By Meg Olson
In her regular visit to Point Roberts, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene spoke of her frustration with a hamstrung legislative branch and an erratic executive in Washington, D.C.
Housekeeping matters such as raising the debt ceiling to pay the bills and passing a budget remained unresolved with only 12 days left in the legislative session, DelBene told a crowd of over 50 people at an August 12 town hall meeting sponsored by the local taxpayers association.
“We need to be making sure we keep things running,” she said. “That’s not to mention important things we need to do to protect the fundamental foundation of our democracy – things like fixing a broken immigration system and ensuring voter rights.”
The inability to create bipartisan legislation is handicapping congress, DelBene said. “Republicans don’t even agree with Republicans,” she said. “We don’t get a chance to work together to develop bipartisan legislation and healthcare is a good example of that. Wouldn’t it be great if we sat down and worked together? A lot of people would like to see us get there.”
On the international stage, DelBene said the nation was facing growing problems due to President Donald Trump’s style of diplomacy, “or lack of diplomacy.”
Asked from the audience what her position was on President Trump’s immigration bill, DelBene said, “To be clear, he hasn’t put forward a bill. He’s talked about it a lot and separately there’s a lot he can do through executive action. I’m very concerned about his proposals going forward. We need to pass legislation in Congress.”
She also dismissed the idea of a wall along the southern border. “It’s a terrible use of money. What do people say? Build a taller wall, get a taller ladder?”
On the issue of voter fraud, some audience members expressed concern that the White House would unilaterally take people off the voter rolls, while others suggested consideration should be given to asking all voters for proof of U.S. citizenship.
“The President has claimed there was widespread voter fraud, something for which there is no evidence,” DelBene said. “The data doesn’t show that we have a problem.”
In regards to the conflicts between state and federal laws on marijuana, DelBene said the Obama administration’s policy to not interfere with states that had legalized marijuana was being questioned by the current administration. “[U.S. Attorney-General] Sessions has said they will enforce the federal law so I have proposed legislation that would give states a waiver from those laws,” she said.
Thanked for taking the time to come to the Point even though she’s not facing an election cycle, DelBene said the Point stays on her mind. Visiting schools, she often asks students if they know where the Point is. “I’m putting Point Roberts back on the map,” she said.
She is also reaching out to constituents amid growing concerns about instability in Washington, D.C.
“Since this Congress started in January, the number of calls and letters to our office has more than doubled and stayed high,” she said. Regarding proposed changes to healthcare legislation, constituents were 10 to one against.
“It’s useful to me to know the balance of opinion. I encourage everyone to stay in touch.”