It sometimes feels like a political eternity has gone by since President Obama was sworn-in with a Democratic Congress last January. After sweeping into office with the most electoral votes since L.B.J in 1964, our country was poised to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. A little over a year later, we have made a lot of progress and realized important achievements on issues long neglected by the Republicans.
In fact, the 111th Congress is on pace to pass more legislation than any Congress since the Great Society. We provided the biggest middle-class tax cut in history. We saved and created millions of jobs with the American Investment and Recovery Act. We signed the Worker, Homeownership & Business Assistance Act into law, and we ensured fair pay for women in the workplace with the Lilly Ledbetter Act. We passed a green jobs bill that will cut carbon emissions. We also protected consumers with the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. And just last week we voted to repeal the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.
But there is much more to do. This Congress and this President are on path to do more. True to their pattern of siding with special interests, the Republican obstructionists are fighting hard to turn back the clock to the policies that caused so much harm to begin with. We need to fight back.
The losses over the last year – Senator Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, as well as the gubernatorial races in Virginia and right here in New Jersey–show that there are political obstacles. We can clearly see that those who stand opposed to reforming health care, protecting the environment and creating good jobs for American workers are well-funded and highly motivated. We can learn from those political setbacks and use them to motivate more people to join us in the fight for more progress.
Two years ago, special interest groups poured $1 billion into American elections – mostly trying to discredit Barack Obama and Democratic candidates. This year their influence could even be more pernicious. I’m sure you’re aware the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling removing all limits on corporate money. This will open the floodgates and give corporations unchecked influence over our political process. Big business – even those owned by foreign entities - can now crack open their treasure chests to buy as much television time and as many direct mail pieces as they want to help out their handpicked candidates. Washington Republicans and right-wing challengers will most assuredly reap the benefits – since they’ve been staunch advocate for tax giveaways to the wealthy and the companies they represent. America is already struggling with the worst recession since the Great Depression, caused in large part by the reckless behavior of big business. The last thing our nation needs is for these same companies to be able to buy elections and undermine our political process.
My father was a cop. He taught me to never back down from a fight. And I certainly won’t start now. Republicans, big business and the tea party movement are all motivated to try and take back the House and Senate. Everyday in Congress, in my district and throughout New Jersey I am fighting to protect the most vulnerable among us – our children, the elderly, our working families and those living paycheck to paycheck. We can’t let corporations and those with deep-pockets drown out voice of the middle-class. In 2010, progressives will be needed more than in any election since I first joined Congress.
Please help us fight back. If you can donate $100, $50, or even $15 to help us fight off right-wing attacks - we can show our opponents we will never back down and that our movement is a real grassroots success-not an astroturf movement funded by big business.
History shows how President Clinton received a wake-up call after the 1994 elections. And I remember that vividly. This year, we are luckier in that we received our splash of cold water in the form of Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey losses a year before the mid-terms. This is no time for complacency. My commitment to my constituents, to progressives and to the residents of New Jersey’s 6th District has never wavered. I’m going to fight hard each and everyday. I hope you’ll stand with me by volunteering or making a small contribution to my campaign. Now more than ever, we must stand together to fulfill the mandate handed to us by the American people – for a government that puts people before profit, and stands for progress not decline.