We’re now told we need Republican majorities in Congress as a check on the powers of the next president. Over six years, this “check” has yielded 50 votes to repeal health insurance that protects 16 million people; eight votes to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, a critical provider of health care services to women; and failure to even talk with a distinguished nominee for the Supreme Court, leaving that court deadlocked.
Republicans in the states have given us gerrymandering, which has yielded fringe candidates; voter suppression laws; vilification of war refugees; and corrosion of educational systems like the once exceptional University of Wisconsin.
The Republican chairs of the House and Senate science and environment committees are climate change deniers. Federal agencies can’t fund research on gun violence. The party’s views on income inequality? Google “Republicans who have voted to raise the minimum wage.”
President Barack Obama has been criticized, not without merit, for executive power overreach. But we elected him — twice — based on his vision for our country. Our separation of powers is intended to produce better government, not no government. Let’s give him credit for moving the needle a little on the issues he promised to address, which Congress hasn’t.
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Hillary Clinton may be imperfect, but even her critics in Congress report she is knowledgeable, disciplined and works across party lines. In January, I hope we have a Congress that shares her bias toward action, her compassion for the less fortunate and her track record of legislative compromise.
Bill Carlsen, State College