Back to work!
October 25, 2013—We’ve just seen Congress at its worst.
The 16-day government shutdown, the partisan brinksmanship that almost caused our country’s first-ever financial default – these are things that should never happen. They accomplished nothing except to hurt millions of people and cost our economy an estimated $24 billion.
Many of you spoke out against the shutdown/default debacle including signing petitions and writing letters and emails. Thank you for doing your part and for supporting my efforts to end this manufactured crisis!
Make no mistake; the pressure we created made a difference. The overwhelming public outcry forced Speaker Boehner to stop flouting the people’s voice in the People’s House, and to do what we were calling for all along: allow a “clean” vote to end the crisis.
There was no victory in this disgraceful episode, but if there is a silver lining it could be this: no political ransom was paid and once we forced the vote, democracy worked: 87 House Republicans did the right thing by joining with all House Democrats and voting “yes” to reopen government and honor our financial obligations.
If we hold to this precedent – no more hijacking government, no more refusals to allow bipartisan majorities to vote – we can start to get Congress turned around.
But we need to keep the pressure on because the Tea Party ringleaders in Congress don’t want that to happen. We can’t forget that 144 House Republicans voted “no” on ending the crisis. They preferred to continue the shutdown and plunge our country into default, despite experts warning of immediate credit downgrades, interest rate hikes, and the possibility of a global recession. That’s how reckless this group is, and they’re spoiling for another fight early next year.
The stakes could not be higher in the weeks ahead. Congress has two months to negotiate a real budget that would replace the “sequester” and provide political stability to help sustain our economic recovery. As a member of the Budget Committee, I’ll be participating in regular briefings with budget conferees. If members of both parties approach this work in a spirit of good faith and reasonableness – if we focus on deficit reduction,managing the debt, and growing the economy instead of partisan dogma about repealing Obamacare— Congress can get this done.
Perhaps we can even build on the modest success this week, when a bipartisan majority in the House passed an important water infrastructure and environmental bill, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). This legislation wasn’t perfect and needs to be improved in Conference Committee, but it shows Congress can actually get some things done when key votes are allowed to happen.
There is much more work to do, including the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform – which would significantly reduce our deficit and national debt. A solid bipartisan majority would approve this legislation if Speaker Boehner simply allows the vote to happen.
I’m glad we’re back to work. Thanks for helping keep up the pressure to let the democratic process work in the People’s House! And as always, thank you for your support and friendship.
P.S. I hope to see you at one of our final two events of the year! Our ”Bounty of the North Bay” is coming up on Nov. 3rd, and our ”Seaside Social” in Eureka is Nov. 9th. Please
join me if you can. Click HERE for details!