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An Open Letter to the 113th Congress: A How-To Guide to Popularity

Dear Congress:

You have some explaining to do. According to Gallup, the public approval rating of your predecessors averaged 15.8% during your two-year term, hitting a low of just 10% approval twice in 2012. Moreover, the majority of Americans also believe that the 112th got less done than usual.  Luckily, there are some things you can do to up your likeability and benefit the American people:

  1. Sequestration is a dirty word and we should avoid it. Believe it or not, there’s one thing that most everyone in the fiscal cliff debate agrees on: we should avoid sequestration – across the board cuts starting March 1st to discretionary spending will cut programs harshly. For Millennials, cuts to education investments like TRIO and job training like Jobs Corps will particularly hurt.
  2. Pass Legislation.  Now although I just told you to avoid sequestration – don’t get carried away avoiding stuff. For example, student loan interest rates are set to double again this summer, and Pell grants face a shortfall; this could hinder millions of students’ ability to afford school and loans and further feed the student loan debt crisis. Let’s find a more long-term solution to making college affordable.
  3. Use Your Diversity to Produce Change. This Congress is the most diverse group of legislators we’ve ever had. The Senate includes the most women ever (20), the first openly gay Senator (Sen. Tammy Baldwin), the first African American Republican since 1979, (Sen. Tim Scott) and the first Buddhist (Sen. Mazie Hirono). Not to be outdone, the House is also breaking religious milestones, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii becomes the first ever Hindu to serve in the people’s chamber. Diversity in people means diversity in ideas – use your varied collective body to explore new partnerships and ideas.
House Democratic Women of the 113th Congress: http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/8342801079/

As a self-labeled Congress-nerd and avid C-SPAN watcher, I’m excited to see what the 113th Congress has in store. Now let’s get the American public back in your corner too.

Best Wishes,

Erin Hemlin, Young Invincibles