On July 12th, the Millennial Action Project (MAP) hosted a night of brews, bourbon, and bipartisanship at the Economic Innovation Group. MAP President and Co-Founder Steven Olikara sat down with the new Congressional Future Caucus vice chairs, Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) to discuss key policy areas and the trajectory of the Future Caucus. Murphy and Gallagher are the first vice chairs of the Caucus, part of a new and expanding leadership team that also includes co-chairs Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).
Both Reps. Murphy and Gallagher recognized the need for deeper, systemic change in the American political system, as well as a healthy dose of honesty. “Both parties have been talking from the same scripts for the last three decades,” said Gallagher. “Some of it works, a lot of it doesn’t, and I think there’s a need to have an honest and open conversation about very complex policy issues.”
One of those complex policy issues is the changing nature of the work, as technological innovation continues to create and eradicate jobs at a remarkable speed. “The way that automation is going to disrupt the workforce is going to have secondary and third-order implications for our social safety net--we’re not even talking about that,” remarked Gallagher.
“So much of the legislating being done is about the past instead of forward-thinking, and that’s an opportunity for younger members to bring their experiences to this process,” added Murphy. She recently introduced the Microloan Modernization Act, one of 5 bipartisan bills she is co-sponsoring in the House. “That’s the way you get things done,” she said of reaching across the aisle. “We’re finding a lot of common ground, whether that’s in small business or in the national security space or in innovation. And that doesn’t necessarily transmit if you watch the news.”
Both Murphy and Gallagher have advocated for reform throughout the entire political process. Gallagher has proposed both term limits and a five year prohibition on lobbying after leaving Congress in attempt to close the revolving door of politicians to lobby shops. He is also a strong proponent of nonpartisan redistricting. Murphy introduced a balanced budget amendment, an uncommon feat for a Democrat, coupled with a “No Budget, No Pay” bill. The purpose of these proposals, she says, is to “try to get Congress back into order and doing its job in terms of setting priorities and making investments.”
“While congressional reform may not be popular with leadership,” added Gallagher, “It resonates with the American people.” He called for innovative solutions to address these systemic challenges. “Until we change the system, I don’t know how we’re going to have a chance of solving the really big issues that are looming on the horizon.”
Olikara praised Murphy and Gallagher for their willingness to step up and reorient the political narrative around real leadership and future-focused legislation. “At a time when political courage is in such short supply, we’re seeing it right here in our vice chairs,” he said. MAP continues to elevate the voices of these young, bipartisan leaders in hopes of re-invigorating millennial engagement with the political process and fighting against the prevalence of partisan gridlock.
The Future Caucus will continue to engage with young people in D.C. and around the country, as well as strengthen bipartisan relationships within the caucus and find opportunities to draft common-ground legislation. Murphy left millennials with a closing appeal: “Call yourself whatever you want--no party affiliate, Democrat, Republican, but don’t disengage. Show up, come talk to your representatives, run for public office, support people who are running for public office. But don’t be turned off by this system, the way it’s built, and disengage from this, because I think that is the biggest danger to our democracy.”