Oct 23 2013
Dear Fellow Delawarean,
Like many of you, I found the political drama surrounding both the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis over the past few weeks to be incredibly frustrating. While I was relieved that we finally convinced a handful of Republicans to stop the political brinksmanship and allow us to do our jobs – namely to fund the government and ensure that our government can pay its bills responsibly – the entire episode was troubling and disappointing.
Winston Churchill famously noted that "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else." That was certainly the case with this unfortunate incident. Although, in the end, Congress came together -- the process was unnecessary from the start and hurt both our economy and the American people.
Despite my frustration, I remain an eternal optimist and I have no choice but look for the positive that can come from this latest showdown. Thanks to the newly created bipartisan, bicameral conference committee, we now have a golden opportunity to come together- Democrats, Republicans and even a few Independents- to pass a budget agreement that finally puts our nation on a financially responsible path. To do this, I believe a successful budget plan should do four things:
- Invest in our future and grow our economy;
- Address both spending and revenue in a fair and balanced way;
- Rein in the costs of our entitlement programs in a way that preserves them for the future but doesn’t savage the poor or the elderly;
- Look for ways throughout the federal government where we can get better results for less money.
These are just my suggestions, though, and what the past few weeks really taught us was that no one party can get everything it wants. We need to negotiate to find common ground and, in that compromise, we can build a stronger America. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisles in the coming weeks and months to find a responsible way to strengthen our nation and our economy. And, as always, I welcome your insight into what you think should be done here in Washington.
I often like to say that in adversity lies opportunity; if the past few weeks are any indication, we now have an opportunity of a lifetime to finally get something done.