Four hundred years ago this month, a group of just over 100 people arrived off the shores of Cape Cod after a two-month sail from England. They were dissenters from the Church of England like the Puritans but went further by formally separating from the established church they considered to be corrupt beyond repair.
Congress returns to Washington this week after a six-week hiatus for the election. Since the end of July, we have only met for a few weeks, and the work we need to complete has piled up. This Congress ends at noon on Sunday, January 3 when the new Congress will be sworn in and start all over again as any bills pending from the old Congress die.
Election Day has come and gone. Despite the fact that multiple national news sites have “called” the presidential election, court cases and recounts are going forward in several states where the margin is less than 1%, and we don’t yet “know” who was elected president.
Since COVID-19 started to bare down on the U.S. in March we have been told that the ultimate solution would be an effective vaccine providing immunity to the vast majority who receive it. But, in almost the same breath we were told anti-viral vaccines take years to be developed and tested to show their safety and effectiveness.
The United States is such a big and diverse country with transparent sources of information and data that we are the world’s lab for various policy practices. Take the response to COVID-19. Some states closed down early and hard and stayed that way for a long time. Others were more judicious about their closure, closing later and with less severity, and came out more quickly.
Congress was sent home by Speaker Pelosi last Friday without securing a deal with the White House or the Senate on the next COVID bill. While we were told we might get a 24-hours’ notice to return, our calendar doesn’t show us coming back to Washington until November 16.
On August 18, the U.S. will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to our Constitution which guaranteed women’s right to vote. The women’s suffrage movement in our country began in the 1840s as women abolitionists saw the parallels between the effort to free enslaved Americans and their own desire to vote.
Last week was pretty frustrating in Washington. While the House frittered away at useless Democrat messaging bills which have no chance of passage in the Senate, Speaker Pelosi refused negotiations with the Senate on a $1 trillion dollar bill to address the nation’s ongoing needs as a result of COVID-19.
Last week I had a virtual conference with the leaders of the local school systems in our district. Starting a new school year is a difficult task in the best of times. Doing so in the middle of a pandemic with the disease spreading as it is now makes this normally difficult job truly daunting.
The day I was sworn into Congress, a man I had never met before but had heard a lot about and admired approached me to introduce himself and welcome me to the House. His name was John Lewis. He told me he was born and raised in Troy, Alabama, and though he lived and represented a district in Georgia, he still felt a strong connection to our state. He offered to help me if he could.