Arthur, how can Congress again become an effective advocate for the American people? Will this require a significant change in our current representatives?
Response by Arthur
- Reduce the influence of money in politics. Since both legislation and court rulings on controlling the amount of money in politics are in a stall, the best we can do is to look for candidates who voluntarily limit the amount of money that they raise and spend. This is a politically self-serving thing for me to say since I am doing it. But I think that if the American people want Congress to be a better advocate for them, they need to elect candidates who have low-budget campaigns. Fortunately the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) makes these records available for candidates, though not for PACs. There are now non-partisan non-profit groups that are working to minimize the role of money in politics, and if more people can take their advice and simply refuse to vote for highly-financed candidates, we will make progress.
- Linked to Item #1, the less time that members of Congress spend “dialing for dollars,” the more time they will have to meet with constituents who are not potential donors. That will better help them understand the issues of their district and the country.
- Since we have a bi-cameral legislature in Congress, it is difficult for legislation to pass. The Founding Fathers wanted it that way. But nowhere did they write that they wanted a filibuster in the Senate or votes in the House limited to the whims of the Speaker. If I am elected to Congress, I will do everything that I can to push for votes on any and all legislation. If what I support fails, so be it; I can live with that. If it doesn’t come to a vote, I think that democracy is being thwarted. Once the Democrats take control of the House, I will only vote for a candidate for Speaker who agrees to put all issues to a vote.
- Yes, all of this will require a significant change in our current representatives.