Auchincloss: Bipartisan Accomplishments of 2022 and Priorities for 2023


Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

As Congressman Jake Auchincloss closes out his second year representing Massachusetts’s Fourth District in U.S. Congress, he takes some time to reflect on what he calls the most bipartisan Congress of his lifetime. He also shares his priorities for the coming year.

Offshore Wind Development in MA

As a champion of wind development in Massachusetts, one of the accomplishments that tops the list for Congressman Auchincloss is leading thirty House members in successful negotiation with the Senate to remove language from the National Defense Authorization Act for FY23, which would have the unintended consequence of threatening offshore wind industry development in Massachusetts. 

“The defeat of the crewing amendment in the defense bill is a win for offshore wind and for Massachusetts,” says Rep. Auchincloss. "I’m proud to have fought on behalf of clean energy and my district’s economic development. However, we should not continue this saga every Congress. With Republicans taking the gavel, I am ready to work across the aisle and with dissenting voices in my own party to negotiate a permanent solution that advances offshore wind and creates American jobs.”

Engaging in Bipartisanship

In 2022, Congressman Auchincloss has practiced engaging in productive disagreements. One of the goals of his “go everywhere” media strategy – Rep. Auchincloss makes himself accessible to audiences whether they be on social media, television, national news organizations or hyperlocal news blogs – is to “break[] through the tribalism and present areas where we can make bipartisan progress.”

“We can’t allow our political discourse to just become two different echo chambers,” he says.

“You wouldn’t know it from watching cable news or social media, but this 117th Congress that’s just concluded has been the most bipartisan, most productive Congress in my lifetime,” remarks Rep. Auchincloss. He lists legislation this year accomplished through Democratic and Republican votes: infrastructure, basic science, semi-conductors, Ukraine aid, gun safety and Electoral Count Act Reform.

“We’re putting forth policies that the American people want to see enacted. And when you do that, you are going to [ ] find that you got some Republican votes there,” he says. Policies like supporting Ukraine’s fight for a free world and “closing loopholes that allow for gun massacres” are supported by the supermajority of Americans, notes Rep. Auchincloss.

The Democratic congressman teamed with Republican Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio this September to push the Department of Treasury to adopt a G-7-endorsed price cap on Russian oil purchases with coordinated insurance sanctions. Ideally, the price cap will impair Russia’s ability to fund its war on Ukraine with oil revenue, and will put downward pressure on global oil and gas prices. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has since announced that a price cap has been set.

The 117th Congress also passed the first bipartisan gun safety act in decades. Rep. Auchincloss notes that preventing gun violence has been one of his key priorities.

“[A]s a former Marine officer and somebody who ate, slept, trained, and patrolled with an assault weapon for four years, I just don’t think we should have assault weapons or weapons of war on our streets or near our schools,” he says.

The congressman successfully advocated for including language in the FY23 spending bill that requires the Department of Education to engage in safe firearm storage efforts. (It’s worth a mention here that Westwood Public Schools recently co-sponsored a community education program on safe gun storage.)

While the congressman may value bipartisanship, gun safety is one issue where he isn’t keen on lengthy negotiations. “This is not one of those issues where I think, ‘Oh, Democrats and Republicans need to come together and hammer out a compromise.’ This is an issue where Republicans have just failed and the GOP needs to shake off its subservience to the NRA and do what’s right for families to keep them safe,” he says.

“I just remember the night of Uvalde earlier this year and putting my kids to bed and thinking about those parents in Texas. And I just, it’s certainly the angriest and most upset I’ve been holding elective office. In general, I really don’t like to personalize politics. . . . On this issue, though, I’ll admit that it hits me in the solar plexus,” he says.

Pushing Back with Republicans in Charge of the House

Rep. Auchincloss observes that Republicans, with the gavel in their hands next year in the House, will face a fork in the road. “They can either decide we’re going to continue this bipartisanship Democrats used to deliver results for Americans - whether it's gun safety or infrastructure or science or clean energy - or they can decide that they want to play to the authoritarian conspiracy theory wing of their party,” he says.

“You know, we don’t expect to agree on everything,” remarks Congressman Auchincloss. That’s not our job in Congress to agree on everything. Our job is to debate to good solutions. And we’ll debate in good faith. But if they’re [Republicans] going to elevate Marjorie Taylor Greene, as is happening right now, they’re going to face ferocious pushback from the Democratic caucus that is fit and fighting from the Trump years and is ready to hold them to account.”

Priorities in 2023

Continuing to “protect democracy” is Congressman Auchincloss’s first response to the question of his priorities for next year. “I will continue to be a very strong defender of our democratic institutions and norms,” he says. He observes that the 117th Congress started the year with the January 6th insurrection, and concluded the year with criminal referrals of Donald Trump.

Rep. Auchincloss is also focused on clean energy and climate action. “We can’t take two years off just because we’re in the minority,” he says. “We’ve got to find ways that hit singles and doubles to make progress on clean energy and climate action.”

Thanks to Congressman Jake Auchincloss for speaking with Westwood Minute.

Updated 12/30/2022 at 11:15 a.m. A typographical error has been corrected.

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