Usually, I am ready to leave Washington at the end of a long legislative week and head back to Long Island to attend community events, meet with constituents and spend just a little time with my family.
However, today the GOP leadership has sent the House of Representatives back to our districts for two months with critical work--that can only be accomplished through bipartisan compromise--left undone. For the record, the House GOP leadership has seen fit to keep the House in session for a grand total of 8 days between August 2 and November 13.
This means no substantive effort to jump-start job growth, no certainty for small businesses and middle class families that their taxes will not rise next year, no balanced plan to reduce spending, reform the tax code, and tackle the deficit. Not to mention allowing the expiration of the Farm Bill, which benefits grape and vegetable growers and families in need of food aid in Suffolk County, and failing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which helps protect Long Island's women from the scourge of domestic violence.
The Farm bill and VAWA traditionally pass with support from Republicans and Democrats, and this year the Senate passed their versions of both bills with bipartisan support. But the GOP leadership denied consideration of the Senate bills in the House.
I am proud of my work on some of the bipartisan accomplishments we have made, including a transportation bill that will create or sustain 100,000 construction jobs in the state of New York alone, an extension of the 2% Payroll Tax Cut through the end of 2012 that adds $1,329 to the average Suffolk County family's budget, and the "Veterans Skills to Jobs Act" to help put America's veterans back to work.
But we all know that more needs to be done. I'm committed to working across the aisle to solve the big problems. That's why you sent me to Washington. It is deeply unfortunate for our country that the House Leadership is yielding to the intransigence of the Tea Party and refusing to allow that necessary work to take place.
Congressman Tim Bishop
First District of New York