July 25, 2017 – Here we are again, getting much less out of our elected officials than we deserve. This time it is with our members of Congress, but similar thoughts run true to what I’d blogged about back in May related to our state Legislature. My earlier list of what we expect and need to demand for our vote for those who represent our best interests in Lansing or Washington, DC included: 1. An ability to share our thoughts and concerns; 2. A path to understand the actions of our elected officials; and 3. A voice in important decisions about priorities. In other words: hear us, share with us, and include us.
For the past several weeks, I’ve found myself needing to articulate a few more expectations that honestly, I didn’t think needed articulation. We expect and deserve representation that knows the impact of a piece of legislation before voting on it, and that will share that information publicly in time for some constituent response. In other words: know exactly what you are voting on, and talk to us about it before you act.
So many of the discussions around repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act, and those about some of the most significant cuts that the Medicaid program has seen since its inception, have demonstrated that neither knowledge of the legislation up for debate, nor communication about its details are required. The U.S. House of Representatives voted through a bill before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to fully analyze its impact, and today the U.S. Senate has voted to proceed with a bill process without knowing the final details that vote will represent.
Our members of Congress, like our state Legislators, are still scheduled to be home in their districts during most of the month of August. While they are here, we need to make sure that they better understand what we expect of them. We can demonstrate that we understand our responsibility too – that we are here to help. For those members of our delegation who have done what we expect, we need to make sure they know how much that matters to us. Find out who they are and how to contact them here.
It is our votes that compel the kind of understanding, communication and partnership that we expect from those who represent us, not any other legal mandate. As always, it is up to us to make sure that our representatives are aware of what it takes to win those votes and keep them.
– Michele Corey