We the People: A sign of cooperation in Washington?

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the president moved toward some compromise over sequester spending cuts. Obama also hosted Republican senators to a dinner where the budget issues were discussed.

The House approved a measure to ease the immediate harsh effects of the $85 billion sequestration of federal spending. The resolution gives department executives flexibility on how reductions are put into effect.

There is no easy way to reduce spending by $85 billion, but any increase in discretion to the executives in charge will help. Hopefully, this glimmer of bipartisan collaboration will engender more political cooperation.

Congressional Republicans have been accused of playing politics with the American people and the economy in order to advocate for corporate and big money interests. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey which found 62 percent of the American people including 36 percent of Republicans questioned believe the GOP is out of touch with the American people.

Senate Republicans filibustered against Caitlin Halligan, the White House choice for a federal judgeship, and Mitch McConnell ordered his senators to end debate on the nomination. Why?

Halligan, although highly qualified, signed off on a lawsuit against gun manufacturers when she was the New York State solicitor general. Senate Republicans are competent at filibustering a vote on important appointments. It is too bad they don’t make this effort for healthcare or budget reform instead of gun manufacturers.

This power play by the NRA and gun manufacturers shows that McConnell and the GOP care more about four million members of the NRA than they do about 300 million Americans who benefit when well-qualified judges are on the bench.

The corrosive effect of GOP partisanship has not yet derailed the economy which is showing new signs of strength. The Dow Jones Industrial Average set a record high for a third day at the same time that jobless claims continue to decrease. Congress must cooperate with the president and enact sensible budget cuts and sensible fiscal plans.

Unfortunately, the GOP will oppose the president on everything he proposes to do for America for the next three years. The lonely voices of reason in the GOP like Senator John McCain are drowned out by the reactionary remnants of the Tea Party like Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz.

Meanwhile, the extreme fringe of the Republican Party, including Senator Rand Paul, create a legacy of polarization and internecine combat even though they realize it harms America. If America listens to the debate instead of the rhetoric, its citizens will identify the unreasonable and unprincipled politicians, Democrat and Republican, that stand in the way of a better future for America. The American people must vote them out of office.

On the local level, there are signs of economic growth like a new $80 million development in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Nets. However, middle-class New Yorkers need relief from rising residential property taxes and water bills. Voters will make a choice for a new mayor in November. We need able leadership to deal with these issues.

Our longtime City Councilmember Vincent Gentile kicked off his election campaign with a dinner at the clubhouse in the Dyker Beach Golf Course. Borough President Marty Markowitz praised Gentile for being the hardest working representative for the people of Brooklyn that he has known.

State Senator Marty Golden’s staff member John Quaglione will seek the Republican nomination to unseat Mr. Gentile. He is conducting his election campaign and continuing to work for Senator Golden.

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