A Moment of Reflection

by Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International

I was going to blog about the partisan markup held by the House Education and Labor Committee as they write their portion of the reconciliation bill. As noted in previous updates, the reconciliation measure will include investments in human infrastructure including workforce development and job training, childcare, free community college, paid leave and more – all of which could not garner bipartisan support in the infrastructure bill. After eight hours of debate, the committee adjourned their work for another day.  All of the amendments thus far were voted on along party lines. We are pleased with the proposed investments in the workforce system and will continue to advocate for their inclusion as the bill comes together.

After a long day of watching the partisanship unfold, I went for a walk in my neighborhood and saw the Tower of Light emanating from the Pentagon in remembrance of September 11th. I am grateful that I was able to take a moment and reflect on my experience living in New York that day, and the feeling of unity, accomplishment, and the spirit of coming together that many felt in the days and weeks that followed.

In the two decades since 9/11, there have been a number of events that have transformed the nation including wildfires, hurricanes, floods, school shootings, police brutality, discrimination, historic court cases, and the pandemic to name a few. As we dig into our positions and listen to lawmakers differ over policy solutions to address the causes and challenges associated with these events, it is easy to dwell on the things that divide us.

If we take a moment to list the things we have in common with each other, the ways in which we have been resilient as individuals, communities and a nation in the face of these transformative events, I hope that we can find more things that unite us. There will undoubtedly be more transformational events that will affect our nation. Maybe in another 20 years or maybe tomorrow. What role will you play in ensuring that we continue to grow stronger together, that you are contributing to the solutions versus adding to the divisions?