All the political bickering, blocking and gridlocking that went on in Congress during the old year is not what the public wants and certainly not the way we deal with things in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, this is what occurred for most of 2010 in Washington and in the last weeks of the year we rushed to pass tax cuts, the START treaty, and the budget for a year that started 3 months earlier.
In the past year Washington has been more about power and winning elections than about people. Washington has to move away from the extreme division and the political practice of the past year, which has been: It's better to be against everything than to be for anything.
I am hopeful that the voice of the people that want us to work together will be heard in 2011.
Polls show 80 percent of the people want both sides working together. Elections are full of partisanship, but when the election is over the voters send their senators and representatives back to Washington and expect them to work to make people's lives better.
The lame duck session held in December wasn't a waste of time but it was busy because months of partisan delaying tactics left a lot to the end. We worked on jobs, national security, and trying to improve the economy by cutting personal and business tax rates.
And, we passed the START Treaty which many current and past secretaries of state and defense secretaries and commanders at STRATCOM in Nebraska said was necessary to reduce the number of nuclear missiles. The vote, after more than six days of valuable debate, to ratify this treaty came on a bipartisan vote of 71 to 26. We need more of that in the future.
Almost a year ago I wrote, "Republicans have a responsibility to engage, not sit on the sidelines. And Democrats have a responsibility to make a renewed effort to work across the political aisle. Both parties have a responsibility and an obligation to work together now. It remains to be seen whether or not that will happen."
Well, it didn't happen much. 2010 was a difficult year at best trying to accomplish things for the American people. Working across the aisle is the way to move forward and get things done. I've tried to do that over my 10 years in the Senate and before that during 8 years as governor.
My New Year's resolution is to continue working for solutions that help people's jobs, the economy and to bring down the federal debt in the 112th Congress. I'm hoping that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of the U.S. Capitol are making the same resolution. The country faces many problems and working together is the only way to solve them.