In less than two weeks, Democrats and Republicans will convene on Capitol Hill for the first day of the 117th Congress.

While Democrats will hold onto a slim majority in the House, the sting of losing seats to Republicans in what was expected to be a banner year lingers, with plenty of finger-pointing among moderates and progressives over where to place the blame.

These losses have also exacerbated an ongoing intra-party struggle over Democratic messaging and direction — divisions that endure even within the entirely Democratic congressional delegation in liberal Massachusetts.

...House Democratic leadership says that despite the party's differences, the caucus is increasingly unified in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and President Donald Trump's attempts to upend our democratic systems and institutions.

“We are unified," said Rep. Katherine Clark, of Melrose, who is the newly elected assistant speaker of the House.

Perhaps no one in the Massachusetts delegation knows more about the Democratic agenda than Clark. She says the first order of business in 2021 is more pandemic relief, followed by pushes to expand healthcare, childcare and so on.

"Our focus is going to be on those kitchen table issues and bringing those to our caucus and governing.”

...Should Republicans retain control of the upper chamber in 2021, newly-minted assistant House speaker Clark says she hopes the GOP is more willing to consider bipartisanship than it has been during the past decade.

“All we can do is do our best to put those issues in front of them," Clark said. "If the Republicans don’t want to do that, it is going to be on them."

For Democrats, the stakes are high: an unchecked pandemic; severe income inequality; the perils of climate change. And how the party defines itself now could help determine whether they retain control of the House in 2022.


Original story here.