About to begin his second term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is starting to expand his profile as Democrats get ready to take over the House at the start of next year.
Soto, along with fellow Central Florida freshman Democrat U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, is part of the Problem Solvers Caucus. Nine Democrats in the caucus--including Soto and Murphy--have been signaling they are willing to withhold support from U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., efforts to regain the gavel and serve again as speaker of the House unless she makes some rules changes.
But with no Democrat willing to step up to challenge Pelosi, increasingly she looks ready to take the gavel again. On Monday, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., the most prominent of Pelosi’s critics amongst the House Democrats, tried to get a meeting with her looking for concessions with some pundits insisting he was trying to save face as his group still had not found a challenger to her.
For his part, Soto sounded like he was ready to back Pelosi.
“The Democrats are rallying again behind Nancy Pelosi as our next speaker,” Soto noted on Monday. “We are working out rules reforms with her to ensure we are a more open, accountable and productive 116th Congress. I am pleased with our progress as the Democratic Caucus has adopted several of our rules reforms.”
Soto, who had been backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce in a state Senate election back in 2012, also threw his support behind proposals from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for House Democrats to support in their first 100 days, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, “a path toward Medicare-for-all,” immigration and criminal justice reform, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan which President Donald Trump supported on the campaign trail in 2016, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, “making public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially reducing student debt” and “expanding Social Security.”
“I believe this is a bold agenda that will make a real difference for hard working Americans,” Soto insisted on Sunday.
Soto was part of a congressional delegation visiting American forces in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving last week and he offered his thoughts on returning to the U.S.
“I observed on my trip that reconciliation talks between the Afghan Government and Taliban rebels are progressing. However, the new threat of ISIS-K poses a major complication. We must continue fighting terrorism there to avoid it at home. I am hopeful additional peace discussions will give us an opportunity to wind down our military operations there,” he noted.