WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) gave a floor speech last night about the importance of bipartisanship and how the recent passage of a five-year Farm Bill out of the House Agriculture Committee was an example of what Congress can achieve by working together. Bustos was one of more than a dozen House members who have been labeled Congressional Problem Solvers by the bipartisan group No Labels who spoke on the floor last night.
Bustos’ prepared remarks are below:
Far too often, people tend to focus on our differences instead of what brings us together.
Despite what we all may hear, common ground does exist among lawmakers from opposing parties.
Although the group we call No Labels is made up of Democrats and Republicans, what unites the 68 of us making up this group is the idea that work can and should get done in Washington.
The people of each of our regions in the United States sent us to our nation’s Capital not to position and posture, but to use common sense and compromise to move our country forward.
That is why I joined the bipartisan No Labels group and have been identified as a Congressional Problem Solver.
No Labels is the only bipartisan, bicameral group in Congress, and is made up of liberals, moderates and conservatives. Yes, the left, the right AND the middle…coming together.
While we surely don’t agree on every issue, there are plenty of areas that we can find to achieve results for the people we represent.
Let me talk to you about a recent example.
I am a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and last week we completed an exercise in bipartisanship by working together to pass, by a large margin, a five-year Farm Bill.
The Republican Chairman, Frank Lucas, the Ranking Member, Collin Peterson, and the entire committee was civil, accommodating and worked well together.
It was refreshing.
Nine of my fellow Congressional Problem Solvers – both Democrats and Republicans – are on the Agriculture Committee with me.
Although we didn’t agree on every aspect of the bill, and I believe there is still room for improvements, we all come from regions of the country where our people expect their elected officials to put politics aside and do their job.
Last year, Congress wasn’t able to get its act together and pass a five-year Farm Bill, so instead had to resort to a short-term extension that expires in a matter of months.
I’m hopeful this year will be different.
The family farmers I talk with back home in Illinois want the security and stability that comes with a five-year bill, so they can plan for future growth and investments and continue to provide the food our nation, and world, depend on.
If we approached more issues on a bipartisan basis like we did in the Agriculture Committee and like we do in No Labels, Congress would be more productive, and the American people would be better off.
I’m committed to working with my No Labels colleagues to achieve this goal of bipartisanship and urge all members of Congress to join us in this pursuit.