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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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House Dems angle to head off Project 2025, second Trump term

Lawmakers say a new task force will be a “central hub” of opposition to conservative policy objectives if Republicans seize the White House in November.

WASHINGTON (CN) — A group of House Democrats are preparing for the possibility of a second Trump presidency, unveiling a new task force Tuesday that they say will work to stop the “Project 2025” policy roadmap.

Spearheaded by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the Presidential Transition Project — also known as Project 2025 — is a compilation of policy proposals for a possible Republican administration under candidate and former President Donald Trump.

The project would enact sweeping changes to the structure of federal agencies and the function of government. If implemented it would, among other things, cut funding for the Department of Justice and FBI and seek to replace large swathes of the federal workforce with conservative operatives.

The program would also slash funding for climate change research and affirm that abortion cannot be considered heath care.

Opponents of Project 2025 say the policy platform poses a threat to democratic institutions and the separation of church and state. Those concerns, say Democrats in charge of the new House task force, are central to their decision to push back.

“Project 2025 is more than an idea, it’s a dystopian plot that’s already in motion to dismantle our democratic institutions, abolish checks and balances, chip away at church-state separation and impose a far-right agenda that infringes on basic liberties and violates public will,” said California Representative Jared Huffman, who is heading up the working group.

“Project 25 presents a bleak and dangerous vision for America,” concurred California Representative Ted Lieu, another member of the task force.

Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin added that the provisions of the conservative policy proposal would “make Jan. 6 extremism a governing ideology.”

The Democratic task force is a preemptive effort to keep that from becoming reality, he said.

“Constitutional patriots and democracy defenders must have proactive and aggressive strategies to fortify our democratic institutions through 2025 and beyond,” Raskin wrote.

Five other House Democrats joined Huffman, Lieu and Raskin on the new working group, including the heads of congressional caucuses representing groups lawmakers say are under threat by Project 2025’s policy proposals.

Among those founding members are California Representative Nanette Barragan, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; California Representative Judy Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and state of Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal, head of the Progressive Caucus.

Writing in a post Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter, Jayapal said Democrats “must ensure that Project 2025, a direct attack on our democracy, never sees the light of day.”

“Proud to be joining this task force to stand up to MAGA extremists,” she wrote.

The group of Democrats, meanwhile, pointed out that it's not just policy analysts and advocates at the Heritage Foundation who are backing Project 2025. Former Trump administration senior adviser Stephen Miller is involved, they said, and the program has received funding from Federalist Society founder and conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo.

Efforts to head off the consequences of a Trump victory in November come as Democrats are also pushing back against what they say is conservative meddling at the Supreme Court. For more than a year, lawmakers have railed on ethical malfeasance at the high court, stemming primarily from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito who both failed to report luxury vacations paid for by conservative benefactors. Thomas amended his 2019 disclosures last week.

Leo himself is one of the figures at the center of that controversy, alongside billionaire real estate moguls Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley.

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year approved a subpoena for the Federalist Society founder, demanding he turn over the financial details of his relationship with Supreme Court justices.  Leo, however, has refused to comply with the summons and Democrats have been largely silent about whether they will step up enforcement action against him.

Follow @BenjaminSWeiss
Categories / Government, National, Politics

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