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Coastal Voices: Unproductive Congress can function better

It’s disappointing that U.S. John House Speaker Boehner just adjourned the House of Representatives for August “recess” instead of staying in session to tackle the pile of unfinished congressional work — including votes on comprehensive immigration reform, gun violence prevention, replacing the “sequester” cuts that are undermining our economic recovery, and key appropriations bills that are needed to avoid a government shutdown in October. 

Instead of holding votes on these critical matters, Speaker Boehner is stalling as he tries to appease the extreme anti-government, anti-immigrant Tea Party wing of his party. The shameful result: This is shaping up to be one of the least productive congresses in history.

 

Like you, I’m frustrated by this hyper-partisan dysfunction. I came to Congress to solve problems, not just fight about them. And I’m not going to give up on that goal.

One thing I’m doing to help make Congress function better is working with the bipartisan “No Labels” Problem Solvers Caucus. Last month, I joined a group of 70 members of the House and Senate to announce a “Make Government Work” legislative package we are working on together.

These bills won’t solve all our country’s problems, but things like making government more energy efficient, more costeffective, and improving health care for veterans, are commonsense solutions. And by meeting regularly and engaging in a respectful, problem-solving dialogue, we’re taking a step toward fixing the partisan paralysis in Congress.

I’m also working to get things done despite the currently challenging political environment in Washington. I’m pleased to report that H.R. 1411, my bill to permanently protect the Point Arena-Stornetta public lands on the Mendocino Coast, passed the House of Representatives two weeks ago and is well on its way to becoming law!

While it’s unusual for members of the minority party to pass legislation in their first year, we’re authoring some great bills that I’m determined to see enacted. 

Congress may be in recess but I’ll be working hard this August with meetings and events throughout the 2nd District on immigration reform, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, climate change and more. I’ll also be part of a very timely congressional delegation trip to the Middle East, where I will meet with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as they resume critical peace negotiations. 

Thank you for the honor of representing you in Congress during this time of great challenges and opportunities. Whether you are enjoying a well-earned vacation with your family or working hard through the last hot weeks of summer, have a great August!

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman is a San Rafael Democrat representing California’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Del Norte County.

 


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