On a recent edition of Meet the Press, host David Gregory asked his guest whether Republicans have given voters a reason to vote for them in the fall. He asked whether Republicans have demonstrated that they should control both Chambers of Congress and be “a governing party.”
With less than three months before voters head to the polls this is certainly an important question, and one that I believe my House Republican colleagues have answered. When it comes to addressing the most pressing issues facing the American people, the Republican-led House of Representatives has led the charge. For instance, while President Obama has recently boasted of a “booming” economy under his watch, Americans continue to feel great anxiety. In fact, 6 in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with the state of the economy and 7 in 10 believe our country is headed in the wrong direction.
Unlike President Barack Obama, House Republicans have not lost touch with these very real economic concerns. That is why we have acted to pass dozens of sensible and bipartisan measures to help our economy grow and help Americans get back to work. In fact, there are currently 43 House passed jobs bills – most of which enjoy bipartisan support -- sitting in the Democrat-led Senate just waiting for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote. These include measures that would create jobs, lower energy prices for hard working Americans, and give relief to the predominantly female and lower income workers hurt by Obamacare, among other measures.
Our national debt is now more than $17.6 trillion – that’s more than $55,000 for each American man, woman and child. Yet Obama and Democrats in Washington refuse to get serious about our nation’s fiscal outlook. This year, Obama once again submitted a budget plan over a month late that failed to ever balance even though it called for massive tax increases on the American people. Senate Democrats fared even worse by failing to even introduce a budget plan, let alone pass one with a simple majority vote as required by law.
On the contrary, I was proud to help once again advance a responsible budget plan with Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and my colleagues on the House Budget Committee. The plan we introduced would bring our books to balance without needlessly harming our economy with painful tax increases like the ones Obama called for. House Republicans responsibly passed this budget plan this past April.
Most recently, and to answer David Gregory’s question on Meet the Press, only one party in Washington has acted to address the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children who have illegally crossed our southern border. While the Democrat-led Senate recessed for the summer without passing legislation to address this humanitarian crisis, the Republican controlled House of Representatives stayed in Washington and worked until a supplemental border appropriations bill was passed. This contrast has been consistent throughout the year, as House Republicans have worked to pass seven different bipartisan appropriations bills to fund government operations for the next year while Senate Democrats have passed none. This behavior by Senate Democrats is not how a governing majority should behave and virtually guarantees unnecessary brinksmanship when lawmakers return to work in September with just weeks before the current appropriations lapse.
The only party in Washington that is working to govern is the Republican Party, but unfortunately we only control one chamber of one branch of government. These upcoming elections can change that, giving Republicans control of the Senate and giving the American people the chance to see important, bipartisan measures advance through Congress. This will give Obama the opportunity to decide whether he wants to help us govern or to continue to play politics. On November 4th, let’s give the president the opportunity to make that decision.
Diane Black has represented Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District since 2011. She sits on the Budget and the Ways and Means committees.