December 20, 2023

New Democrat Coalition 2023 Year in Review

Note from the Chair

Dear New Dems – 

The 118th Congress has ushered in a new era of Democratic leadership, with New Dems leading the way. Last year, when I was elected Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, I knew it would be both a challenging and incredibly rewarding role - especially going into a closely divided GOP-controlled House. I also knew that the New Dems would be at the helm, prioritizing progress on the issues hardworking Americans care about most by leading from the middle. 

While Republican infighting defined much of the year, New Dems have served as a strong voice of reason. On day one, New Dems got to work establishing nine task forces and a working group centered around key issues where bipartisanship is possible, from the Farm Bill and AI to housing and health care. Our Members know that in this Congress, nothing will get done without New Dems at the table. That’s why we have been consistently reaching across the aisle in good faith to responsible Republicans and have been working hand in hand with the White House and Congressional leadership to advance our policy priorities.

Despite Republican chaos and dysfunction, New Dems played an instrumental role in passing critical legislation. Our Members came out early in support of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R.3746), which Politico said was key for “swiftly boosting the measure’s whip count and lending a degree of legitimacy to the final product in Democratic circles.” In addition to preventing economic catastrophe, New Dems have played a consequential role in keeping the government open, while Republicans were doing everything in their power to shut it down. 

We haven’t let far-right extremists stop our legislative work. This year, New Dems built on the success of our 2022 Action Plan to Fight Inflation with the Economic Opportunity Agenda, a robust eight-step policy plan that examines the progress Democratic leadership made to strengthen our economy while laying out the road ahead to lower costs, fight inflation, and grow the middle class. 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the hard work of our NDC Leadership team and task force leaders. 

This Congress, the NDC is led by a 10 Member Leadership Team:

  • Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) Chair

  • Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03) Vice Chair for Member Services 

  • Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06)  Vice Chair for Policy  

  • Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) Vice Chair for Communications   

  • Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) Vice Chair for Outreach  

  • Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33) Leadership Member  

  • Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03) Leadership Member

  • Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) Leadership Member 

  • Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03) Whip 

  • Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) Freshman Leadership Representative    

  • Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) Chair Emeritus

New Dems are known as policy experts and leaders, and our Task Force Leaders have come together to find, develop, and advance policies to address our nation’s most pressing challenges:   

In the 118th Congress, New Democrat Coalition Policy Task Forces cover ten essential issue areas: 

In addition to our New Dem leadership, in the 118th Congress, New Dems have been serving at all levels of Democratic Caucus leadership - including Rep. Aguilar leading as Caucus Chair.

New Dems Elected or Appointed to House Democratic Leadership for the 118th Congress: 

  • House Democratic Caucus Chair: Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-33) 

  • Democratic Policy & Communications Committee Co-Chairs: Reps. Veronica Escobar (TX-16) & Lori Trahan (MA-03)

  • DCCC Chair: Suzan DelBene (WA-01)

  • Caucus Leadership Representative: Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-53)  

  • Battleground Leadership Representative: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) 

  • Chief Deputy Whips: Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Colin Allred (TX-32), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10)  

  • Steering and Policy Committee Co-Chair: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) 

    • Steering and Policy Committee Members: New Dem Chair-elect Annie Kuster and Reps. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Angie Craig (MN-02), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Josh Harder (CA-10), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and  Rep.-elect Hillary Scholten (MI-03).

In 2024, we will be presented with challenges both new and old, including fully funding the government, protecting our election integrity, providing security and humanitarian aid in support of Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, as well as humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, and addressing the situation along our southern border. New Dems know that these challenges also bring key opportunities to work with the Administration and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Capitol to deliver for hardworking Americans. New Dems are known as the “Can Do Caucus for a reason,  and we’ll bring that same spirit into the New Year.


Ann McLane Kuster

Fast Facts

  • Hosted Nearly 100 New Dem Member Meetings in the 118th Congress.  

    • Notable Guests: 

      • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
      • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona 
      • Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo 
      • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack 
      • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell
      • Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young
      • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai
      • Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su
      • White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu
      • White House Senior Advisor John Podesta
      • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra
      • Former NIH Director Francis Collins
      • Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta.
      • Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Nora Volkow
      • British Ambassador to the U.S. Dame Karen Pierce
      • Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Kevin Rudd
      • Former U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly
      • Former Taiwanese Representative to the United States Bi-khim Hsiao
      • JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
      • Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates
      • FACTS USA Founder and Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
      • National Association of Home Builders CEO Jim Tobin
      • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong
      • Chair of the National AI Advisory Committee Miriam Vogel
      • President of the Rockefeller Foundation Raj Shah
  • New Dems endorsed 89 bills and sent 15 letters. 

  • Hosted dozens of staff briefings and meetings for Members and Staff on Artificial Intelligence, Ukraine, Israel, Trade, Infrastructure, Affordable Housing, Workforce Development, Agriculture, Health Care, Substance Use, and more! 

Legislative Accomplishments

Tackling Climate Change

  • Throughout this year, the Climate Change and Clean Energy Task Force has worked with the Biden administration and pushed House Republican leadership to capitalize on the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments by streamlining and accelerating clean energy deployment.

  • Led by Task Force Chair Scott Peters (CA-50), New Dems sent a letter to the Administration calling for the use of Section 216(h) of the Federal Power Act to increase coordination on federal authorizations in siting electric transmission lines. The New Dem priorities laid out in this letter were soon incorporated into the White House’s Permitting Action Plan, and were later reflected in the Department of Energy’s proposed rule to establish a lead agency to streamline the permitting process.

  • When House Republicans advanced their partisan and unserious energy bill H.R.1, New Dems rejected this approach and called for a bipartisan path forward. In May, the Task Force released its six key permitting reform priorities for efficient energy deployment to lower costs, enhance energy independence, and combat the climate crisis. These priorities laid the groundwork for a bipartisan energy package, and when President Biden negotiated an end to the debt ceiling crisis with House leadership, New Dem permitting priorities were reflected in several provisions of the final bill.

  • New Dems fought to accelerate clean energy deployment on multiple fronts, including by encouraging the domestic growth of the solar industry. In April, the Chairs of the New Dem Trade and Climate Task Forces released a statement in support of the Biden Administration’s efforts to enact a two-year pause on new solar duties as the domestic solar industry ramps up production to meet our clean energy goals.

  • While progress has been made, New Dems are still working toward a robust, bipartisan energy package guided by the six key priorities. Recently, the Task Force endorsed a slate of 14 New Dem-led bills to address barriers to clean energy deployment for inclusion in any upcoming energy package.

Fighting Inflation & Lowering Costs

  • In July, New Dems released the sweeping Economic Opportunity Agenda examining the progress New Dems have made in implementing last year’s Action Plan to Fight Inflation and providing a roadmap for the Administration and lawmakers to advance policies that will continue to lower costs and give Americans the tools and opportunities needed to succeed and earn a good life. 

  • The Economic Opportunity Agenda’s eight key issue areas touch every sector of our economy, from lowering energy prices and increasing the availability of affordable housing to strengthening our workforce and global supply chains. Following the Agenda’s release, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) penned an op-ed in Fox News about the New Dem plan and how it will lower costs, fight inflation, grow the middle class and ultimately serve as an economic legislative guide for our Coalition and its Members moving forward.

  • Additionally, the Affordable Housing Task Force – chaired by Rep. Norma Torres (CA-35) – has been hard at work to identify legislative solutions to lower the cost of housing. Following the release of the Economic Opportunity Agenda and its proposals to promote better zoning, planning, and permitting and accelerate housing development, Chair Torres applauded the Biden administration for taking action to build more housing and lower costs by removing barriers to inclusive housing production. The Task Force has also engaged with stakeholders to inform policy making through a series of meetings this year, including a September meeting with the National Association of Homebuilders.

Farm Bill

  • Passing a bipartisan and comprehensive Farm Bill is a top priority for the New Democrat Coalition, particularly our Farm Bill Task Force led by Rep. Kim Schrier (WA-08). That’s why the Task Force endorsed five core principles in August to guide the Coalition’s engagement on the Farm Bill and ensure the final package revitalizes rural areas; strengthens nutrition programs to combat food insecurity across the country; provides certainty for growers and producers; enhances research and access to international markets; and uses agriculture as a way to improve our environment and supply chains. 

  • Guided by the five core principles, the Task Force endorsed a slate of 44 New Dem-led bills for inclusion in the upcoming Farm Bill. The Coalition is laser-focused on forging a bipartisan deal, which is why Task Force Chair Schrier criticized House Republican leadership for bringing forward hyper-partisan agriculture legislation and called on responsible lawmakers to change the course.

  • New Dems will continue to advocate for these bills as the House continues the process of passing a new Farm Bill next year.

Health Care

  • New Dems have been hard at work meeting with stakeholders and proposing legislative solutions to our nation’s health care issues. In July, the Health Care, Substance Use, and Mental Health Task Force led a nine Member Congressional Delegation to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to learn about their cutting edge research to treat everything from cancer to substance use disorder and mental illness.

  • After months of consulting with New Dem Members and stakeholders, the Task Force endorsed 21 New Dem-led bills to expand critical health care initiatives, including providing enhanced and expanded access to mental health and support services; preventing substance misuse and overdose; bolstering health care access and equity; improving support and training for first responders and health care workers; strengthening enforcement of mental health and substance use disorder benefit coverage.

  • Task Force leadership also endorsed the SUPPORT Act – which contained several bills endorsed by the Task Force – as it came up for a floor vote in December. The package ultimately passed in a bipartisan vote, reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act of 2018, expanding access to lifesaving care, bolstering the capacity of recovery and treatment centers, and supporting innovative research to improve health outcomes.

Immigration & Border Security

  • As the impacts of a broken immigration system continue intensifying, New Dems are committed to finding common ground on comprehensive immigration reform that secures the border – including stemming the flow of illicit narcotics – while upholding our values as a nation of immigrants. The Immigration and Border Security Task Force, chaired by Rep. Greg Stanton (AZ-04), has led a series of letters and calls to action to House leadership to come to the negotiating table and forge bipartisan agreement. In May, Chair Stanton led a letter to House leadership rejecting the extremist border bill H.R.2 and calling for meaningful bipartisan action to address the crisis at the southern border and strengthen our economy. 

  • Rep. Gabe Vasquez (NM-02) also spearheaded a letter in May calling for increased federal funding to address the flow of deadly, illicit fentanyl into the U.S. and take on the opioid epidemic. Chair Stantonalso led 28 New Dems in a letter to OMB Director Young pledging to work with the Administration to pass legislation to deliver more resources to the border and CBP workforce. Following these New Dem efforts, President Biden’s August supplemental request incorporated these New Dem priorities by including $4 billion to secure the border and streamline immigration processes, including $800 million to address fentanyl trafficking.

  • Following the release of President Biden’s supplemental request, Chair Stanton and the task force led two letters, one to former Speaker McCarthy and the second to Congressional leadership after McCarthy’s ouster, imploring leaders to bring legislation to the floor that reflects the request. New Dems will continue to work with any and all lawmakers willing to find common ground on immigration and border security to advance the supplemental funding necessary to respond to the crisis.

National Security

  • This year, New Dems made passing a comprehensive and bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and advancing the President’s security supplemental requests central to our efforts on national security. In June, the National Security Task Force led by Chair Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) outlined its five key priorities for inclusion in the end of year NDAA, including continuing support for our allies, prioritizing climate resiliency and energy security, supporting servicemembers and their families, investing in research and innovation, and strengthening our defense industrial base and supply chains has guided our work. 

  • In November, Chair Strickland led over 40 New Dems a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to incorporate the Coalition’s priorities into the final version of the NDAA. Of the 23 provisions requested in the Task Force’s November letter, 21 were fully or partially incorporated in the final bill.

  • Despite reckless Republican opposition, New Dems have strongly advocated for President Biden’s various supplemental requests to support critical international and domestic priorities, including supporting Ukraine and Israel and securing the southern border. This included the President’s August supplemental request, which incorporated key New Dem priorities like supporting Ukraine and halting the flow of fentanyl across the southern border.

  • New Dems also endorsed President Biden’s October security request to support Ukraine and Israel, provide humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, reinforce Indo-Pacific allies, and secure the southern border. In November, New Dem Leadership led 76 Members in a letter imploringCongressional leaders to bring the President’s security supplemental request for a vote.

Trade Policy

  • This Congress, New Dems have pursued commonsense and durable trade policies, guided by a commitment to uplifting American workers, cementing the U.S. as a leader in the global arena, and incentivizing innovation. The New Dem Economic Opportunity Agenda released in July laid out the Coalition’s goals for trade policies that limit tariffs and other barriers to market access while lowering costs for consumers, including strengthening the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and pursuing additional free trade agreements. Trade Task Force Chair Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) also joined Climate and Clean Energy Task Force Chair Scott Peters (CA-50) in a statement in support of the Biden Administration’s efforts to prevent new solar duties and aid the growth of the domestic solar industry.

  • Building on the Economic Opportunity Agenda, in November the New Dem Trade Task Force, led by Chair Fletcher, penned a letter to President Biden outlining the Trade Task Force’s comprehensive policy plan. The plan consists of eight key objectives to maintain the United States as a leader in the global marketplace and enact trade policies that will benefit American workers, consumers, growers, producers, and businesses.

Artificial Intelligence 

  • In August, New Dems announced its first-ever Artificial Intelligence Working Group with two distinct goals in mind: convening events to educate Members and staff about AI and its associated benefits and risks, and eventually proposing short and long-term policies Congress can enact to improve AI innovation and safety.

  • Led by Vice Chair for Policy Derek Kilmer (WA-06), the Working Group has been meeting with stakeholders – like Carnegie Mellon University Faculty in September – with the goal of advancing sensible, bipartisan policies to address the emerging technologies benefits and deficiencies. In an effort to collect information about the use of AI to deceive social media users, Working Group Chair Kilmer led 30 New Dems in a letter to prominent AI and social media CEOs. While this initiative is in its early stages, with workforce, democracy, and national security in mind, the Working Group is developing policy to ensure America leads this next chapter in technological innovation.

Responsible Governance 

  • New Dems were the first Congressional leaders to come out in strong support of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and were ultimately instrumental in providing the necessary House Democratic support to pass the legislation negotiated by President Biden to put an end to the GOP-manufactured debt ceiling crisis. After repeatedly calling on Republicans to give in on their reckless brinkmanship (see here, here, and here), New Dems’ early support for the bipartisan agreement ensured the bill could pass the House.

  • In the run-up to the near-government shutdown at the end of September, New Dems worked to avoid catastrophe and provided key votes on the eventual continuing resolution. The tactics of Speaker McCarthy, House Republican Leadership, and the far-right extremists they repeatedly appeased are antithetical to the New Dems’ commitment to rational, bipartisan lawmaking. New Dems repeatedly called for McCarthy to abandon brinkmanship (see here, here, and here). Following the failure of a hyper-partisan CR on September 29th, Chair Kuster released a statement imploringMcCarthy to put a bipartisan bill on the floor to avoid a shutdown. When McCarthy finally gave in, New Dems were the adults in the room and voted for a bill that, while imperfect, kept the government open.

New Dems in the News

Roll Call: New Dem Chair Kuster seeks to bridge the congressional divide 

The New Dems are the “majority makers," she boasts, noting that the group's members flipped five seats in November and had a strong showing in swing districts. Kuster says she'll take a pragmatic, solutions-focused approach to try to guide the Democrats back to power in the House.

Bloomberg Government: Centrist Democrats Haven’t Given Up Hope for Deals With GOP

A centrist group of House Democrats is betting it can buck the legislative odds and play a lead role in cutting bipartisan deals with Republicans on issues ranging from raising the debt ceiling to expanding clean energy. 

The Washington Post: A Washington Surprise: Centrists Push Back Against Fringes in Debt Deal

“I had said from the very beginning that this would be a vote from the middle out,” said Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), the chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of almost 100 center-left House members. “I expect we will get to 218 with Republicans and Democrats. We’re divided government. And frankly, let’s demonstrate to the American people that mature and pragmatic legislators will get the job done.”

Newsweek: Kevin McCarthy May Need Democrats to Save Debt Deal from Republicans

"We want to be clear––our Members are committed to upholding the full faith and credit of the United States. We must act responsibly to ensure that we prevent the catastrophic consequences of default and protect the needs of the most vulnerable in our society," she said Sunday.

CNN: Inside a debt ceiling standoff 'far more dangerous than people will recognize'

“We talked about how we would work together to get the votes to get it passed,” Kuster told CNN. “We both agreed that this was not an ideal circumstance to be in, but once we went to work and really put our shoulder to the wheel that the outcome in terms of protecting the programs that are so important to our constituents was very positive.”

POLITICO: Biden tried an ice-then-court strategy with House Dems. It worked. 

The centrist New Democrat Coalition, a group that the White House knew early on would be needed for many of the party’s votes, leveraged that position to advocate for two key policies: permitting reform and funding veterans’ health programs. They said that working with the White House — including giving them their policy positions — paid off, both in keeping lines of communication open and in shaping the legislative product.


Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) in The Hill: The GOP-led House is in chaos. Bipartisanship is the only path forward.

Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) in Newsweek: Enough Republican Misinformation. Democrats are the Real Job Creators.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) in FOX News: I'm a New Democrat and we have the key to a strong economy

Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) in Newsweek: I Flipped My Seat Blue. I Know Congress Can Pursue Bipartisan Goals.

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) in Newsweek: We Won't Let Far Right Hijack America's Security Priorities

Reps. Annie Kuster and Scott Peters (CA-50) in Newsweek: At COP 28, New Dems Chart the Path Forward to a Clean Energy Economy