House Democrats outline priorities, highlight 2018 midterms

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Last minute budget deals are keeping House Democrats on Capitol Hill instead of at their planned retreat location. But lawmakers are saying today's issues can’t stop them from getting ahead of tomorrow’s.

"This years theme reflects who we are," Joe Crowley (D-NY), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus said Wednesday at the opening press conference for the House Democrats 2018 Issues Conference.

The theme is unification following a fractured 2016 Democratic primary season. House Democrats annual three-day conference laid out their priorities. Their best hope to push those through is to re-take Congress next year.

"Building the largest House battlefield in history and that’s not rhetoric,” Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) said.

The magic number for Democrats 24, that's the number of seats needed to flip the House from Republican control. Democrats said Wednesday their base is energized following big wins in 2017. Former Vice President Joe Biden believes they can ride that wave into the 2018 midterms.

“It’s within our reach," Biden said as he addressed members of the House Democratic caucus Wednesday evening.

Biden spoke directly to House Democrats in his nearly hour-long speech. He emphasized that pocket book issues win on the campaign trail. He also said the Democrats have the moral high ground over Trump- led Republicans.

“Lord, folks, there’s a lot we have to do," he added.

The Leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, skipped Wednesday’s events for a record setting filibuster.

While the senate leaders of both parties signed off on a budget deal to keep the government open, Pelosi said she won’t sign a deal unless it addresses immigration.

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