A do-something Congress

December 23, 2010

I would like to extend my congratulations to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, congressional Democrats and a handful of Republicans who bucked their party leadership, particularly in the last few days of the lame duck session. The 111th Congress might have been swept out of power a few weeks ago, but I'm confident that in the years to come most analysts and the American people will look back with appreciation at what this Congress was able to accomplish. For whatever is said of the 111th Congress, it cannot be said that it was a "do-nothing" Congress.

Under this Congress, a lot was passed that will impact the lives of everyday Americans positively, from the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which guarantees equal payment for women, to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — yes, the much maligned stimulus bill that helped kept he economy afloat and was the difference between lines at the shopping mall and lines at the soup kitchen.

Then there was the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which will bring in millions of Americans into the health care system and help ensure that health care reform isn't just an election year promise but a reality. There was also the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the list goes on and on.

For the Congressional representatives who lost their seats, I say that you can be proud of what you accomplished, and I am convinced that history as the final arbiter of all things will look kindly upon your illustrious undertakings.

Nonso Umunna, Baltimore

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