Today’s central political reality is Congress needs support from both sides of the aisle to get things done on behalf of the American people. Partisanship remains a potent force and one that doesn’t serve this country well. It’s simple arithmetic. We have a President who’s a Democrat, a House of Representatives controlled by Republicans, and a Senate with a majority of Democrats but important powers granted to the minority party, so the bottom line is we need bipartisan votes. This is the primary message I have been sharing with constituents across Maine over the August recess.

We have made some progress. This spring the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill as well as bipartisan bill to lower student loan interest rates. Yet for every step forward we seem to take a half step back.

What I have been hearing this past month, and what I hope my colleagues have also heard, is that people aren’t mad at Democrats or Republicans, but rather are frustrated with Congress as a single entity. As elected officials, if we want to restore Americans’ faith in the federal government, we must find ways to work together, reach compromise, and enact common sense legislation for the good of the country.