Letter: Accomplishments in last 10 months

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

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Sen. Paul Wellstone once said, “Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money.  Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”

With this core value in mind, I cannot be more pleased with what President Biden and Congressional Democrats have accomplished for the American people in the past 10 months. Here are some examples:

A Democratic Congress and President Biden passed the American Rescue Plan in March of 2021, giving stimulus money to businesses to keep them afloat, aid to state and local governments to bridge budget shortfalls, increased unemployment benefits, housing assistance, money for schools, child care credits. It increased taxes on the wealthy and large corporations. It cut the rate of child poverty in half.  It improved people’s lives. No Republicans voted for it.

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Under Biden, the rate of vaccinations increased from 777,000 a day to about 3 million a day. Eighty percent of seniors received their first shot. President Biden used the Defense Production Act, accelerating the production of vaccines. As people get vaccinated, schools stay open, the economy recovers and we return to a semblance of normalcy. The lives of ordinary citizens improved.

President Biden re-joined the Paris Accords to fight climate change and re-joined the World Health Organization. Climate change and the pandemic are problems that will require international cooperation to solve. These efforts improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

President Biden ended the war in Afghanistan and managed to successfully get 125,000 people out of the country, the largest airlift of civilians ever done by the U.S. military. We spent $2 trillion over 20 years in Afghanistan and were spending on average over $300 million a day. There were 2,400 American lives lost and over 20,000 Americans wounded. Others talked about ending the war — Biden did.   

On Nov. 15, President Biden and the Congress passed the badly needed Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which will repair and improve the bridges, highways, ports, airports, water systems, broadband access and energy systems of our country. While some Republicans in the House and Senate voted for it, all of Minnesota’s Republican Congresspeople, including our own Congressman Hagedorn, voted no.

The Democratic House just passed a Build Back Better bill. The AARP has said the bill “could boost the quality of life for millions of older Americans and their families.” While this bill still needs to pass the Senate, one provision of the bill particularly deserves attention — giving Medicare the ability to negotiate to lower drug prices. According to the Health Cost Institute, the cost of insulin increased from $344 to $666 from 2012 to 2016. This bill would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. Make no mistake, the pharmaceutical industry and many Republicans are strongly opposed, but this cap would save lives and help ordinary Americans.

Another Sen. Wellstone quote sums it up well: “We all do better when we all do better.”

Mary Hinnenkamp

Albert Lea