I received this report from a MoveOnWhidbey friend after a meeting with our wonderful WA representative, Rick Larsen. I think it should be read by all those who are frustrated with what they think is slow progress in Congress.
Meeting with Rick Larsen
On Saturday, Feb. 20, about 30 people, including six MoveOn Whidbey members, met with Congressman Rick Larsen at the Skagit College campus in Oak Harbor from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. Larsen spoke for about a half an hour; then had another hour for questions and answers.
He began by distributing a column written by Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute that was published in the Washington Post on January 31, 2010 (http://waters.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=168625). The article, “A very Productive Congress, Despite what the Approval Ratings Say” documents how much has been accomplished by the current administration and this Congress. As Ornstein says, “This Democratic Congress is on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society 89th Congress in 1965 to 66, and Obama already has the most legislative success of any modern president…and that includes Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson.”
Larsen went on the say, “I’m not the angry guy.” He wants to have a positive and optimistic approach to accomplishing what he thinks is important. He added, “We can look to the future or stay dragged down in the past.”
Here is Larsen’s list for what he believes must be done (some of which has already been signed into law)
• Reduce unemployment and create jobs (he noted that the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” which was signed into law is doing that).
• Help community banks and encourage them to make loans to small businesses.
• Invest in manufacturing, especially in clean energy products, and make the products in America instead of outsourcing the manufacturing.
• Help struggling families (the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act) has been passed by the House, and Larsen is optimistic it will be passed by the Senate and signed into law).
• Reform Wall Street and end the era of big bank bailouts (the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has been passed by the House and Larsen expects passage in the Senate).
Other accomplishments by the Congress (programs that have been signed into law) include:
• Cash for Clunkers
• Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act
• Helping Families Save their Homes Act
• Health Care for 11 Million Children (S-CHIP)
• FDA Regulation of Tobacco
• Omnibus Public Land Management Act
• Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights
• Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
• Defense Procurement Reform
• Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
• Stronger TARP Oversight
• FY 2009 Supplemental (meeting the troop needs to wind down the Iraq War, change strategy in Afghanistan and make retroactive stop loss payments to over 185,000 service members)
• Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act
• Defense Authorization (to provide 3.4% pay raise for troops and expand support for military families and create new strategies for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq)
If your source of news and information is primarily mainstream media, you probably haven’t heard much about these accomplishments, let alone Norman Ornstein’s assessment.
Larsen also clarified his position on what he wants in a health care bill (that he is optimistic is “percolating” through Congress and will be passed):
• Public option
• Medicare reform
• Public health care options (which is about half of the current bill)
I encourage all of my MoveOn folks to stay involved and stay tuned and check out the details of any of the legislation listed above. There are also many acts that have been passed by the House and are awaiting approval in the Senate.
So, when you hear the right (and many progressives for that matter) trashing this administration……pass on some of this information, and stay focused on continuing to make things happen.
MoveOn Whidbey Council Coordinator