In Focus: What do you want to see Congress do?

This Tuesday’s election saw the Republican Party taking control of the House of Representatives, and a getting a bigger presence in the Senate.

For this week’s “In Focus,” various Northern Star columnists, and a guest commentator, will weigh in on this question: What legislation would you like to see passed, or not pass, this upcoming session of Congress?

Aaron Brooks, columnist: With a Republican-controlled

House, a slightly Democratic-held Senate and a Democratic president, it will be vary hard to get major legislation passed. I would like to see Congress take this time to approve Obama’s appointments, cut some unneeded spending and work on jobs. Even though there is a larger presence of Republicans in the House that I would have hoped for, I feel that the system is balanced. These next two years will be the real test of how well our political parties can compromise, for now Republicans also have a stake in getting things done.

Phil Case, columnist: I would hope that the Republicans will not try to repeal the health care reform bill, and that we can stop using basic civil rights (marriage, serving in the military) as divisive political talking points. Mostly, though, I just want to be convinced that Congress is still capable of passing any sort of legislation, however compromised it may be. This whole “us versus them” mentality that is proving to be all to pervasive in politics is counterproductive to accomplishing anything other than getting elected.

Jessica Jenks, columnist: Obviously I want the yet-to-be-written 418 bill to pass. For those of you who have never heard of it, I’ll explain. April 18 is my birthday and should be a national holiday. This magnificent soon-to-be holiday is also the birthday of Conan O’Brien. I know. I know. I can’t believe it either. Conan and Jessica?! That is just too much awesome for one day to handle. This is why we all must celebrate this important day throughout the nation. The bill may or may not also include a clause suggesting that one platinum and diamond life size statue of myself be displayed sitting on Honest Abe’s shoulder at the Lincoln Memorial. USA!

Portia Kerr-Newman, columnist: I would like to see more jobs available. It would also be great for people that have been laid off from jobs that offer health insurance that there could be some alternative ways for them to still have health insurance if they cannot afford it on there own. Something also needs to be done to the homeless community, whether it be creating programs to help them get back on their feet and housing. Also stricter laws on those who can receive government assistance needs to be regulated. I also believe governmental officials should let the public know more about when they make decisions and why they plan on doing so.

Kathryn Minniti, columnist: Looking through and hearing about some of the bills in Congress, I would like to see the food safety bill which allows Food and Drug Association to have more power be passed. You can never be too safe when it comes to the making and producing of our food. Also, I would not like the DREAM Act to be passed, because I believe you should become a citizen the way it has always been and not just apply to an university and “Bam!” you’re a citizen of the United States of America.

Logan Short, columnist: With the Republicans bringing down the House, pun intended, I’m nervous that hardly any legislation will get passed. They already talk about trying to repeal the new healthcare bill, but it’s been hardly a year since it has gone into effect, so how can they really determine if it’s working when they really haven’t given it a chance? This turns the problems of our health-care system, which need to be addressed ASAP, into a political football. Also, I imagine the GOP will really push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, once again helping out the top 2 percent of Americans on such premise that they’ll have an incentive to invest, as if the whole time they were in place during the Bush presidency the economy was booming and didn’t lead to the current economic state. Real smart. Basically, I’m scared the GOP will push for, and possibly get passed, what Americans voted against in 2008 when they elected Obama.

Taurean Small, columnist: Seeing as the minority of Republicans has increased in numbers in the Senate, I would like to see the repeal of the Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070). Although highly unlikely, hopefully the new wave of Republicans can re-educate the older ones who support this act on morality. I know this long-winded debate has been arduous and annoying, but ultimately it comes down to civil rights. Racial profiling is an injustice that cannot be romanticized by legalities.