Congressman Joe Courtney (2nd CD – CT) decried what he termed “a disconnect” between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in the last election. Courtney made the observation in an exclusive interview with ValleyNewsNow.com at the Essex Library on March 6.
Courtney cited as an example of this disconnect, the widely divergent views on President Obama’s proposal to build a national high speed rail network. “There is such a chasm between the two sides on this issue,” he said. Courtney is a strong advocate of the President’s high speed rail proposal, noting that the New York to Boston corridor, which encompasses his district, has a greater need for high speed rail service “than any other region in country.”
Courtney also commented on a number of national issues. As to whether the Democrats should nominate Obama for President for re-election in 2012, Courtney said simply, “He’s our man.” However, Courtney faulted the President for not shutting down the American prison in Guantanamo for terrorism suspects. He termed it “a big disappointment” that the President had not kept his campaign promise on this issue. “How long would it have taken U.S. civilian courts to try some 170 cases,” he asked rhetorically.
On the other hand, Courtney said that the Obama Administration was on schedule in pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. However, he said that the U.S. pull out in Afghanistan was being extended to 2016, a different date than the one given in the last campaign.
As for the Tea Party movement that was such a significant factor in the 2010 elections, Courtney felt that the party “had overreached,” and that it would be less of a political factor in the future.
As for his own Committee assignments, Courtney, who is now a Minority Member, said that he was “squeezed out” of his spot on the Education Committee. However, he has been named as a Member of the House Agricultural Committee, an assignment which he feels could be relevant to the agricultural areas in his district and other wider issues as well.