Using the debt ceiling as blackmail is not governance; it's reckless and irresponsible.
WASHINGTON, DC. — As I watch the current issues in Congress, I am disheartened. The partisanship is spectacular. The media fuels it even more. Understandably, Americans are upset, confused, and untrusting of the leaders voted to represent them. Congress calls it the act of negotiation and the process of governing. Let's call it what it is: sad, egregious.
Holding the debt ceiling for ransom is dangerous. Congress approved three debt ceiling increases and a 2019 debt ceiling suspension during the last administration — but now are refusing to govern effectively. Why? It's nothing but a partisan political fight.
➤ In addition to the mess, The Detroit Free Press just exposed my opponent for dishonesty, again. He went on to the House Floor to say only a 'fraction' of infrastructure bill goes to traditional uses. He's wrong. ➤
As a candidate running for Congress in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, I am disgusted. Is this what I want? Is this who I will become? There must be a better way.
Let's start with the critical issues behind the debate:
Our leaders are putting political parties over caring for Americans.
They are metastasizing polarization without compromise.
They're operating as if they know better.
They will do whatever it takes to get re-elected, even if it's wrong.
Each side will prove the other wrong even if they're correct, and they do it by bending the truth as much as necessary.
How do we address this:
Implement bipartisan parley requirements.
Adhere to rules of etiquette and enforce decorum.
Change Congressional culture; stop personal rebukes, and start addressing the issues.
Always tell the truth even if it hurts.
Deploy fact-checkers to avoid confirmation biases.
Build genuine across-the-aisle relationships.
Randomize seating charts in chambers and in committee.
Reduce constant fundraising demands.
And, when everything fails, a 'time out' may be needed. Congress's actions are childish. The punishment should be commensurate.
Now to the debate:
Funding the government, and suspending or raising of the debt ceiling
Avoiding a government shutdown is a no-brainer. Pass it with universal support.
Both parties are responsible for the previous spending. The national debt has risen almost by $7.8 trillion during Trump's time in office. Republicans need to avoid a debt ceiling crisis and vote Yay, then the debate on further spending should continue.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Please, pass it.
Did anyone read the 2,740 pages? The infighting between progressives and moderate Democrats needs to end. Pass it, and debate the next bill.
$550 billion in new federal spending will strengthen the nation's failing physical infrastructure.
$110 billion for roads and bridges
$66 billion for railroads
$65 billion for the power grid
$55 billion for water infrastructure
$65 billion for broadband
$47 billion for cybersecurity and climate change
$39 billion for public transit
$25 billion for airports
$21 billion for the environment
$17 billion for ports
$11 billion for safety
$8 billion for Western water infrastructure
$7.5 bill for electric vehicle charging stations
$7.5 billion for electric school buses
$3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change funding, aka the Budget Reconciliation Bill
This blueprint is only 29 pages, much more straightforward than the other bill. It would:
Make community college tuition-free for two years.
Fund universal pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds and provide new childcare benefits for working families.
Enhance childcare for working families.
Under the proposal, low and middle-income households would pay no more than 7% of their income on childcare for children younger than 5.
Extend the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and child and dependent care tax credit.
Add dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare.
Invest in-home and community-based services for seniors, the disabled, and home care workers.
Invest in climate change mitigation and preparation projects.
Fuel other infrastructure projects — V.A. hospitals, job training, workforce, development, affordable housing, and vital infrastructure needs in Indigenous communities.
Provide green cards to millions of legal immigrant workers and their families.
The devil is in the details. At this juncture, the bill is not finalized, so let the debate continue.
I support most of the above issues but would respectfully question some spending. The bill will have a makeover before it's passed.
It's paid with tax hikes on corporations and wealthy people. The plan calls for top corporate and individual tax rates of 26.5% and 39.6%, respectively, a 3% surcharge on personal income above $5 million, and a capital gains tax of 25%.
New taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year, small businesses, and family farms would be prohibited.
Here is a straightforward reference Understanding the Infrastructure Bills: bit.ly/AboutTheBil°.
Congress needs to do its job. Our elected representatives need to work together and lead. Tell the American people truthfully what is in the bills. Debate the issues, present the value and need of the spending without hyperbole. Get honest.
Congress is a mess, and it's hard to find an adult in the chamber. It's time to clean it up, get on with the nation's business, and govern. Let's go. The American people are begging for real leadership.
[P.S. After addressing the above issues, please address our Medicare and Social Security insolvency problem.]