The clearest winner is gridlock, as it is hard to see how progress can be made by Congress on important issues that await resolution. The Senate has not moved closer to a balance where a meaningful debate can occur and issues can be resolved. Rather, the Senate is polarized between opposing points of view with a willingness to compromise being seen as a sign of weakness.
The current circumstance is much more complex than simply Democrats versus Republicans. There are at least three parties in the Congress: the Democratic, Republican and Tea Parties.
On the Democratic side, the number of old-time liberals can be counted on your fingers. There are some Democrats who gravitate to the middle leaving themselves neither fish nor fowl in the eyes of their constituents. The “damn the torpedoes” Tea Partiers run the Congress. Old-time moderate Republicans defer to them for fear of a primary challenge from the right in the next election cycle. The goal of the Tea Party leaders is to stall the operation of government functions which they do not support.
My concern is that the same kind of election results we have seen at the federal level has permeated Virginia state elections as well. I am convinced that there are enough Democrats in the House of Delegates and enough moderate Republicans to pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia if it were not for the influence and threat of Tea Party primary challenges.
Rather than realizing the fate of two Republican committee chairs that were defeated in primaries last election cycle, moderate Republicans are playing it safe and going along with Tea Party priorities as absurd as some turn out to be. The consequence is that Virginia leaves $5 million in federal money on the table each day just so that some politicians can continue to be elected. It seems like a high price to pay!
The other major factor affecting federal and state election outcomes is the incredible amount of money poured into campaigns. Americans for Prosperity, funded in part by the Libertarian Koch brothers, are active in Virginia and were major players in refusing Medicaid expansion. They will keep the pressure on their Republican charges in next year’s Virginia General Assembly elections.
I recently attended a workshop featuring one of my greatest heroes — Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus fame. Sister Simone is one of the most effective spokespersons for the poor and those in need of medical services. She is harsh in her criticism of Congress for not raising the minimum wage and reforming immigration laws and of Virginia for not expanding Medicaid. She is insistent, however, that both sides must engage in a conversation in order to find common ground and reach compromises that are so important for the public.
As tough as it seems, I am going to take her advice and get myself in that frame of mind for the General Assembly session starting in January to help it be productive.
Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinions do not necessarily represent those of Reston Now.
Hillary Waters Fayle’s work focuses on leaves and humanity (courtesy Tephra ICA) A new exhibit featuring intricate embroidery on leaves is set to open soon at Tephra Institute of Contemporary…
Fairfax County Public Schools (file photo) Fairfax County Public Schools has to adjust its budget outlook for the next two years after a miscalculation led the state to overestimate how…
The Herndon location features infrared sauna workouts (photo courtesy Hotworx) Hotworx, a fitness studio that offers 24/7 infrared workouts, has opened in Woodland Crossing in the Herndon area. Located at…
Snow on bridge in Reston’s The Glade (photo by Marjorie Copson) Deadline for Feedback on School Calendars Extended — “Thank you to the approximately 23,000 families, staff, students, and community…
The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.
The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.