Every year members of Congress have a late summer reprieve from the stress of being on the Hill – it’s called the district work period. This is the time of the year where members can go home, attend a few barbecues, have a couple of fundraisers and have most of their yearly photo ops in the district. This year’s district work period has turned into the battle for health care with protesters engaging members of Congress at public events.
Before I lay out my argument of why this pressure is not a bad idea, I have to say that the whole idea of death threats over a Congressional vote is ludicrous. Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC), according to TPM, has received death threats and he will not hold any town meetings. The United States is 37th overall in providing health care to its citizens and 50th in life expectancy. Members of “The People’s House” have voted for pet projects that have spent this country into massive debt for decades. It is those programs and pork projects that should rate a firing squad… not a vote that would seem to most level-headed people as an issue that a national legislative body should decide upon.
I worked in a district office of two members of Congress, and I have to tell you, these guys are scared to death of running into protesters at home. As I mentioned above, the death threat level is way over the top but I do think that members of Congress should feel some heat at home this month. Sometimes they are too distant from their constituents in the district. A respectful nudge may just be the tonic to ensure that the upcoming vote on health care is a measured compromised bill that fulfills the vision of providing coverage for every American.
There is a need for light and heat in purposeful debate. We have seen some light from President Obama over the past year. In school, recess is a good time to feel the warmth of the sun and I think it is a good idea to put a little fire under the feet of members of Congress during this Congressional break… so that the health care we deserve is the health care bill they pass into law.
Faculty, Department of Political Science, Towson University. Graduate from Liberty University Seminary.