Wake up, Congress!


On the night of my victory in last month’s 3rd Congressional District special election, I promised my constituents that when I was sworn back into Congress, I would personally deliver their simple yet powerful message to my fellow members.

Late last month, I kept that promise.
I told Congress in no uncertain terms: “Wake up! The people are sick and tired of the finger-pointing and petty partisan politics. They want us to work together to solve the problems our country and our world face.”

Americans are worried about the cost of living, the border crisis, Israel, Gaza and Ukraine. They look to Congress, and what do they see? Extremists getting all the attention. Pandering to the left and the right has grown increasingly harsh.

We are letting ourselves be bullied by our base, on both sides.

I also challenged Speaker Mike Johnson and my colleagues to do their job — and pass a bipartisan immigration bill that will finally secure our borders and provide funding to our allies Israel and Ukraine. To not do so would keep the border open, endanger peace in Israel, and empower Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And while that bill doesn’t include everything I want — a legal pathway to citizenship for the “Dreamers,” Temporary Protected Status recipients and those many immigrants who have lived here for decades — I would still compromise and vote to pass it.

For some in Congress, compromise is not an option. They equate compromise with weakness, and claim it smacks of backroom deals and sellouts. They fail to understand that compromise is the lifeblood of democracy. It may be the single reason that our republic has survived for so many years.

I know compromise is hard in this town, but if the speaker will bring a bipartisan bill to the floor, I guarantee it will pass.

Congress just isn’t getting anything done. We need less chaos and more common sense. Americans have had enough of political theater, hyperbole and histrionics, enough of shutdowns and put-downs. The people aren’t paying us to make things worse. The people are paying us to be in the solutions business.

All of the issues we face in this country are complicated. We can’t solve any of them in an environment of fear and anger. And we can’t fix them with a tweet, a partisan press conference or a single speech. We always need to search for common ground and look to unify our government.

Many people believe that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together. They have said to me, “Tom, wake up. You must face the real world.” But I reject that notion. The real world isn’t something we must simply face. It’s something that we as a free people can actively create. We make the real world.

In two years, Americans will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But in this year, Congress has literally become a house divided against itself. While I was the only member sworn in last month, I’m hoping our House can see that as a fresh start, a chance at a new beginning.

Let’s take this opportunity to break bad habits. Let’s remember why we ran for office in the first place. Let’s get back into the business of finding solutions.

We all know what politics has become. Here’s what it could be. Instead of continuing to fight with one another, we can begin to work with one another. Instead of spouting attacks, we can come up with answers.

No foreign adversary can hope to defeat America. None ever has. The greatest threat to our republic comes not from external forces but from within — internal divisions that could one day topple our government.

Let my election carry the day in Congress, and let’s take back the House and the country from those who would divide them. Let’s make our problematic Congress a problem-solving Congress instead, and let’s get something done for the American people.

Tom Suozzi represents the 3rd Congressional District.