Lawmakers: We are setting a terrible example

Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.) expressed concern that today’s lawmakers are setting bad examples for the next generation of American leaders, in a Sunday joint interview.

On NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday” with Chris Stirewalt, Crow and Womack — two U.S. veterans — stressed the value of military service and urged greater bipartisan cooperation and civility for the country’s sake.

“I think, more than anything, we are setting a terrible example for the next generation of great Americans. And there is a legion of young people out there that are looking at us and basically deciding what is going to be acceptable, what is going to be normal, as they come up through the ranks,” Womack said.

“And I think that’s one of the real difficulties we have as a country,” he continued, “is that today’s role models are failing in this opportunity to be able to represent what’s good and what’s great about our nation.”

Crow similarly stressed the importance of maintaining common decency with people on the other side of the aisle, saying, “Public service implies sacrifice. It’s not supposed to be about you.”

“I think that is the spirit that we have to get back to,” Crow added. “That is, America does great things. And we are at our best when people put aside their self-interests and make sacrifice.”

Referencing Womack, sitting beside him, Crow continued, “And as a Democrat and Republican sitting right here, you know, we don’t always agree, we have debates, but you’ll never hear me call Steve ‘evil’ or malign him or question his motivations. We’re going to have a debate. We’ll try to flesh it out. Sometimes we’ll agree, sometimes we won’t, and then we’ll move forward.”

The lawmakers are both members of the For Country Caucus, a group of about 30 veterans in Congress who have worked together in the last five years to pass dozens of nonpartisan measures into law. The lawmakers have reaffirmed their commitment to continuing that work.

“We’re going to have these rigorous debates,” Womack said. “It was designed to be messy. But when it’s all done, we’re going to dinner. And that’s the problem today. We’re not having dinner.”

Womack said he would “like to see the country come back to the era … where it was possible to have those intense debates about very important subjects — agree, disagree, get something done that benefits the country — and then go have dinner.”

The interview comes during Memorial Day weekend, as Congress has continued to reach new heights in terms of the level of public animosity it displays among members.

Just this month, a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing devolved into chaos as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) clashed with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) after the firebrand Republican accused Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) of wearing “fake eyelashes.”

The comment — which was made during a markup to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress — prompted nearly an hour of disorder in the committee, with lawmakers screaming over one another and hurling insults left and right, leaving Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) struggling to maintain order.

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