Los Feliz Ledger Op-Ed: In Search of Bipartisanship in the New Congress

The American voters sent a message in the most recent midterm elections–that they are fed up with the conduct of the government and its endless, destructive bickering, and want the Congress to find a way to work together and get things done.

This is not too much to ask–in fact, it should be a bare minimum.  Here are a few areas where we can get started:

First, let’s fix what’s broken. America should begin repairing, replacing and modernizing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Flying into LAX from any number of world class airports around the globe is an embarrassment. And it doesn’t get much better when you leave the terminal — from Westchester to Los Feliz, LA to New York and just about everywhere in between, our roads, bridges, airports and busways are in a bad state of disrepair.

When we first began building our nation’s highway system in the 1950s, we set up the Highway Trust Fund, which was financed through the gas tax.  However, the fund is now on the verge of insolvency because of a benchmark that has not been raised to cover the cost of inflation since 1995. We need to come together to figure out how to fund these essential repairs to over 70,000 roads, bridges and highways.

Second, both parties agree on the need to bring manufacturing back to America. We should put our heads together on how to incentivize the on-shoring of these jobs, and how to give employers the right tools to build and win in America. Congress should seize the opportunity to give employers both the speed and certainty they need to site new plants at home.

Third, we can reduce expenditures on prison costs by reforming our criminal justice system to make it smarter, less expensive, and more humane by investing in evidence-based reforms that reduce crime and focus our resources on violent and dangerous offenders. A “Smart on Crime” agenda has found support among progressives and conservatives alike, and some of the most conservative states like Texas have led the way in adopting reforms to shrink their prison population while continuing to improve public safety. With support on both sides of the aisle, Congress can follow their lead in passing long overdue reforms.

Finally, we must provide economic certainty by avoiding another government shutdown or fiscal cliff scenario.  But businesses–both large and small–families, and local governments don’t care about the political parlor games played by both Democrats and Republicans. What people want to know is that Congress is going to act responsibly — a surprisingly tall order as of late–and not put their life savings, their jobs and economic activity at risk.

While these issues might seem like low-hanging fruit, this Congress–which is setting records for being the most unproductive in history–needs to look for areas we can make progress.

By:  Adam Schiff
Source: Los Feliz Ledger