SACRAMENTO — It has been a little more than two months since Democratic Congressman Josh Harder arrived in Washington D.C.
The freshman representative from Turlock is one of the youngest lawmakers on Capitol Hill — a fresh face looking to spark change.
“Affordable health care, real immigration reform, more jobs in the valley are the right set of priorities and now it’s time to actually get something done,” Harder told FOX40.
Harder knows it won’t be easy, especially when it comes to the speed of Washington, or lack thereof.
“It’s clear that the pace of us actually solving problems is nowhere close to the rate of the challenges we have,” he said. “We need to be doing a lot more to bring down prescription drug costs, to push for infrastructure funding and I spend every week getting breakfast with 10 Republicans, 10 Democrats looking for opportunities to find common ground. I think we’re going to have to work together in order to accelerate the pace of change that’s really needed.”
One change Harder is celebrating came earlier this month when the House passed the For the People Act of 2019, touted as the most sweeping piece of election reform and anti-corruption legislation since the Watergate era. It included an amendment from Harder to increase transparency and accountability for lobbyists.
It’s a platform Harder ran on during the election and became a top priority when he arrived in D.C., especially after an event he was invited to.
“It was billed as a policy dinner for freshmen legislators and I was really excited to talk about health care and, of course, that’s not what it was at all,” Harder said. “It was just another opportunity for lobbyists to talk about the issues that their clients cared about as opposed to real people in the Central Valley.”
Congressman Harder is also pushing back on President Donald Trump’s budget, specifically the trillion dollar cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.
“In 2018 what I heard again and again and again is people cared about their health care and this budget does the exact opposite,” Harder said. “We need to make sure that people understand the real-life consequences of these policies that are happening.”
He says the new Democratic guard in Washington is committed to doing just that.
“We have a new class of members of Congress that is younger, more diverse, more energetic and dynamic, I think, than any class since the Watergate era. And now the spotlight is on us and we have a chance to actually do something great and I think we really need to,” he said.
FOX40 also asked Congressman Harder about the presidential race. He didn’t endorse a specific candidate but says he sees any one of the Democratic candidates would do a better job than the current president.