Democrats are offering real change for the people

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos published an op-ed in The Hill detailing how Democrats would lead in the majority by fighting for the people.

You can read the full piece by clicking here or reading below.

Democrats are offering real change for the people

By Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Opinion Contributor

With the midterm election less than four weeks away, media pundits, political strategists and everyday Americans are asking what Democratic control of Congress would mean for the country.

For too long now, we’ve had a government that’s of the rich, by the powerful and for the special interests. Washington has become a place where it’s all about getting re-elected. Politics has become a sport where people chase the outrage of the day to see who can get the most retweets. And the legislative process has been poisoned by backroom deals where lobbyists have literally written the laws to their liking.

What happened to the days when government was about making America a better place or improving the lives of ordinary people? Why have our elected leaders become so transfixed on talking to their base that they can’t acknowledge our common values? Why can’t we get back to a government that works for the people again?

While I don’t think this trend began with Donald Trump, he’s absolutely responsible for lowering this bar to unprecedented and dangerous depths.

We’re living in a time that seems almost divorced from reality. On just about any day you can expect the president to lie, to enable hatred and bigotry, to attack our allies or independent minded members of his own party, to divulge national security secrets, to rage tweet about whatever is on Fox News, or, if we’re lucky, to spend a quiet day on the golf course.

Meanwhile, his enablers in Congress spend most of their days either attacking the media, refusing to acknowledge the dysfunction in the White House or letting their billionaire campaign contributors write the rules.

There’s a better path we can take.

Democrats are ready to show the American people we can represent and govern all Americans.

It’s time to do away with the labels, the division and the class warfare and unify the nation behind solutions that make our country better and stronger for all of us. That is what our “For the People” agenda is all about.

This begins by making sure all Americans have access to affordable health care and that pre-existing conditions continue to be covered. Instead of intentionally raising health care costs, undermining the health exchange or suing in court to let insurers charge people more for their care, all things Washington Republicans have done recently, let’s work together to fix it.

Right now, nearly 50 million people in this country live in poverty, and one in four children rely on the government for the food on their plates. At a time when billionaires on Wall Street are breaking one record after another, was this really the time to give them windfall tax breaks that put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block while adding trillions to the national debt?

When Democrats are back in power, we’ll work to raise incomes for hardworking Americans and lower their costs by making sure the richest 1 percent pay their fair share. And, as President Trump promised but failed to deliver, we’ll make a meaningful investment in our roads, bridges, schools and rural broadband to spur new economic development across our nation and give more Americans the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.

Democrats will restore pride in our country and support our armed forces while recognizing that the world is more dangerous now than in any other time in our lives. A strong military is essential to protecting our way of life at home, protecting the rights of Americans to travel safely abroad and to protect our ability to safely import and export food and other items by land, air and sea. In generations past, America emerged as a force of good in the world, but on President Trump’s watch, we’ve retreated from this role. Much of the world looks to us for leadership, help and protection, but that’s not what they get when we have a president who wakes up and tweets insults at world leaders. We can and must provide that to our citizens while also fulfilling our international role with the help and participation of our friends and allies.

But absolutely none of this can happen unless we finally come together and address the root cause of dysfunction in Washington. President Trump promised to drain the swamp – instead he literally built a hotel on it where lobbyists, foreign governments and special interests put more than $40 million in the president’s pocket last year. People are getting rich by rewriting the rules – and that’s why they’re more than willing to hold their noses and stay the course with Donald Trump and the Washington Republicans. There is no clearer example of this than the way Republicans have looked the other way while two of their own members, literally the first two congressmen who endorsed Donald Trump for president, have been indicted for felony corruption and continue to run for re-election. This is the swamp, and it’s exactly why millions of Americans are so sick and tired of Washington. If we have the opportunity to lead again, one of our central commitments is to restore accountability and ethics to Congress.

Democrats are ready to wake up every morning and work hard to improve our nation for the people.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos represents Illinois’ 17th District. She is the only Midwesterner in Democratic House Leadership where she serves as the Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.