Op-Ed By: Cheri Bustos, David Cicilline and Hakeem Jeffries
July 24, 2017
Not a day goes by without another allegation or reckless tweet fueling the dysfunction of a deeply divided Republican Congress that fails to govern while hardworking families across the country are left behind. Mired in controversy, Washington Republicans are unable to uphold the basic bargain they made with the American people when they were elected: to fight to create new good-paying jobs and support sustained economic growth.
The simple truth is the economy isn't working the way it should; incomes and wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. Wage stagnation, underemployment, the exploding cost of a college education and the erosion of pensions are leaving many without hope. From rural towns to inner cities, millions can no longer achieve the American dream. Meanwhile, Washington special interests and powerful corporations have acquired more and more wealth.
The three of us represent very different districts in Rhode Island, New York and Illinois. Despite the clear regional differences, what we hear from our constituents is the same: They are tired of this rigged system. What they want most is a fighting chance at building a brighter future for themselves and their families. And what they need is a better deal.
On Monday, House and Senate Democrats will come together to unveil A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future, a bold economic agenda that works for all Americans to bring higher wages, lower costs and the tools Americans need to succeed.
Democrats will deliver real solutions, lasting economic growth and take significant action to improve the lives of the American people.
This agenda was created from the ground up across both the House and the Senate, and includes input from across the entire ideological spectrum. By listening to all voices, the agenda reflects the beautiful mosaic and diversity of our country -- as well as the hopes, dreams and aspirations of its people.
Through A Better Deal, we will create opportunities for those who need them most, not just those at the very top. We'll make government responsive to all hardworking Americans, not just a select few. And we'll make certain that if you work hard that you can support your family, that you can retire with the security and dignity that you've earned, and that your children can get the skills and knowledge they need to secure good-paying jobs in their hometowns.
For Democrats, this is our collective vision. This is not a slogan. It's who we are and what we intend to accomplish for the American people.
First, our plan starts by creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs by directly investing in our crumbling infrastructure -- and putting people back to work building our roads and bridges. To help our small businesses thrive, we will prioritize entrepreneurs over giving tax breaks to special interests. We will fight for a living wage -- so parents don't have to work three or four jobs just to pay rent. And we will keep our promise to millions of workers who earned a pension, Social Security and Medicare so they can retire with dignity.
Second, we will lower the crippling cost of prescription drugs and the cost of an education that leads to a good job with a college degree or a technical skill. And we will crack down on monopolies and the concentration of economic power that has led to higher prices for consumers, workers and small businesses -- and make sure Wall Street never endangers Main Street again.
Third, we will offer new tax incentives to employers to invest in their workforce through training and education. To make sure our country stays on the cutting edge, we will bring high-speed Internet to every community in America and offer an apprenticeship to millions of new workers. We will encourage innovation, invest in advanced research and ensure start-ups and small businesses can compete and prosper. By making it possible for every American to get the skills, tools and knowledge to find a job or to move up in their career, we'll not only improve individual lives, we'll also stay competitive in the global economy.
The choice we face is simple. We can continue down this path of a rigged system and allow Washington to turn a blind eye to painful economic realities that so many Americans are facing. Or we can stand on the side of the American people. We can invest in hardworking families and build an economy that puts Americans first -- defined by better jobs, better wages and a better future.
Reps. Cheri Bustos, David Cicilline and Hakeem Jeffries serve as co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee.