Diary of a Congresswoman

Mary-Charlotte Domandi:
The question of how bills are getting passed and how bills are being heard and how the debates are going really goes to some fundamental questions that are at the heart of democracy. And one of them is, for example, the American Rescue Plan is popular among something like three quarters of Americans, including the majority of Republicans and yet not a single Republican voted for it. And so we have this situation where our representatives aren’t exactly representing us because of the crazy polarization we have. I mean, we’ve talked about this before, but the fact that Congress–not you, but, and I don’t know if it’s just the other party–does seem to be kind of out of sync with what the people want.
Teresa Leger Fernandez:
I think the Democrats are very much in sync with what the people want because we have spent time asking the people what you want. I spent time meeting with the mayor of every town and city in my district and the county commissioners, whether they were Republican or Democrats. In New Mexico, our mayors are municipal elections, which are non-partisan. But we know whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. That didn’t matter what mattered was, what do you need? And so I spent time asking every mayor, every county commission, you know, we had somebody from the county commission of every one of the counties invited to tell me, what do you need? So we listened and we passed an American Rescue Plan that they all wanted. I didn’t get a single one saying, we don’t want this. They wanted it. And so we are listening. What has happened with the Republican representatives and senators is that they have chosen to try to turn this very needed rescue plan, this very needed legislation, into something that’s not–into a political opportunity so that they could get mad at us and say, well, you’re not opening schools when we’re doing the opposite, we are providing the money so schools can safely open, or if they open so we can support them. So they have chosen, for whatever reasons in their own caucus, to say, we are going to draw a line in the sand and not a single one of us is going to support this so that we can say, it’s not, bi-partisan. What I’m paying attention to is it’s bi-partisan in the country because the country, Republicans and Democrats, want it. And I think that should be our metric. Is, is it about serving all Americans, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican.
And then you have a situation where in the Senate, the $15 minimum wage, we don’t know yet what the fate of that is, but it seems to be going by the wayside. And that’s also wildly popular among the people.
I wouldn’t say right now that it’s been put on the wayside. I think what we have right now is that the Senate parliamentarian has stated that it cannot be included as is in reconciliation. Let’s not bury it yet. There is so much, there is so much support for it that we are looking for ways to get it passed. I want to take a moment. And right now, it’s been raining and gray for about three days here. And, you know, in New Mexico we know that three days of nonstop rain. It’s like, what does that look like? But right now the sun came out just a little bit before, which I think is a great sign. The sun came out as we’re getting ready to go and vote on the rules, pass the HR1, the For the People, and the Justice in Policing. And there is actually a beautiful sunset, not quite New Mexico, but really, really good with the flag flying over the Capitol and these clouds and there’s pinks and these reds. So even in DC, we have gorgeous sunsets, as long as you take the time to look up and see the beauty around you.
And may that be a metaphor for all the other things that you’re working on.