American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Kevin Kosar penned an op-ed in The Hill about why Congress must “revive” itself. He writes:

Something surprising happened on the floor of the House this week. Representative Don Young, a Republican from Alaska, was supposed to rise and swear in Nancy Pelosi to be leader of the chamber, and then sit down. Instead, the longest serving member of the House chose another course of action. The reader would be forgiven for fearing that Young, who has a reputation for unruly behavior, would create a heated partisan moment for the cameras. Such antics are all too common today.

Young did no such thing. Instead, he delivered a brief but earnest speechin defense of Congress as an institution. “Madame Speaker, you will be the Speaker of the House, not of the party,” he intoned. “The job of the House of Representatives is to govern this nation…. [It is] this House that raises the money, decides how it is spent, and represents the people.”

Young, to the laughter of many legislators, also suggested that when the legislature was at loggerheads, that members “sit down and have a drink, and solve those problems for the nation.” Young then swore in Pelosi. Many of the legislators who were in the chamber may be inclined to wave away his sentiments as feel good pap.

That would be a mistake. The gentleman from Alaska was reminding his colleagues of their constitutional duties. They were elected by voters to represent their constituents first and foremost, not their parties. Congress is the first branch of government; it, not the president, is supposed to make the policies to address public problems.

Read the full piece here.

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Topics: Reform Efforts