I would like to personally thank Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME); Arlen Specter (R-PA); Susan Collins (R-ME); and Ben Nelson (D-NE) for their courage and commitment in putting country before party in helping to draft and/or vote for the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. You have done a great service for the American people and have set a worthy example for members of your respective parties.
I speak for myself as well as countless other Americans who would like our Senators and Representatives to know that we don't care at this point about whether our government is big, small; liberal or conservative. We don't care about power plays or lobbying in the hallways of Congress. We don't care about your orchestrated diversions or leaking a scandal that would highlight a political opponent's latest wrongdoing.
We don't care who you are having sex with, and we don't care how many Washington cocktail parties you maneuver around. Sometimes it seems like we do; and the media is convinced that we do because their ratings support that belief. But know this: When it gets right down to it, really we don't.
What we do care about is having a government that works. We want a Congress who is ready willing and able to put personal differences aside, and work together to effect positive change. We want to be assured that the officials whom we have elected, whom we have supported, and whom we now look to for leadership, in Washington and at home, are doing their jobs.
We feel like that's not too much to ask for.
We are realistic. We know that few of our representatives are career economists, and we don't expect everything in this economic recovery plan to come off without a hitch or two.
We are hopeful. We know that with the new Administration comes a new start for a better future; for us, for our children, and for the world.
You in Congress are who you are, but we also are who we are. We are Americans; we are strong and resilient. We are proud to be the citizens who make this country great. And by the way, we as a Nation have gotten through worse than this before; and we as a People will help each other get through this crisis now. Don't you even worry about it, because we will step up; and we will rise to the occasion. That's who we are, and that's what we do. We'll do our part, and by the same token you need to do yours.
We expect that whatever your party affiliation or philosophical beliefs may be; that you, our representatives, lay aside the political gamesmanship and sit down and work together for the positive good of our nation as a whole.
My call to you now, all members of Congress, is this: Let these four Senators be your example as you work with each other to lead your country into our future.
Senator Collins: "These are hard-working American people who need our help, who deserve a stimulus package that is targeted, effective, and bipartisan. This debate is not about Republicans or about Democrats. It's not about our new President winning or losing. It's about helping the American people and surely we ought to be able to come together to advance that goal."
Senator Specter: "My vote was cast recognizing the very substantial political peril that I face. I know that there are many on the Republican political spectrum who do not like the vote. I remember, obviously, the tough primary fight I had in the year 2004. But I felt in the final analysis, given the very severe consequences which might befall the country that my duty was to look out for the public interest and not my own personal political interest. That is why I voted as I did."
Senator Snowe: "Today, Washington sent a strong signal to the American people that this Congress is, indeed, committed to getting our economy back on the road to recovery," said. "Facing one of the worst economic downturns in our nation's history, inaction was not an option."
Senator Nelson: "The time is now to begin turning this recession toward recovery. Congress cannot wait another three or six months to see if economic conditions worsen, for by then it could be too late and we could be in a depression from which it could take years to overcome. Now is time to provide the tools the American people will use with creativity and drive to rebuild the economy and return us to prosperity. The $789 billion economic recovery plan before us providing job creation and tax cuts for millions of Americans has the best chance to do that, I believe."
Thank you from all of us, and thank you again personally from me: Senator Collins, Senator Specter, Senator Snowe, and Senator Nelson. Job well done.