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Will Change Lead to Commonsense Solutions?

 

By Congressman Dan Lipinksi (IL-3)

 

Another election has come and gone and many people have again voted for change.  It has been apparent for some time that people believe the country is generally moving in the wrong direction and they are frustrated with government. 

The rebuilding of trust must begin with both parties working together towards commonsense solutions.  People are hearing that the unemployment rate is falling and the stock market is breaking records, but they aren’t seeing more dollars in their pockets.  Congress’ top priority must be to promote policies that lead to the creation of more good-paying jobs. 

As Illinois' most senior member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I know that one good move Washington can make is to pass a long-term comprehensive road and transit funding bill.  For safety and economic reasons, as well as overall quality of life, commonsense dictates that Republicans and Democrats must compromise on this issue and get it done.  We should also work together to reform our tax code, put our fiscal house in order, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and honor our veterans.

While it has been rare in recent years, some of my colleagues have shown the ability to put politics aside for the people.  Last year when the federal government shut down for sixteen days, a number of Democrats and Republicans began meeting to find a solution that would re-open government and hopefully make progress on some other issues.  We weren’t going to sit on the sidelines.

But members of this group on both sides were told to stop working together.  The Republicans were attacked by some of their colleagues and by outside groups for being willing to compromise.  Democrats were attacked because politically the Republican Party was getting hurt by the shutdown and they wanted the pain to continue for Republicans.

This is a perfect example of how Washington is broken: outside groups, party leaders, and other self-interested politicians only concerned about promoting themselves rather than promoting what is good for the American people.

While some members got scared and took a step back, many of us didn’t back down.  We kept working on a solution and finally came up with a plan.  A version of that plan passed the House and Senate and re-opened the government. 

This was only a small victory, but it showed we can work together in a commonsense manner to get things done.  In the next year, we will need more of these solution-based approaches in order to begin putting our nation back on the right track.

 

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