Rep. Pocan thinks Dems could take US House

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BELOIT - U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, says he's confident Democrats could capture the House majority in November's midterm elections, but he stopped short of making any predictions about the party's leadership.

Pocan was in Beloit on Monday to make a few stops and he stopped by the Beloit Daily News to share his views on a range of issues, from the upcoming elections to the current state of Congress.

Pocan is in his sixth year as a Congressman for Wisconsin's delegation of eight lawmakers in Washington.

He said the issue of gerrymandering of congressional districts needs to be addressed, citing the low number of competitive House districts across the country. He said roughly 115 of all 435 districts could be considered competitive, less than 27 percent of all races.

According to a data analysis by the New York Times released Monday, of the competitive races, 62 would be "highly competitive seats."

Democrats must flip at least 23 Republican-held districts to regain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pocan said he was optimistic for Democrats to regain control of Congress, but stopped short of saying whether or not he would vote to support Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, as majority leader if the so-called blue wave crashes ashore.

"I will see what the scenario looks like after the election," Pocan said. "It depends on the margin of the majority, if any, after the election."

Ahead of November, Pocan's spent time out of Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. helping candidates campaign, and said he would head to Florida in the coming weeks to hit the trail.

"I am just trying to help candidates get elected," Pocan said.

Earlier this summer Pocan stood front-and-center in the national spotlight following the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) child detention and family separation controversy after the former state legislator penned legislation that would abolish the agency.

Pocan said went to facilities on the border and saw first-hand how families and children were caught in a disorganized immigration system.

"Abolishing ICE is a negotiating point," Pocan said. "You have people on both sides of the spectrum who are in favor of reforms and those who support the organization outright. It could be a middle ground because you have a brand that is so damaged right now that only serious reforms or a renaming and reevaluation could help make it effective again."

In terms of next year's budget, Pocan, who sits on the federal appropriations committee, said a short term deal could be drafted to continue funding to avoid a government shut down, a threat made by President Donald Trump earlier this month.

Pocan speculated that a shut down was unlikely so close to the midterm election, and said a possible outcome could result in a smaller overall spending package or a continuing resolution to maintain critical functions of the government, effectively pushing the sunset date past the upcoming election on Nov. 6.

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