U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week discussed the importance of working together with his colleagues from both the Senate and the House of Representatives and from both sides of the aisle to achieve real results for the American people.
Excerpt from Thune’s speech (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, as I said earlier, the Coast Guard reauthorization we just passed is a reminder that we can work together and get things done for the American people.
“And it’s a timely reminder given the election.
“Last week, the American people elected a Democrat majority to the House of Representatives and reelected a Republican majority to the Senate.
“If we’re going to get things done in the new Congress, we’re going to need to work together.
“Here in the Senate, we’ve spent the past two years working on an agenda to expand opportunities for working families and put more money in Americans’ pockets.
“We’ve also worked hard to ensure that those who keep our nation safe have all the tools and resources they need.
“We’re going to continue that agenda in the upcoming lame-duck session and in the new Congress.
“I really hope that Democrats will join us.
“We can work together to grow our economy, lift up working families, and protect our nation.
“But it is going to require Democrats to make a choice.
“Democrats have spent most of the past two years attempting to relitigate the 2016 election.
“Losing elections is a fact of life in a democracy, but Democrats just haven’t seemed to be able to let this one go.
“And over the past two years, they’ve focused most of their energy on knee-jerk opposition to anything Republicans or the president propose – even when they’ve agreed with us.
“They’ve routinely delayed confirmation of the president’s nominees – and not just the ones they didn’t like, but even ones they ended up supporting.
“They refused to work with Republicans on an overhaul of our nation’s burdensome, outdated tax code – even though Democrats had supported many of the measures that ended up in the final bill.
“Mr. President, obviously there are going to be times when the right thing to do as a member of Congress is to oppose.
“We have a responsibility to say no when we think a bill or a nominee would profoundly damage the country.
“But that’s not what Democrats have done.
“Too many of them have made opposition not a tool to be deployed when needed but their standard operating procedure.
“And too many Democrats have fostered a new and virulent partisanship, which treats their political opponents – and anyone who disagrees with them – as not just mistaken, but evil.
“And so I say again, Democrats have a choice.
“They can continue down the path of partisanship and opposition, fostering further division and incivility and poisoning our political discourse.
“Or they can decide to start afresh and work with Republicans.
“I hope they’ll choose the latter.
“I look forward to working with my Democrat colleagues in the new Congress.”