Opinion Pieces

After Election, I Will Not Compromise on Values

[Originally published by the Falls Church News Press under "Congressman Beyer's News Commentary on 11/30/2016]

Washington, December 6, 2016

Since the election, I have heard from many constituents who are concerned about the Trump presidency or uncertain about his policies and plans. I share many of these concerns and questions.  As ever, I will listen to my colleagues from across the aisle, and will consider reasonable policy proposals, even if I do not fully agree with them.  But I will not compromise on our basic values.

I will forcefully oppose plans to privatize and cut Medicare, or strip healthcare coverage from millions of Americans.

I will continue to stand up to bigotry, public and private. Many of you are fearful, and not without reason, given rhetoric during and after the election. We must continue to make it clear that bigotry has no place in public life and people of all races, religions, origins, orientations and genders should feel welcome and honored in our country.

I will do everything in my power to defend those currently protected by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans policies. The people protected by these policies are not criminals. They are contributing members of our society and our economy.  As a nation of immigrants, we must address immigration issues with compassion and composure, not by lashing out.

I will work for a future where the criminal justice system treats all Americans fairly and equally.

I will defend the environment. There is no question that this election was a setback for those of us dedicated to building a healthier future for our planet.  But that work must continue.

I will keep striving to ensure that working people get a fair shot in the economy. This means advocating for a higher minimum wage and paid family leave, making sure that working overtime means getting paid overtime and supporting a regulatory structure that protects Americans from unscrupulous business practices and the worst excesses of the financial industry.

I will continue to be a forceful advocate for our federal workforce, which has been forced to make unfair sacrifices to compensate for Congress’ failure to balance the budget. We need to treat our federal employees better to ensure that top talent is still attracted to the civil service.

In some areas, notably the issues surrounding the President-elect’s private business, conflicts of interest and the emoluments clause, we are in uncharted territory. I cosponsored the Presidential Accountability Act, which would extend federal conflict of interest law to the President and Vice President, and I will work with my colleagues in Congress to assure that the U.S. government continues to act in the best interests of the people, unencumbered by private business considerations.

I do not expect to agree with President-elect Trump on most issues, but I do expect him to lead responsibly. His appointments of Steve Bannon, Lt. Gen. Flynn, and Sen. Jeff Sessions to senior roles in his administration elevated bigotry to the White House and the national security team. The divisive tone which these choices set for his transition does not bode well for the direction of his presidency, and I joined many of my colleagues in Congress in urging him to withdraw these appointments.

Our nation faces daunting challenges, and we must work together for a future which helps to bring peace and prosperity to all Americans. When I feel that the President-elect strays from this imperative of presidential leadership, I promise you that I will speak up in opposition.