The end of a (disastrous) era

December 21, 2018

Let’s face it: the House of Representatives has been a disaster for the last eight years. In the past two years alone, with Republicans in charge of Congress and White House, we’ve seen an alarming rise in hate crimes and ugly rhetoric, a ballooning deficit, and an unfair tax policy penalizing every day Americans. Even the minimal steps to we’ve taken to address the climate crisis have been under constant attack and Trump and his Republicans are spiraling us into our third government shutdown in one year.

As their eight-year grip in the House comes to an end, Republicans have left a trail of failure and missed opportunities, and making a broken tax system worse. The Republican tax bill added $2 trillion to the deficit and put Medicare, Medicaid, and the middle class at risk. Most benefits flow to the largest corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent—further widening the income gap.

As Paul Ryan ends his tenure as Speaker of the House, it gave us an opportunity to reflect on his legacy which:

  • Exploded the deficit with increased spending, especially for defense and nuclear weapons;
  • Made a hash of the tax code while increasing income inequality;
  • Pushed Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda and separated desperate families;
  • Continued the GOP assault the healthcare system;
  • Made no meaningful steps to prevent the epidemic of gun violence;
  • Rolled back Wall Street reform; and
  • Refused to stand up to Trump and his reckless administration.    

No wonder Ryan led his party to the largest defeat in 42 years. When history is written, the story of Republican congressional rule will be one of heartless policies, spineless complicity, and thoughtless decision-making.

There is a bright spot: their time in power is coming to an end. In 13 days, Democrats will take back control of the House, keep the liar-in-chief in check, and push for our vision of America—one that does not include a wall. I’m focused on rebuilding and renewing America’s crumbling infrastructure, advancing Medicare-for-all, and developing a Green New Deal to address the climate crisis. Perhaps most important, Congress will finally conduct much-needed oversight on Trump and his administration.

With Democrats in control of the House and dozens of exciting new members, in 13 days, we all can get to work.

Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress