The New Democrat Coalition's 25th Anniversary

 

History of the New Democrat Coalition

For 25 years, the New Democrat Coalition has worked to break through the gridlock in Washington to advance a forward-looking agenda to grow our economy, spur innovation, and strengthen American global leadership so that every American has the opportunity to succeed.

Our story begins in 1997 when Reps. Cal Dooley (CA), Jim Moran (VA), and Tim Roemer (IN), members of the Democratic Leadership Council, organized a group of 32 House Democrats who were fed up with toxic politics and wanted to make progress on the issues most important to the American people. Their goal was to move away from partisan posturing and bureaucratic gridlock to a place where Congress would once again work for the American people. 

On the day of the Coalition’s founding, the original NDC Chairs said: 

  • Rep. Dooley: "We believe the future of the Democratic Party depends upon the advancement of a moderate, pro-growth agenda that rejects the politics and the policies of the past and embraces new approaches -- both economic and social -- for our future."
  • Rep. Roemer: "Democrats have a rich history of ideas. The New Democrats are dedicated to recapturing this tradition by advancing innovative ideas and common sense policy proposals that respond to today's problems."
  • Rep. Moran: "The big lesson of the last two years is that Democrats and Republicans need to tone down their rhetoric and focus more closely on solving the nation's problems in a civil and constructive manner."

From that first day on, the Coalition kept growing and remained focused on ideas, not ideology, to deliver real results.

In the early days, the Coalition was focused on meeting head on the challenges of the new Information Age. We embraced the new era of the Internet and became policy leaders on innovation and technology. As allies of the Clinton White House in Congress, our members also centered our work on growing the economy and strengthening the middle class so everyone in America has the chance to climb the economic ladder. 

In the early 2000’s, some of our key accomplishments include the passage of a class action reform bill, a bankruptcy reform bill, and a stem cell research bill. 

Under President Obama, who said in 2009, “I am a New Democrat,” our Coalition played a major role in shaping and advancing the Affordable Care Act to the President’s desk. Our members secured key provisions, including legislation to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions. In fact, 16 provisions championed by New Dems were included in the ACA. In the years following passage of the ACA, New Dems fought tooth and nail to protect this important law from Republican attempts to repeal it.

Even under Republican presidents, our members worked hard to get things done for the American people. Under the Trump administration, for example, New Dems stood strong to hold this corrupt administration accountable while working to secure the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). New Dems had long-supported modernizing NAFTA to reflect the 21st century economy and negotiated key improvements ahead of the final passage of USMCA. Since its founding, the Coalition has been integral to the congressional consideration of every major trade initiative. 

And now, New Dems are setting the agenda in Congress under President Biden’s leadership. Our members helped write and unanimously voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create jobs and modernize our nation’s infrastructure and the American Rescue Plan, which created the fastest economic recovery in history and allowed us to turn the page on the pandemic. And, we’re not done yet.

Now, our members are leading the charge on a bipartisan innovation bill to secure supply chains and ease long-term inflation to bring down prices for Americans. As we move forward this Congress, New Dems are committed to taking advantage of the majorities we have to deliver real and immediate results for our communities. We’ll continue pushing to pass bipartisan legislation to lower prices for Americans, make our communities safer, expand opportunity for all Americans, and enact the President’s Unity Agenda, including legislation to address mental health and substance use disorders.

Over 25 years, one theme emerges: New Dems are the Majority Makers and the “get stuff done” caucus. Because of our members, Democrats have the majorities necessary to govern. And no matter who is in charge, we will work with anyone to deliver real results and improve Americans’ lives. When our Members win, we win majorities, and we get things done for the American people.

Key Facts about the New Democrat Coalition:

Founding:

  • The formation of the New Democrat Coalition was announced on March 6, 1997.  
  • The founding members are Reps. Cal Dooley, Tim Roemer, and Jim Moran.
  • At its inception, the founding class had 32 Members, including 12 then-freshman Members.  
  • Today, five members of the founding class are still in Congress: Whip Clyburn, Rep. Ron Kind, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. David Price, and Rep. Adam Smith.   

Key Facts about the New Democrat Coalition: 

  • New Dems are the majority makers! Without our members, Democrats wouldn’t be holding the gavel.  
  • The NDC is the largest ideological Democratic caucus in the House with 98 members, meaning New Dems arethe center of gravity within the Democratic Party.  
  • New Dems are forward-thinking Democrats committed to advancing ideas over ideology
  • The NDC makes up nearly 45% of the House Democratic Caucus and holds a similar percentage of seats on many key committees. 
  • The NDC was the only House ideological caucus to flip seats from Red to Blue in 2020. 
  • The Coalition was founded in 1997 and 2022 is the 25th Anniversary. 

NDC Chairs by Congress:

Today, New Dem Chairs serve for one two-year term.

  • 105th Congress: Reps. Cal Dooley (CA-17 & 20), Tim Roemer (IN-03), Jim Moran (VA-08) 
  • 106th Congress: Reps. Cal Dooley (CA-17 & 20), Tim Roemer (IN-03), Jim Moran (VA-08) 
  • 107th Congress: Reps. Cal Dooley (CA-17 & 20), Tim Roemer (IN-03), Jim Moran (VA-08) 
  • 108th Congress: Reps. Jim Davis (FL-11), Ron Kind (WI-03), Adam Smith (WA-09) 
  • 109th Congress: Reps. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10), Ron Kind (WI-03), Artur Davis (AL-07)  
  • 110th Congress: Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) (until June 2009)/ Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14) 
  • 111th Congress: Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14) 
  • 112th Congress: Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14) 
  • 113th Congress: Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03) 
  • 114th Congress: Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03) 
  • 115th Congress: Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) 
  • 116th Congress: Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) 
  • 117th Congress: Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) 

Notable New Democrat Coalition Alumni: 

Notable former Members include five governors, one Lieutenant Governor, six Senators, White House Advisors, and more.  

  • Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado 
  • Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York 
  • John Carney, Governor of Delaware 
  • Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington 
  • Denny Heck, Lt. Governor of Washington 
  • Dan Maffei, Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission 
  • Cedric Richmond, White House Senior Advisor 
  • John Delaney, 2020 Presidential Candidate 
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator from New York 
  • Martin Heinrich, U.S. Senator from Nevada 
  • Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator from Connecticut 
  • Gary Peters, U.S. Senator from Michigan 
  • Kyrsten Sinema, U.S. Senator from Arizona 
  • Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator from Michigan 

Demographic Information of NDC Members:

  • The 117th Congress Class is the most diverse yet. 
  • Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) was the first woman to Chair the Coalition.
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar was the first Latino NDC Whip in the 116th Congress.
  • Rep. Terri Sewell was the first black woman on NDC leadership in the 116th Congress as Vice Chair for Outreach.
  • Rep. Jared Polis was the first openly LGBTQ+ leadership Member in the 114th Congress as Vice Chair.