In August, as I traveled around the district speaking to constituents from Montauk to Mastic to Mount Sinai, I heard over and over again from people who share my frustration with the seeming inability of Congress to work together on our nation's most pressing problems.
I returned to Washington this week ready to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to take action on priorities including tax cuts for the middle class, a comprehensive plan to put America back to work, and balanced plan to reduce our deficit.
Unfortunately, the leadership of the House of Representatives has decided that these vital priorities can wait, and that the precious last few days of this Congress should be devoted primarily to votes designed to send a "message," rather than become law. Efforts by Democrats to compel a vote on a tax cut for middle class families, something we should all support, were rejected on partisan votes.
In fact, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said this week that he was "not confident at all" that Congress could reach an agreement that would prevent a tax increase on the middle class, as well as destructive spending cuts that would short-circuit our economic recovery. It is this lack of commitment to solving our nation's problems that led Moody's credit agency to announce this week that it is considering a downgrade of its rating on U.S. Government debt.
The GOP leadership seems to be so focused on sending a "message" from the Capitol that they are not listening to the message I hear from you: "Work together. Get the job done." The American people should not have to wait for Congress to address the nation's urgent business. I'm committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve problems. That's why you sent me to Washington. The lack of that same commitment from the House Republican Leadership and the Republican Caucus is extremely troubling.
Congressman Tim Bishop
First District of New York