The results are in on the election of 2012. For the next week, the pols and pundits will spend their time dissecting voters’ motivations, but they should not ignore the two fundamental truths of this election: first, that the problems we had going into it remain unsolved. And second, that the close popular vote shows that Americans have differing views of how to go about addressing them.
The people have spoken and President Obama has won a second term. But the voice of America also said that it is time for Congress and the President to work together to find solutions that we can all get behind.
First, the threat of the fiscal cliff still looms. Massive tax hikes and cuts to important programs like defense and military spending are set to occur on January 1st. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warns that inaction could plunge the economy back into recession for the first half of 2013 and leave America vulnerable. It would also set off credit downgrades and drive up interest rates on credit cards, mortgages and personal and government debt.
Second, unemployment has remained disturbingly high, continuing to hover around the 8 percent mark. For the 20-plus millions of Americans still looking for work, that translates into considerable economic hardship now, and a roadblock to advancement opportunities later. These Americans are not just hoping for jobs; they’re hoping for careers.
Third, the economic recovery continues to move at a snail’s pace. Businesses have been stuck in limbo, worried about more punishing regulations and tax hikes that have stalled growth and hiring. I am hopeful that the President and Congress will listen to the voices in the business community that want to get back to the business of business: generating revenue, reinvesting to grow their businesses and creating jobs.
Americans have said they are tired of the partisan acrimony in Washington. What they want – and what we need – are workable bipartisan solutions to the problems we continue to face. Those problems are not insurmountable, but they will take work, and compromise, from both sides of the aisle. I urge the President and all my colleagues in Congress to come together to do just that. It is time for Washington to get back to work, and it is time for leadership from the White House.
This column was written by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.