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Op-ed: We can agree to disagree on some issues

US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Like many Americans, I stayed up into the late hours last week to watch the dramatic vote on the 'skinny repeal', a last ditch effort to cripple Obamacare. After the failure of the Senate to pass the legislation, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted "I'm disappointed. But there are things that we all, Republicans and Democrats, agree need to be fixed. So we can't give up." I couldn't agree more. So, now it's time for both Democrats and Republicans to return to regular order and work together to solve pressing problems facing this country.

This country works best when the two major parties can bring their best ideas to the table and work together to find common ground. Republicans and Democrats used to be able to work together to get important things done. Ronald Reagan worked with Tip O'Neill. Bill Clinton worked with Newt Gingrich. Democrats and Republicans voted for The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, signed into law by President G. W. Bush in 2003. Then things began to change. Compromise became a dirty word. Former speaker John Boehner famously said, "I reject the word compromise." But even he was forced out of his leadership position by hardliners who thought he compromised too much.

Instead of working with an incoming president, the party out of power became the party of “no.” Members of Congress who reached across the aisle were met with primary opponents. Many even admitted that, while they were friends behind the scenes with their congressional counterparts, they would have to appear enemies in front of the camera. The Republicans refused to work with President Obama and some Democrats refuse to work with President Trump. America loses. The CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, recently blew up on an earnings call over the dysfunction of Congress and its inability to get things done. Washington’s dysfunction hurts American businesses and consumers, and fuels the distrust and frustration many Americans feel toward government.

It is time for this to change. If we want a Congress that works, Republicans and Democrats must do as Arizona Sen. John McCain declared in his passionate speech on the Senate floor when he returned from Arizona after having surgery: "We must return to regular order."

Democrats are not the enemies of Republicans. Republicans are not the enemies of Democrats. We can agree to disagree on some issues, but we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward.

The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and it is far from perfect. Letting this law 'implode' will cause tremendous pain to many Utah families. It might feel good on a naked partisan basis, but it hurts people in order to score partisan points.

This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to prove that they love this country more than partisanship. We can work together to come up with bipartisan solutions that will lower premiums and increase the number of insured in our state and across the country.

We can work together on other pressing issues, like infrastructure, education, clean air and water, and tax reform. As long as we put people above partisanship, we can find better ways to advance common sense legislation that moves this country forward.

Republicans and Democrats should not be at war with each other. It is not good for Utah, and it is not good for the country.

Darlene McDonald is a Democrat running for Congress in Utah’s 4th District. She works as a technical analyst at a large technology company in Lehi, Utah.