“Regions like mine need both the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better Act—and we need them right now”
WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) published an op-ed in Newsweek urging her colleagues to come together and compromise to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better Act. Speaking as one of just three Democrats in the nation who won a Trump-won district twice, Bustos’ op-ed comes as lawmakers continue negotiations on Capitol Hill to strike a deal.
As the House returns to Washington this week, we have one task at stake: to pass some form of the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better Act. It’s what we owe to the American people who elected us when we campaigned with promises to be the adults in the room. So I have a message to my colleagues threatening to tank the entire package if they don’t get one thing or that: It’s time for us to live up to that promise.
I’m one of just three House Democrats who was on the ballot with Donald Trump, who won where he won—not once but twice. Both times, I won where he won. In politics, personal beliefs and even geographic location, the district I serve is the epitome of “the middle.” Our rural and mid-sized communities are made up of working families trying to do better day by day. In this, they are more united than politics could ever divide them. And they are tired of the endless broadcasts and articles about how Washington works and who is fighting with whom. They just want Washington to work for them.
Throughout my visits in these Heartland communities, you know what words I didn’t hear once? Reconciliation. BIF. Parliamentarian. Framework. The Byrd Rule. Not one person spoke with me about legislative process…
You know what I did hear? Childcare. Water pipes. Bridges. Roads. Broadband. The overwhelming sentiment of each and every person I spoke with wasn’t that they want a perfect product; what they want is results.
…Republicans passed a tax bill that cost this country $1.9 trillion. But what did we get for our money? There were no roads or bridges built. The 100-year-old pipes that bring us our drinking water didn’t get replaced. None of that money went to help two-income families pay for childcare or tuition.
… All that money spent… and life for most Americans didn’t get any better.
Our nation has fallen behind, but our shared American spirit means we cannot give up… I believe we can move past this proverbial chicken-or-egg moment, join together to find common ground and make meaningful progress right now—even if it’s not all of the progress we need to make.
Originally published in Newsweek.