Dear Republican Members of Congress,
During the Independence Day recess, please reflect on the the Preamble to the Constitution.
How well do you think you are carrying out the tasks that “We the People” have set before you?
You are in Congress to represent all of us, from my newborn granddaughter to the 108-year-old neighbor of my parents.
You do not just represent other Republicans.
Or people who voted for you.
Or your party apparatus.
Or your political donors.
“…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
Other than the common defense, these goals are mired in either inaction or regression.
Exhibit A is your attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act which would increase the number of uninsured, decrease coverage, raise premiums and deductibles dramatically for older adults, force small rural hospitals and hospitals and nursing homes that treat large numbers of lower income folks into bankruptcy, and squeeze spending on Medicaid which pays for health care for those living in poverty, people with disabling conditions, and long-term care for the elderly and ill.
It does not “promote the general Welfare.”
It is opposed by a large majority of “We the People of the United States” whom you are supposed to be representing.
Even worse, you are trying to pass it under budgetary rules, making spending cuts that will hurt millions of Americans in order to give a large tax break to the wealthiest taxpayers. And, by the way, precluding the possibility of a filibuster in the Senate.
You have also used a totally anomalous process to create this legislation, forgoing the usual months of committee hearings, expert testimony, public discussion, revision, and amendments. And you seem to have forgotten that the Affordable Care Act followed that regular order process and that the final bill included Republican amendments and met the threshold of sixty votes in the Senate.
Your excuse that you have to adjust to being a governing majority party is disturbing. You have been in the majority in Congress for years, but instead of crafting legislation that would serve the American people, pass in both the House and Senate, and be signed by the President, you chose partisanship over actual governing, eschewing the tradition of other Congresses where the majority party was not the party of the president.
You have proved in the last few months that you can’t even govern with a president from your own party, albeit a president, who, as a candidate, campaigned against much of the Congressional Washington agenda, and who, as president, sends mixed signals of his priorities and opinions.
We the People deserve better.
During your Independence Day recess, I call on you to reflect on your duty to the American people and return to Washington ready to serve all the people in a way that really does “promote the general Welfare.”
July 4, 2017