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Public Statements

We Must Do Better

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. JOHNSON of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong objection to the animosity and gridlock that's been the overarching theme of this first session of the 112th Congress.

I make dozens of calls and similar personal contacts directly with my constituents every day, probably more than any other Member of Congress. These people live in the real world beyond the beltway environment in which too many public officials live and work, sheltered from reality, by communication primarily with each other in a self-created climate that bears little similarity to the rest of America.

In my years in public office, I have never heard the level of anger I hear today. Our approval ratings are in the tank, and they should be. We are gripped in gridlock because people on both sides of the aisle in both Chambers and in the White House are more concerned with politics than progress.

As our economy continues to stagger, our attention should be focused on putting people to work and providing a stability in public policy. We can only do that through cooperation, compromise, and civility.

My message to leadership and membership, including myself, in both Chambers is this: We have to do the business the people expect us to do, efficiently and in an adult-like manner. Anything less is both irresponsible and unacceptable. We can and we should do vastly better than what we are.

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