As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jaime Herrera Beutler’s job is to understand and represent the views of her constituents in all matters to the federal government. To perform this task, all members of Congress are given support staff, funding for travel, access to the U.S. mail system, and allowances for office expenses.
Congress is currently deliberating federal funding for the Columbia River Crossing project. I think Herrera Beutler must not feel herself qualified to understand her constituents’ needs and represent them to Congress. Instead, she wants to require a special election, and threatens to cancel or delay the project if she does not get her way.
If U.S. representatives are no longer competent to understand constituents’ needs, perhaps Herrera Beutler is on the right track. We have the technology to support a direct democracy, whereby citizens vote directly on every piece of legislation. Unfortunately, we would put 435 people, along with a few hundred thousand lobbyists, assistants, staff and support personnel out of a job, but it would save an estimated $4 billion annually.
That amount is more than enough for a bridge or two.