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There is Hope for Americans Coming Together

 

Suburban Life

 

As we approach the end of the year, the anxiety level of many Americans is running high. Despite positive employment numbers coming out of the Department of Labor, many Americans are still understandably concerned about their personal economic situation and where their children or grandchildren are going to find jobs both today and in the future.  And now the terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere around the world, along with warnings about possible attacks at home, are creating more fear about personal safety. 

At times like this it is important for all Americans, especially our leaders, to use some common sense and come together to address these serious issues.  Unfortunately, the early start of the campaign season for next year’s presidential election seems to be driving us further apart.

One hopeful spot has been the No Labels grassroots organization that brings together Americans from across the political spectrum to focus on getting elected officials to solve problems.  I have been a member of the No Labels Problem Solver Caucus in Congress for a number of years.  No Labels is currently working on getting presidential candidates to commit – if elected – to engage in bipartisan action to achieve the goals of their National Strategic Agenda.  These four goals are creating 25 million jobs over the next 10 years, securing Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years, balancing the federal budget by 2030, and making America energy secure by 2024.  I would add “keeping Americans secure” to the top of this list. 

In spite of the continued political rancor, recently there has been some positive news coming out of Washington as Democrats and Republicans have come together on a few important issues.  A budget compromise passed in October means more investment in our nation’s domestic priorities and national security over the next two years without deepening our debt.  This bipartisan agreement also averted a drastic increase in Medicare premiums next year. 

In addition, after five years of short-term extensions of funding for our roads and public transportation, it appears that a long-term bill will finally be passed.  Sitting on the House Transportation Committee, I worked hard to make sure that this bill would provide the funds we need to help ease congestion on our local roads and improve the entities many of us rely on, such as Metra.  The bill is not perfect, but it will help put more people to work in the short term and improve our quality of life and the American economy in the long term.  I was appointed to serve on the small conference committee to work out the compromise between the House and Senate legislation and I’m hopeful that it will be completed soon.  

Obviously, there is still much work to do.  As we start a new year, I remain focused on bringing people together to put our nation on the right track and to keep Americans safe and free.