Fecteau: A Rare Moment of Bipartisanship

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Matt Fecteau, GoLocalProv Guest MINDSETTERâ„¢

Donald Trump
President Donald J. Trump signed a bill Friday extending the debt ceiling for three months, keeping the government running and providing just over $15 billion in aid to parts of our country adversely impacted by the recent hurricanes. This is a rare moment of bipartisanship in an otherwise toxic, partisan political environment.

This deal came as a shock to some conservative Republicans. During the heated discussions with Democrats over this bill, specific Republicans preferred to attach wording within the legislation that included draconian fiscal cuts. Mr. Trump and his administration pushed back against the idea siding with the Democrats; signing a law free from fiscal restraints.

This should come as no surprise. Trump distanced himself from Republican Congressional leadership in the past and even went so far as to condemn them. While nominal a Republican, Mr. Trump is much more of a populist president than anything resembling a Republican. Mr. Trump’s platform was never truly conservative; it was anti-elitist that appealed to the more nationalist tendencies in our country.

Regrettably, for Democrats, working with Mr. Trump is wrought with peril; a number of Mr. Trump’s policies are toxic to the Democrats’ agenda, and a serious political liability. Regardless, in this instance, politics was sidelined, and those impacted by the devastating hurricanes will have some reprieve in this instance.

Republicans now understand they aren’t dealing with a typical Republican president (populism before the party), and Democrats now realize that, on occasion, they can deal with the Trump White House to solve some problems. While Democrats may dislike Mr. Trump and his views (I fall into this camp), he is our president, and someone the nation turns to in a time of crisis – such as now.

At the federal level, bipartisanship is a rarity, and at times like this, I am happy we can come together as a country to support those impacted by these terrible hurricanes. Fleeting, exceptional moments like this make me proud to be an American. We can fight about politics some other time, but let’s care for our neighbors for the time being. We need to love members of our country and community more than we loathe Mr. Trump – even if it is a lot.

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is an M.P.A. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau

  • Gina Raimondo 

    RI Governor 

    "Rhode Island is making strong progress to provide our people with the education and job training they need to be successful and to expand access to affordable, quality health care to virtually everyone in our state. 

    President Trump's budget betrays Rhode Islanders by giving huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans while drastically reducing federal funding for vital programs that create jobs, raise wages, and protect low-income Americans. 

    Even as we analyze President Trump's budget in the coming days to determine its specific impacts on Rhode Island, I appreciate the members of Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation for their leadership and advocacy, and I join them in calling on their colleagues in Washington, D.C. to stop the Trump administration from making massive cuts to health care, public schools, affordable housing, and other programs that Rhode Islanders rely upon."

     
  • Jim Langevin 

    U.S. Congressman

    “In March, President Trump released a budget outline that I strongly condemned for its drastic cuts to programs that help everyday Americans. Unfortunately, the President’s full budget proposal continues these harmful policies by gutting programs that invest in our economy, create jobs and provide crucial assistance to families across the country. 

    This proposal slashes funding for education, food assistance and health care for low-income seniors, children and people with disabilities. It makes cuts to worker training, environmental protection, and investments in medical research and advanced manufacturing. These are not mere luxuries, but programs that make meaningful differences in the lives of Rhode Islanders. 

    Congress must reject this cynical and misguided budget. Instead, we should work together in a bipartisan manner, as we did on the recently passed 2017 funding bill, to find a balanced approach to funding priorities that will support families, promote economic growth and provide for our national security.”  

     
  • David Cicilline

    U.S. Congressman

    “If a budget is a statement of your priorities and values, then Donald Trump’s budget shows he doesn’t understand the challenges facing honest, hardworking Rhode Islanders. This is a budget written by the wealthiest Americans for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But it’s a setback for the middle class. It makes life harder for anyone who’s trying to punch a ticket to the middle class.”

    Donald Trump has already proposed a huge tax cut for billionaires. But the budget he released today says everyone else is on their own. This budget eliminates hundreds of millions of dollars for job creation. It zeroes out funding for workforce training and good-paying manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island. And it makes it even harder for young people to succeed by cutting teacher training, eliminating afterschool funding, and making it harder to pay off student loans.”

    This budget does nothing to address Rhode Island’s crumbling infrastructure. It eliminates the TIGER grant program, which is critical to supporting local infrastructure projects like the new commuter rail station in Pawtucket. And it cuts funding for public transit by $928 million.”

    And most worrisome of all, this budget makes our towns and cities less safe. It actually cuts funding for firefighters. It cuts billions from the EPA and other resources to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. And it slashes $978 million from the Army Corps of Engineers – meaning Rhode Island will be less prepared for hurricanes and have fewer resources to protect the quality of our waterways.”

    Plain and simple, this is not a budget that any Member of Congress should be comfortable supporting. Along with my colleagues in the House Democratic Leadership, I will do everything I can to reverse these devastating cuts and shape a budget that invests in the future of our country and puts honest, hardworking families first.”

     
  • Sheldon Whitehouse 

    U.S. Senator

    “This budget is reckless, plain and simple. The President proposes massive cuts to Medicaid, breaking yet another campaign promise. He seeks to decimate the federal government’s central command in the battle against the opioid crisis affecting communities from Burrillville to Westerly. He pursues tens of billions of dollars in cuts to student loans and loan forgiveness programs.

    His plan would slash funding for research into life-saving cures; lay waste to endowments that support Rhode Island’s world-class cultural institutions; hamstring the EPA so big polluters can poison our air and water; and weaken NOAA, sapping critical resources for coastal economies like Rhode Island’s. The list goes on.

    These senseless, irresponsible choices serve one purpose: to pave the way for tax cuts for the very wealthiest.  The good news is that this extremist proposal will go nowhere in the Senate. I look forward to moving past this political stunt of a budget and working on one the American people will support.”

     
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