Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, re-elected to a fifth term last week, has cemented herself as a leader in the Republican caucus that controls the U.S. House. She is in a position to make the concerns of her congressional district, which stretches from Walla Walla to the Canadian border, heard.
But, more importantly, McMorris Rodgers of Spokane has a major influence on the future of America.
And the one issue that’s on the minds of Americans from Main Street to Wall Street is whether Congress and the president can reach a compromise to avoid economic disaster. The focus is on whether to continue the Bush-era tax cuts about to expire and make changes to automatic spending cuts scheduled to kick in next year. If no deal can be reached between President Obama, the Democratic Senate and the Republican House, it is predicted the nation will tumble off a fiscal cliff back into a recession or worse.
Republican and Democratic leadership have been unbending in their approach.
The impasse starts with Republican demands that the Bush tax cuts be maintained for all income levels and continues with Democrats insisting the tax breaks be kept only for those making less than $250,000 a year. The differences don’t end there. Republicans want to see spending reduced faster than Democrats want.
McMorris Rodgers has held a firm, fiscally conservative line. She has railed against government bailouts and stimulus programs. She makes some strong points and her voice, as well as the voices of other conservatives, have been important to the debate. We agree America can’t keep spending more than it collects in taxes.
But McMorris Rodgers, as a leader in the majority party, cannot ensconce herself in conservative ideology. She must take a pragmatic, long-term view to find a way to break the gridlock that’s crippling Congress (and that could cripple the nation). So, too, must House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The same goes for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other liberals in the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama.
The U.S. economy has been steadily getting stronger after going off the rails about four years ago. Now is not the time for political ideologues to play a game of political chicken that could result in jobs being lost, retirement funds being gutted and lives being turned upside down.
Congressional leaders are essentially serving as a de facto economic bomb squad, charged with disarming a ticking device (created by them and their predecessors) before it brings us all down.
McMorris Rodgers has emerged as a significant member of Congress and we expect her to help bring reason to this important matter.
It is what she was re-elected to do.