Reps. Shimkus and DeGette
February 26, 1997
in this forum:
Should Congress deregulate the local power company? Can we enforce our current campaign laws? What are they hearing in their districts? Are debate and bipartisanship mutually exclusive? How bad is the DNC fundraising scandal? Will the balanced budget amendment work? Viewer Comments...
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A question from Terry Griffin of Hillsboro, OR:
Under the banner of bi-partisan cooperation meaningful debate has come to a stop in Washington. It appears the voters desire for more civilized debate has be misread as a desire for no debate. Do you think your colleagues and the White House recognize this distinction? When the current timidity wears off will we get rigorous (yet civilized) debate, or will ugly confrontations and grid-lock return?
Rep. Diana DeGette responds:
My first-term colleagues in the Class of 1997 are remarkably eager to work in a bi-partisan way to tackle a wide range of national challenges. While attending a number of bipartisan orientations at the start of this Congress, I have noticed a spirit of cooperations emerging from both sides of the aisle. More and more, the membership of the House of Representatives consists of men and women, both Republicans and Democrats, who realize that Americans do not want gridlock. While some political pundits suggest that divided government (i.e. Democratic Executive Branch vs. Republican majority Legislative Branch) provides a useful "checks and balances" arrangement on public policy goals, Americans surely want solutions to our national problems.
The start of the first session of the 105th Congress was delayed due to Speaker Gingrich's ethical difficulties and questions about how the Republican majority will proceed with a legislative agenda. I am eager for meaningful debates about substantial legislation to begin as soon as possible.
Rep. John Shimkus responds:
I cannot speak for the White House, but I do believe that Congress recognizes the importance of rigorous debate on issues which are important to the constituents of my 20th District in Illinois and the Nation as a whole. I think we have seen that in the 105th Congress, partisan debate on the Term Limits Amendment and more recently the Balanced Budget Amendment has certainly been civilized, yet very meaningful.