Alfonse D'Amato

Put politics aside and hug your children


Before I get into the goings-on in Washington and Albany, I think it is more important to touch on the heartbreaking tragedy that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., not far across the Sound from all of us.

Twenty-six innocent lives were lost, including 20 young souls, all at the hands of one crazed gunman. This was the second-deadliest shooting in the U.S.; only Virginia Tech was a larger massacre.

This was an unspeakable crime. Who would kill so many children, who had their entire lives ahead of them?

It took only minutes for this lunatic with four guns in his possession to cause such tremendous devastation. It is time to take a serious look at our nation’s gun laws. I urge President Obama to begin the national conversation and lead the charge for change.

All the while, time is running out in Washington. Democrats and Republicans have been involved in heated negotiations in an attempt to keep us from falling off the so-called fiscal cliff. After weeks of meetings and divisive battles in the press, both sides remain far apart on a plan to go forward.

On Dec. 10, the White House offered a compromise plan that included a series of tax hikes, mainly on households earning over $250,000 per year, and several spending cuts. Over the weekend, House Speaker John Boehner pitched a tax hike on those earning over $1 million if the president agreed to major entitlements cuts. This was a major concession for Republicans, and the first time Boehner offered a tax rate increase.

But the two sides are clearly still far apart.

Something constructive must be done, and a comprehensive plan must be adopted so we do not go into a recession. My prediction is that no such legislation will pass. Instead we will be stuck with a bill that will be only a Band-Aid on a major problem, a temporary fix, due to the fact that, once again, Congress and the president cannot come together for the good of our economy.

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