Time to Get to Workby Former Representative Joe Garcia
Posted on 2013-02-14
GARCIA. Mr. Speaker, this afternoon a group of 20 freshman
Members of Congress will gather to announce that we are putting aside
our partisan differences to do the right thing for the American people.
For Democrats, this means that 10 of us are willing to compromise on
spending so long as we keep our promise to seniors that they can retire
with dignity and have access to affordable, quality health care. My
Republican colleagues have said that they are willing to compromise on
revenues so long as Democrats meet them halfway.
Like most Americans, to those of us who are new to Washington, ``compromise'' isn't a dirty word. It's what regular, ordinary people do in their daily lives. The American people get it. If you have a problem that arises in your office, you and your coworkers may disagree on how to address it, but your company does not wait until it gets to the last minute to solve it. You simply meet with your colleagues, put differences aside, and find solutions. Not everyone will get what they want, but we move forward. And this is precisely what the American people have sent us to Washington to do. They have sent us here to solve problems on their behalf and not argue all the time.
Mr. Speaker, the challenges before us are serious, and they deserve serious proposals. While our economy is growing, we still have many families that are looking for work or waiting for our economy to grow more quickly. Many parents are working two and three jobs and yet cannot find a way to save money for retirement or send their kids to school. I see this all the time in my community in places like Kendall, Westchester, and Islamorada.
This status quo is unacceptable to me, just as I know it is unacceptable to my Republican colleagues. Yet it seems that when we gather in this Chamber, rather than finding commonsense solutions to our problems, we engage in ideological debates that are designed for political posturing that lead us to nowhere.
At a minimum, if we can't agree on every issue, we should be working hard to solve problems. The American people may not know this, but the fact is that of the 31 days that we met here last month, Members of Congress only gathered six times. And in those 6 days, the only bill of any real significance was the Hurricane Sandy relief--a bill that should have been approved last year. Maybe this is the way Washington works; but in the rest of America, if you show up to your job less than 20 percent of the time--that's about 1 day a week--you probably won't have a job for too long. And yet some of my colleagues find this acceptable. Well, I don't. And I know the [[Page H513]] American people won't find this acceptable either.
So I respectfully invite each of my colleagues, Republican and Democrats alike, and even those of you who have been in Washington for a while, to join us for this moment of bipartisanship and work together on behalf of our fellow citizens. Let's remember that it is a privilege to serve the American people. It's time to get to work.