WASHINGTON (WCMH/NEXSTAR) — Congress is newly divided with Republicans in control of the Senate and Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, but lawmakers from the Midwest said they’re determined to work together and get things accomplished this session.
“It’s time to get down to business,” Pre. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) said. “This [Washington] has been a dysfunctional place.”
Bustos is one of the few Midwestern lawmakers on the Democratic leadership team. She said she wants to crack down on sexual harassment and conflicts of interest in Congress. She said she also hopes to make public hearings a requirement for any major bills “so the American people can hear the ins and outs of complicated legislation that impacts their lives.”
Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) said lawmakers from both parties should agree on infrastructure and rising student loan debt.
“I’ve got a great bipartisan bill that’s going to allow for private companies to pay down student loan debt like they do for tuition reimbursement,” he said.
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) said he expects all Midwestern lawmakers to protect the Great Lakes.
“Democrats and Republicans have stood together strongly to address those concerns,” Walberg said. “I think I can do it this time. I’ve served in the minority.”
He said that being in the minority in the House could make passing legislation more complicated, but not impossible.
“I’ll push back when necessary,” Walberg said. “When we can win doing that, we’ll be delighted. When we lose, that’s part of the process.”
While critics may be skeptical that gridlock in Washington will ever come to an end, Davis said he remains optimistic.
“Isn’t that what the American people want out of their government? They want us to work together. They don’t want us to fight all the time,” he said.