In school, we are all taught how our government works. Congressional hearings are held to consider a bill’s effects. Experts are brought in and testimony is given so that all sides are heard from, and then the bill’s merits are debated. The more important the bill, the longer this deliberation can take, and this system, though slow, brings out strong, thoughtful legislation.

 Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way anymore. This year with health care and now with tax reform, Congress has skipped all that thoughtful deliberation. Instead, the GOP is vainly attempting to hammer square pegs through round holes. The squarer the peg, the bigger the hammer they swing.

Is this good government? How can it be? How will this single-sided, thoughtless process ever lead to good legislation? How will the lack of good legislation lead to a stronger nation? Our very own Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer have voted repeatedly for bills that were so rushed with so many last-minute changes that no one understands the effects they have.

Health care reform would have affected 20 percent of our economy and millions of people, yet Congress didn’t hold a single hearing. Not one! Now we’re into the largest tax reform since President Ronald Reagan, and the same scenario is playing out. No hearings, no debate and little thought. In 1986, it took 16 months to pass a thoughtful, bipartisan tax reform bill, yet now the GOP wants to force tax reform through in a couple of weeks. Are they kidding?

The average working person is disregarded, while the wealthy and the corporations have an open door to Congress. 

This is a terrible way to govern. This is putting corporations over working people, the wealthy over the middle class and special interests over democracy. In strong democracy, winning a battle should never take precedence over governing.

Waylon Hedegaard, Bismarck

Waylon Hedegaard is president/secretary treasurer of the North Dakota AFL-CIO.

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