U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick, the lone Democrat in Idaho’s congressional delegation, told the Idaho Senate that it could “show the rest of the nation the way” by working together to solve the state’s problems.
Minnick, in his first-term as the representative from the 1st Congressional District, began his remarks by assailing the partisan spirit in Washington, D.C.
“The one in the East, whose decisions so often seem foreign, but whose money we rarely refuse,” he said. “… The determination to think things through and do what’s best for the people … is too often lacking in our nation’s capital.”
Minnick said “in today’s Congress, leadership is sharply partisan. Blaming the other side has become more important than solving the problems.”
Minnick said the parties must come together to solve the nation’s issues — such as an out-of-control budget deficit and runaway entitlements — before it is too late.
“The decisions required are so hard that they can’t be made unless both parties agree how to get this done before China stops buying our debt is the single biggest issue we face,” he told the Idaho Senate.
Minnick said his middle-of-the-road approach and cooperation with Rep. Mike Simpson has led him to have to “duck grenades from both the left and the right.” Minnick praised Simpson, a Republican, for his respected work in the Congress.
He urged more bipartisan spirit.
“Staring, yelling and posturing has gotten our country nowhere,” Minnick said.
Minnick encouraged state lawmakers to work on improving education in the state and making it more accessible to all citizens — from pre-K to higher education. He also encouraged the Legislature to create a bipartisan committee to offer ideas for closing next year’s budget gap by looking at spending and the state's sales tax structure.
“To the majority, I say to you the same thing I tell Democrats in Washington, reach across the aisle and bring your colleagues to the table,” Minnick said to the Republican-dominated Senate. “.,.. Democrats, become part of this process. Compromises have to be made. Be constructive in your public comments.”
“We share common values and can get things done,” Minnick said. “We run as Republicans and Democrats but we must govern as Idahoans.”
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch is expected to address the Senate shortly.