Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says the system in Washington is stuck.
Congress returned to Washington to begin its lame-duck session. It returned from the elections to the same issues it left behind.
Fortenberry, a Republican, says Congress might be able to get the system moving again by focusing on fiscal policies and tax reform with an emphasis on small businesses.
“There may be enough common ground there to get something done, but I can guarantee it will be messy. There might be enough concern nationwide that the current drift in these policies compels us all to search more aggressively for that common ground,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Fortenberry says President Obama will have to provide more leadership than he has in the past to get the country moving in a positive direction.
“Letting it drift is not an answer. This is not doing anyone any good in America,” according to Fortenberry. “So, hopefully there can be some common ground on stopping the overspending and the right kind of tax reform to get the economy moving.”
Though a few new faces will be evident in Washington next year, among them Nebraska United States Senator-elect Deb Fischer, the power structure remains unchanged. A Democrat presides in the White House. Democrats control the Senate. Republicans control the House.
Fortenberry says the president cannot change the make-up of the Congress; he will have to work with it as is.
“We’ve not had, really, reasonable and prudent leadership on budgetary matters in the last couple of years,” Fortenberry says. “You’re going to continue to have a House of Representatives that’s going to be punchy and tough in that regard. The Senate is going to have to deal with this.”
Congress is in session briefly before the Thanksgiving break next week. Then it returns to handle issues such as whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, head off deep budget cuts to defense and domestic programs along with other issues.