This month, Democrats officially took back the House from Republicans after eight years in the minority. Powered by suburban angst over the president, Democrats come to office energized to oppose the president at every turn. In fact, Rep. Brad Sherman, D–Calif., introduced articles of impeachment against the president on the very first day of the new Congress. While this new development is significant given Democratic control of the House, Democrats have pledged to impeach President Trump since he was first elected.
Whatever you may think about President Trump, this is wrong. While the president has certainly been controversial, he was chosen by the American people to serve as our commander in chief. Attempting to remove the president before his term is up is poisonous to our politics. We send our politicians to Washington, D.C. so they can work for us, not to play politics. However, some Democrats have been gleefully anticipating President Trump’s impeachment since day one instead of working with him. Chief among them is newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D–Detroit, who said, “We’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—–.” By going on profanity-laden rants against our president, Rep. Tlaib and her cohort have damaged our democracy greatly by casting aside the results of the 2016 election in order to satisfy a vendetta against the president. Washington politicians on both sides need to put results over politics to move our country forward. If we come together and achieve bipartisan results, America will successfully face down the Herculean challenges before us.
An excellent place to start is re-opening the federal government. Thanks to disagreements over border security, the government shut down at midnight on Dec. 22. Despite the great harm a government shutdown has on the functioning of our government and our standing abroad, this shutdown has dragged into 2019 and the 116th Congress. This shutdown has already had adverse effects both nationally and here in Michigan. Nationally, 800,000 federal workers spread over nine federal departments are going without pay because of Washington’s inability to pass a spending bill. The results of this inability to govern are being felt here in Michigan. The National Park Service employees who operate Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Michigan are not working because of the shutdown. Despite the valiant work of volunteers, the public is suffering due to the absence of park service employees. Visitors of that park are getting stuck in unplowed parking lots and a program that brings students to Sleeping Bear to learn how to snowshoe has been unable to start up. That's a shame, especially considering how many Michiganders want to enjoy the treasures of our beautiful national parks during winter. Moreover, Native American tribes in Michigan that rely on federal funding for essential services are suffering as well. In fact, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is losing $100,000 a day from the federal government for essential services such as health clinics.
The nation that defeated fascism during World War II and sent astronauts to the moon should be able to pass a spending bill to keep our national parks open and maintain health clinics for Native American tribes. House Democrats ought to work with President Trump to fund border security and re-open the federal government. President Trump has asked Congress for more than $5 billion for border security while House Democrats are unwilling to make the investment in border security. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to compromise on this issue, stating, “We can go through the back and forth. No. How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall.”
While Pelosi uses rhetoric about the wall to fire up the Democratic base, the money Trump is asking for is sorely needed. Though we have made progress in securing the border, our porous Southern border puts our national security at risk. Drug cartels that control large swaths around our Southern border ship their poison into the United States, fueling the opioid crisis that takes 130 American lives every day. Given that 90 to 94 percent of heroin in the U.S. pours in from Mexico, American lives depend on our ability to secure our border. Beyond drug cartels shipping deadly drugs into the U.S., murderous gangs such as MS-13 also take advantage of our leniency on border security. Just last week, three undocumented immigrants connected to MS-13 stabbed a high school student outside of a fast-food restaurant in New York. This heinous attack illustrates that our porous border allows gang members and other threats to public safety to cross into our country unencumbered. By approving full funding for border security, House Democrats would help secure the border by hiring more Border Patrol agents, purchasing updated technology and building physical barriers where needed. Following our actions to secure the border, we can take action to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and reform our deeply flawed immigration system. In securing the border and reforming our immigration system, we will ensure our national security is protected and continue our tradition as a nation of immigrants.
After passing a spending bill that secures our border, we can keep the bipartisan momentum going on other key issues. While campaigning for president, President Trump rattled many Republicans with his calls for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, government action on outrageously high prescription drug prices, campaign finance reform and renegotiated trade deals. After winning the presidency on these unorthodox ideas for a Republican candidate, progress on these issues has largely stalled. Instead of calling for his impeachment, Democrats should work with President Trump on these bipartisan issues and deliver for the American people. By working together on our greatest issues, we can restore faith in our broken political system and ensure our nation’s best days remain ahead of us.
Dylan Berger can be reached at email@example.com