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Voters Have A Right To Hold Congress Accountable For Making Their Lives Better

The Democrats either do something to make people's lives better, or they should get ready for minority status in January of 2023. I hope Pelosi and Schumer were listening to Bernie talking to Dana Bash on CNN Sunday: "Tens of millions of people are hurting. People are watching this program and do not have food in their cupboards to feed their kids. They are sick. They cannot afford to go to the doctor. They cannot afford the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs. They're worried about climate change and what that would mean for their kids' and future generations. That is where we are right now. And the American people say 'We elected you guys. Do something. Improve our lives. We are in pain. We are hurting.' That's in red states, Republican states. It is in Democratic states. It is in rural America, It is urban America. It is Black, white, Latino, Native America, Asian American. This is a country that is in pain right now. And if Democrats, who have slim majorities in the House and the Senate; we got president Biden in the White House. If we do not respond now, I believe two years from now the Republicans will say, 'Hey, you elected these guys; they did nothing. Vote for us.' And they will win.

I'm hoping that former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy decides to run for the Ohio Senate seat Rob Portman announced he was leaving empty. I asked her what she thinks the Democrats should do with their sudden majority status in the House and Senate. She told me that "One of the first things that Democrats should do is raise the minimum wage. Minimum wage workers have not had a raise since 2009 when it reached $7.25 an hour. Second, Democrats should move to quickly lower the Medicare age to 60 as promised by President Biden. Older Americans who lose their jobs, particularly now during the economic and pandemic crisis, have few opportunities to find another job, and will also lose their health care insurance. Making Medicare and Medicaid more widely available should be a matter of conscience. Federal support for the Medicaid expansion should continue. Third, the prohibition on Medicare Part D negotiations with drug companies is absurd and costly and should be repealed to reduce the high cost of prescription medicine. Drug companies should be prohibited from paying generic drug manufacturers to refrain from or delay making generic versions of name brand drugs as they come off of patent protection."

That's exactly the kinds of things Democrats should be doing right this instant. Mary Jo continued that her state's "economy is hurting in the retail, service and manufacturing sectors. PPP is a stopgap. We need to invest long term in infrastructure, including rail, technology, solar and wind, and provide access to capital to people who want to start or expand their business. Young people need work too, and everyone under the age of 25 who wants a job should have one, and that means the government needs to step up as an employer and employ them, perhaps as a Green Corps to weatherize homes, plant trees, repair coral reefs, turn empty lots into mini-parks or orchards, and more. Money should be provided to every school district to organize a massive tree planting on school grounds, with the help of high school students. Ohio has an incredible asset in Lake Erie, and all of our Great Lakes are under stress from climate change and need protection. Congress should renew or reinstate tax credit programs for electric vehicles. At the same time, it should provide support for fare-free and expanded public transit, in order to get more people on the bus and off the road, to lower emissions, decrease fossil fuel consumption, and provide a major benefit to low wage workers and those in poverty. Finally, we need to get covid under control. Vaccines must be made more widely available, and equitably distributed."

As Max Boot wrote in his Washington Post column yesterday, "When the impeachment proceedings begin in the Senate, it will not be just Donald Trump in the dock. The entire Republican Party will be on trial. And there is every reason to believe that the GOP will fail this test-- as it failed every other during the past four years. Trump’s guilt is clear — and getting clearer all the time. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the Trump campaign paid more than $2.7 million to the individuals and firms responsible for organizing the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse where Trump told his supporters to 'to fight much harder' against 'bad people.' At least five individuals who face federal charges in connection with the Capitol assault have said that they were following orders from the then-president... And yet the momentum to impeach Trump among Republicans is waning as rapidly as the evidence of his guilt is accumulating... Republicans who want to offer Trump immunity are making themselves complicit in future sedition."

If the Democrats hope to run on that, though, they are going to fail. It's very important but if the party can't chew gum (draw a contrast between themselves and the Republicans on sedition) and walk (pass legislation that directly improves the lives of the American people), their base will start home and swing voters will swing back towards Republicans.

Although Biden won 81,268,757 votes (51.3%) to Trump's 74,216,722 (46.9%), 77,545,341 votes (50.8%) were cast for Democratic House candidates, down 2.6% from 2018. 72,877,981 voters (47.7%) went for GOP candidates, an increase of 2.9%. Doing something substantive that people will feel before the election is imperative for congressional Democrats.

And the situation in November was even worse in the Senate. Republicans took 44,106,711 (50.8%) nationally and Democrats just 41,958,212 (48.3%), down 10% from 2018! Georgia was a complete anomaly and if they expect to win swing Senate seats like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, maybe Ohio and Florida, they're going to have to deliver-- and better than a $1,400 check after promising $2,000. And as happy as I am about Harriet Tubman getting onto the $20 bill and the U.S. rejoining the Paris climate treaty-- both are big deals and definitely meaningful-- that's not the same as helping people put food on the table, lowering the cost of medicine and dissolving student debt.

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