We must serve the American people

U.S. House of Representatives

The shameful government shutdown has ended and must never occur again. The lives of federal employees and their families are too important to have been turned upside down as they were during the 35 days when the government was held hostage by an administration that cared little about them, or about the importance of prudent governing.

While a conference committee works to restore order to our government process and bring an end to the senselessness that we witnessed, I stand with members of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and with other sober-minded legislators in Washington who understand that voters sent us to Washington to pass legislation and create policies that improve the lives of the American people, and to ensure the wellness of our democracy.

There are a number of legislative matters that are extremely important that must be addressed. Included among them is legislation that will enhance voting rights, abolish the practice of political gerrymandering, raise salaries for government employees who are not members of the military, set fair and secure immigration policies and create a society in which women receive equal pay in the American workforce.

As chairperson of the House Science Committee, I intend to work with my fellow legislators to create a political environment in which science is respected and adhered to.

It was a serious mistake for our nation to remove itself from the 2016 Paris Climate Accords, designed to help countries reduce drastic changes in the world’s climate. The decision to shun the agreement was imprudent and suggested to other nations that our country was not serious about combating climate dangers that threaten the safety of our planet.

Legislation to address voting rights is extremely important. As a country it is critical that every citizen be guaranteed the absolute right to vote, and without interference.

This is not the case in our democracy at the moment, with numerous states utilizing voter identification laws and other restrictive policies, with the result being a lowering of the turnout in minority communities. Millions of our citizens are denied the right to vote.

Congress must restore teeth to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was gutted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision nearly six years ago, removing a critical provision from the act. Since that time, numerous states have enacted laws that act as barriers to fair and free voting.

Members of the legislative branch and those in the executive branch must understand that at the very heart of government is the concept of service.

Voters did not elect us to be their rulers. They elected us to serve them.

Once that is understood by those in power, there will be no such thing as a government shutdown. That is not what those who are sworn to serve do!

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.


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