LEONARD N. FLEMING
/ The Detroit News
Detroit — Three Metro Detroit members of Congress on Monday debated partisan bickering in Washington and how party ideology helps fuel the gridlock that has stymied job and economic growth.
The two Democrats — U.S. Reps. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township — had a different rationale than their Republican colleague, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, who admitted they have “huge policy differences” even though they get along.
Miller railed against runaway federal spending and called for more measures to ensure balancing the budget, while Levine and Peters said the GOP members of Congress are too far to the right to work on common sense solutions.
“Ideology is one thing but rigid ideology is something else,” said Levin, who participated in the hour-long roundtable discussion sponsored by the Detroit Economic Club at the West Book Cadillac in Detroit. “I think it’s time for us to drop the rigidity.”
At one point during the discussion moderated by anchor Stephen Clark of WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), Levin raised his voice to make his point about the divisions in Congress and called the antics the “theater of the absurd.”
Miller said there’s a “clash of ideologies” about how to jump-start the economy, and her party is trying to get debt under control.
“We can’t spend our way into prosperity,” she said.
Peters said the voters need to weigh in and stop sending partisan ideologues to Congress. One problem, he said, is redistricting creates primarily GOP and Democratic strongholds. Peters’ district was all but eliminated in the redrawn maps.
When people go to Congress, he said, a “rift” develops “that is very hard to overcome. Voters have to start demanding accountability,”
But they all agreed that the No. 1 priority is getting Americans — especially in Michigan — back to work.
Levin said that although the government doesn’t create jobs, it needs to “incentivize” job growth.
Miller said President Obama’s policies haven’t worked.
“I think more people think Elvis is alive than whether the economic stimulus worked,” she said.
Peters said he wants practical solutions. More people like him need to reach across the aisle to get things done, he said.
Michigan’s U.S. reps trade barbs on economy
LEONARD N. FLEMING
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