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Wittman's Weekly: Pelosi: Walls for Me; Not for Thee
Washington, March 5, 2021
At the center of Washington, D.C., stands the Capitol Building. If you have ever seen it, you understand just how powerful a sight it is. It is not just a beautiful building; our founders placed it at the center of our capital city to reflect the people's place in government. As Washington centers around the Capitol building, so too should our government center around the people.
435 Representatives and 100 Senators go to work in this building, each elected to enact the will of those they represent to decide our Nation's future. Accordingly, it is only right that you should have access to them. In fact, it is not just right, but it is a right.
The First Amendment protects your right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. In other words, you have the right to demand your government exercise its power in furtherance of your interests and prosperity. Or even more simply, you have a right to demand your government serve you, and not the other way around.
But since January 6th, Congress has placed a fence around the Capitol, blocking the people from accessing the People’s House. I understood the immediate security concerns but am deeply troubled by my Democratic colleagues' calls to keep that wall in place until September. It seems to be an arbitrary date to keep tensions high.
These calls are not just troubling but downright hypocritical. For years, we watched these same lawmakers reject a similar wall along our southern border: a wall to stop not only illegal immigration but drugs, human trafficking, and organized crime. They told us that the wall would never work and yet rely upon a very similar wall today for their own protection.
Why should your elected representatives be given special treatment? Despite its color, the Capitol is not an ivory tower. With so many Americans frustrated by and distrustful of government, this wall sends the wrong message at the wrong time.
Instead, we should be focused on connecting with you and restoring that trust. Staying connected is why I commute to D.C. from my home in Montross every day, instead of living part-time in D.C as my colleagues do. On the way, I always make sure to stop and speak with folks and hear what they think. Speaking with you, whether it is while I am in town, by email, or as part of a tele-town hall, keeps me grounded and accountable. A fence only gets in the way of that.
There are enough barriers between the people and government already. We do not need another one, and I will continue pushing back against this fence as I work to restore your access to government. In the meantime, I will continue holding the government accountable however I can.
PS -- I recently re-introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act, the Inaction has Consequences and Stay on Schedule Acts. The No Budget No Pay Act prohibits Members of the House or Senate from receiving pay if their respective chamber does not pass a budget by April 15th, 20201. The Inaction Has Consequences Act states that if Members do not complete appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year, their pay will be withheld. The Stay on Schedule (S.O.S.) Act would eliminate Congress' month-long break in August unless we have passed all 12 appropriations bills by the end of July. All three of these bills play an important role in not only holding Congress accountable but ensuring we finish the job you sent us here to do.