A longtime Democrat congressman retiring from office said working with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is “like working alongside Vince Lombardi.”
Rep. George Miller, who’s represented his Contra Costa County district since 1975, told PBS that the last election showed “there’s great deal of concern in this country about the fairness of the economy, whether or not the Congress is in fact working for American families, whether or not the middle class is going to be able to participate in the growing prosperity in this country.”
“Much of that prosperity has grown for a very few people over the last couple years. There may be a chance with this recovery that it could be shared in a wider fashion. And I think that is going to be very important to American families,” Miller said.
“And I think that’s what Nancy Pelosi has stood for. Working alongside her is like working alongside Vince Lombardi. I mean, this is a serious person who understands this system and how it can work on behalf of the American people and how in fact it very often works against their interests.”
He added that the “question is rising to the top,” for which Congress will be held accountable, is, “Who’s working on our behalf, so that we have — more of us can share in this prosperity?”
Miller said he feels he’s accomplished “a big part” of what he set out to do decades ago.
“When I think of the legislation that I had the privilege of being involved with, in some cases writing, that became law, the access for children with disabilities to public schools in this country, a right they really didn’t have, or certainly many states weren’t honoring that right of disabled children to be able to go to school, the right of parents and communities and others to know about how their schools are performing, how their children are doing, the No Child Left Behind law that I wrote with President Bush, and certainly the Affordable Care Act that we did under President Barack Obama,” he said.
“You know, 40 years ago, I campaigned on national health care and ending the war in Vietnam. And when that bill was signed into law by the president, and I’m in that room, it started to look to me like I had reached the top of what I came here to do.”
Though he notes the “difficult environment” on the Hill, he said over the past six months “there’s a recognition that all members of Congress are accountable for the Congress doing its job.”
“And I think, if you just want to push that off and say, well, the Tea Party won’t let me do the job or this person won’t let me do the job, that’s not going to sell at home. They want you to come and to produce. They want you to produce on their behalf,” Miller said. “And I think the Congress is going to feel that heat more in the next Congress than maybe they have felt it the last couple of Congresses.”