Sunday, March 29, 2009

Betsy Markey Represents 4th District

You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV without seeing the difficulties facing our country. We feel it in our cities and towns, in our communities, and in our own homes. There is no doubt that today’s challenges require bold solutions.

But as with all things, we must strike a balance between implementing effective policies and government overreaching. It’s an equation we can’t afford to get wrong.

I am proud of my efforts to bring real change to our government. But just because a policy or piece of legislation is different or new does not mean it makes sense for the American people.

In Congress, my job is to represent not just certain people, but all the people in the 4th Congressional District. Some people tell me that I should fall in line and fully support my own party.

Some people tell me that I should stand against my party and block its agenda. Neither of these suggestions is in the best interests of the Fourth District, and neither is true to my values.

I look at every piece of legislation that comes through Congress and evaluate it on its merits.

During my campaign, I adamantly opposed the $700 billion bank bailout, and one of my first acts in Congress was a vote to block the release of those funds.

I was concerned by the program’s total lack of oversight and the eagerness of many in Congress to give banks billions of taxpayer dollars.

Since then I have pushed back on my own party when I thought it was necessary and stood up and voted against them when I felt they were headed in the wrong direction.

Soon after I took office, I joined a bipartisan group and co-sponsored a bill that blocked an automatic pay-raise for members of Congress. At a time when so many hardworking Americans are suffering, it is unconscionable that Congress would take a pay raise.

Government spending is at an all-time high and it is critical that Congress scrutinizes every dollar it spends and every dollar it saves. People across the country are tightening their belts, and we must expect our government to do the same.

There will be some difficult choices to make, but Congress has a responsibility to the American people to do what is good for the country, not just what sounds good in a five-second sound bite.

The word “accountability” gets thrown around a lot these days, so often that it is in danger of becoming just another meaningless buzzword. For our actions to succeed, we must truly embrace the meaning of accountability and make it a touchstone of our government’s identity.

Accountability must mean that Congress is at all times answerable to the people it serves and that true transparency exists in every corner of government.

It is of the utmost importance that we take a long look at every bill coming through Congress to ensure that accountability is built into every dollar spent. There is no doubt we must continue taking bold steps to get our country back on track.

But we cannot forget that our actions have long-term consequences, including important fiscal implications. I will continue to work hard to rebuild and restore our nation’s economic health, but I will always do so with an eye toward accountability and prudent government.

Congresswoman Betsy Markey of Fort Collins represents the 4th Congressional District, including Weld County, in the House of Representatives.

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