than to boost the president's agenda.

Pelosi's message to Democrats does not mention Trump's name, or some Democrats' calls to impeach the president. Party leaders and swing district House candidates have avoided discussion about removing the president from office, as they worry it could energize Republicans in key races.

Democrats on the campaign trail have prioritized health care and wages, among other issues, as they try to win numerous swing districts currently represented by Republicans across the country.

As a slew of allegations of self enrichment and abuse of taxpayer funds hit the Trump administration earlier this year, Democrats unveiled a handful of proposals aiming to reduce the influence of lobbyists and donors, stop partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and improve voter registration.

Corruption became more of a focus for the party following GOP Rep. Chris Collins' indictment on insider trading charges and Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter's indictment on alleged misuse of campaign funds.

Both lawmakers pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, though Collins suspended his re-election campaign.

Read the full memo from Pelosi:

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Welcome back from the August District Work Period. I hope it was beneficial to your constituents and to you personally. As we approach the end of this Congress, we must Be Ready for the prospect that we will be in the Majority in January.

To that end, our Ranking Members and Members of the Caucus are developing legislation to deliver on the commitment we have made in our agenda –

For The People:

Lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices;

Increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America;

Cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for the American people.

Further, we have repeatedly called for Republicans to bring up vital legislation to protect Dreamers and to advance gun violence prevention. We must Be Ready to act on these measures that have bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.

Let us continue this conversation with our Ranking Members and with each other in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your leadership on behalf of your constituents and all of the American people.