“We’re probably in one of the safest times in our state’s history right now, primarily because both the Louisiana Legislature and the U.S. Congress are out of session,” Congressman Garret Graves began, as he spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.
“I also want to thank the Governor and the legislature, because I think for the first time in a long time they actually made Congress appear functional,” he added.
And Graves admits things aren’t going as well as he expected, despite being part of the Republican majority with a Republican in the White House.
“I’ve been in Congress now for two and a half years, and a lot of people ask, ‘What are you getting done?’ I can candidly say that we haven’t delivered every single thing that we had identified as priorities.”
The 6th District congressman points to the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort as an example.
“The Senate is getting back together on a bi-partisan basis. I wish that had happened in the House,” Graves said, adding, “It’s my understanding that in the House the Democrat leadership told the Democrats not to work with Republicans on it. I don’t think that’s the way we should legislate.”
Graves says he’s very concerned about the growing partisan divide.
“Some of the tone that we’ve seen in politics over the past several months are putting us on a trajectory that’s very dangerous. I certainly believe that what we saw happen with Steve Scalise was largely motivated by some of the rhetoric and polarization that you’re seeing right now in politics.”
Regarding Scalise, Graves says he’s doing remarkably well, considering the severity of his injuries.
“Steve has a challenge in that he has both skeletal injuries in the hip and leg, as well as soft tissue and organ damage in the abdomen area. And in some cases the recovery for those things conflict with one another – movement versus not movement,” Graves explained. “But Steve said that he’s coming back next month.”
Graves says he hopes all of Congress will return, ready to work together.
“We all, regardless of political party or ideology, need to recognize that there are countless things that we can all agree upon, and that we can work together to accomplish.”