Congressman Brad Ashford says he has a lot of respect for his colleagues in Congress, but questions the priorities of the body.
Ashford, a Democrat, says Congress should not have gone on its annual August break while legislation to fund the military, defeat the Islamic State, and fight the Zika virus has yet to be passed.
Ashford says that isn’t how the Unicameral works.
“It’s not our way here to let major matters be unresolved and go home,” Ashford tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I mean that’s just something that I’m used to doing.”
Ashford says taking a prolonged break while major legislation is pending contributes to the perception Congress is not doing the work needed to move the country forward.
Ashford says he has learned a lot during his first term in Congress.
“I’m impressed by the abilities of my colleagues of all kinds from all different parts of the country, obviously, with lots of differing views,” Ashford says. “I think we can come together on tough issues, but not when we’re sitting at home.”
The top issue Congress should have tackled before the August break, according to Ashford, is military spending.
“The number one priority, right now, is funding our troops,” Ashford says. “We’re coming back from about five years of sequestration on military budgets, which put the force level down about as low as it has been since World War II certainly and, right now, we need to get that done.”
Ashford has called on House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and other Congressional leaders to cut the summer recess short and return to Washington. Congress recessed July 14th for seven weeks.
Ashford is running for re-election against Republican Don Bacon, former commander of Offutt Air Force Base, in one of the most closely watched Congressional races in the country.