O’Halleran urges for bipartisanship

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran responds to a question during a roundtable discussion when he visited Pima. O’Halleran has called for politicians from both sides of the aisle to work together for the common good of the country.

Editorial by U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)

Over the past two decades, “bipartisanship” has been a dirty word in the halls of Congress. Politicians have moved to the extreme fringes of their respective parties while leaving the vast majority of the American people in the center growing increasingly frustrated by Washington’s inability to address the real concerns our nation faces. There is no political will for lawmakers to put partisanship aside and do what is right for our constituents.

For too long, extremists have hijacked the system and prevented real progress from being made. While the economy is continuing its decade-long growth, many Arizonans are not seeing their paycheck increase, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and the cost and availability of health care is making it difficult for middle-class Americans, especially in rural areas, to access it when they need it. We have to prioritize these critical issues and put partisanship aside. Thankfully, the tide is shifting and common-sense, bipartisan legislating is making a comeback.

When I came to Washington, I joined the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of more than 40 members of Congress who are willing to work together. As a group, we have introduced proposals to stabilize the health insurance marketplace to prevent skyrocketing premiums for families and reforms to our immigration system to encourage lawful immigration into our country. This is how Washington should function.

Most recently, I joined my colleagues to release the Break the Gridlock proposal, which reforms existing rules in the House of Representatives. This commonsense package of reforms will give the American people a greater voice in the process by allowing members from both parties to have their legislation heard and debated by the entire body. It also includes a proposal to fast-track bipartisan legislation. This framework will prevent the powerful few in either political party from limiting the voice of any legislator.

This is about getting things done for the American people. As one of the most independent members of Congress, I know, and the American people know, that neither political party has all the answers. Arizonans I speak with are tired of the drama playing out on the evening news. They want to see Congress tackle the solvency of Social Security and Medicare and invest in the future of our country.

I have called on leaders from both parties to take a real look at our proposals to fix Washington, and I have urged the importance of listening to our constituents. Rural America has long been forgotten, but that is going to change. I am proud to give our rural Arizona communities a voice at the table in Washington.

If you have questions or concerns about this issue or any issue impacting you and your loved ones, please do not hesitate to reach out. My offices in Casa Grande, Flagstaff, and Tucson are available to assist you, and my staff regularly hold mobile office hours in communities across our sprawling congressional district.