As we begin the new year and a new Congress, I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation that invests in rural communities and holds elected leaders accountable to the American people. For too long, partisanship and political games have been the norm in Congress, and I want to see that end. This isn’t about political party; it is about doing what is right for our constituents.
Unfortunately, we are kicking off the new year with an ongoing government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans—many living in Arizona—without a paycheck. Ending this shutdown must be a priority. We must find a way to pass a bipartisan budget that fully funds the government and ends the cycle of continuing resolutions that gets us from one deadline to the next. These short-term funding bills are fiscally irresponsible and do nothing to address our growing federal debt.
The first bill I introduced in the new Congress is legislation that requires the government to prepare a daily report on the cost of any future government shutdown and the impact it has on our national economy. The American people deserve to know how reckless, partisan gridlock affects our country.
For federal employees living in Arizona who are furloughed or have questions regarding the shutdown, my staff is working around the clock to ensure they have the answers and information they need. Caseworkers are in communities across the district, and they continue to provide services to any constituent who is having issues with federal programs or agencies. If you have questions or potential casework, I encourage you to reach out to one of my three offices, or visit my website to find a mobile office location in a community near you.
My priorities in this new Congress remain the same. I want to see greater transparency in Washington at every level of government, end the outsized influence mega-donors have on our institutions through dark money campaign contributions, and find meaningful, bipartisan solutions to the challenges our communities are facing every day. Neither political party has all the answers, so it is my hope that this Congress will be one of consensus-building that benefits the American people.
As I did over the last two years, I will be holding regular town halls and public meetings in communities across the First Congressional District. There are a number of ways you can stay updated on these meetings, including following me on Facebook and Twitter and subscribing to my email newsletter. You can find all of those links on my website ohalleran.house.gov.
Tom O’Halleran is a Democrat who represents Arizona’s Congressional District 1.