By Congressman Rob Wittman
Three months ago, I stood on the Floor of the
U.S. House of Representatives urging Members of Congress to stay in
Washington, D.C., instead of heading to their respective
congressional districts for the month of August. While I believe it is important
to connect with folks back home, I believed the business before
Congress was too important to wait. Bills funding the government remained
for completion. Defense cuts due to sequestration had not been
addressed. Obamacare remained the law. I argued that it should not take a
government shutdown threat each year to force Congress to do its job.
Later that day, I votedagainst Congress adjourning for five weeks, urging Members remain to complete critical business and
avoid a crisis.
Instead, the government shut down on October 1, costing taxpayers an estimated $24 billion dollars. On October 17, the United States government that shuttered 16 days too long reopened, federal employees returned to work, veterans no longer wondered if they will receive the benefits they have earned, and Americans were able to again utilize basic government services and visit our national monuments and historic landmarks such as Historic Jamestowne.
But there is no cause for celebration after the passage of this legislation to re-open the government; in fact, this entire process has highlighted the fact that Washington is broken. There has been an abdication of leadership, and an allowance of crisis management to get things done. This is not what our founding fathers intended.
I do not and will not advocate for last-minute deals,
but the choice on the bill before us was yes or no, and the right thing
to do was to re-open our government and stand by our obligations. But
the fight is not over.
As I have for years, I continue to urge Congress and the leadership in Washington to return to regular order of business. Instead of governing by crisis, leaders in Washington, D.C., must responsibly govern by getting the people’s business completed on time.
I supported previous
efforts to fund government and repeal Obamacare because I believe the
health law is fundamentally flawed. Many of you have contacted me with
your concerns about higher premiums that you cannot afford. Just last
week, I spoke with a young mother of two children who is being forced
off her current plan that covers her children, and cannot afford the
alternate plans for her and her family. I believe there is much work to
be done to ensure high quality, affordable health care is available
for those who need it.
The fight for real health reform will continue, and the fight for responsible governing will continue. I believe that America has great days ahead, and it is my hope that Congress will listen to the people. Washington has an opportunity to improve from this crisis, but has a long way back to even ground. Our founding fathers intended healthy debate on critical issues affecting our republic, but not at the expense of its citizens. I intend to fight every day for what is right for our country and for our future because it is too important to ignore.
The main streets of Virginia’s First District are full of ideas to get our economy back on track, and your feedback is critically important to me as I serve you. I can be reached by telephone at (202) 225-4261, through my website (www.wittman.house.gov), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/reprobwittman), and via Twitter (www.twitter.com/robwittman).