I am experiencing one of the most bittersweet moments of my life right now. Our bill that so many of us gave everything we had for, The Butch Lewis Act in the Senate, Pension Rehabilitation Act in the House, died with the passage of the budget without getting attached to it.
There will be a special committee set up to force a vote by the end of the year, but by then the scoring we have will not work. All this means is unless we have a true miracle--I still believe in them--thousands of us across North Dakota will be facing major cuts on our pensions.
You may publish my letter as written, but it rings a little hollow for me as I silently cry, understanding that sometimes when bipartisanship does work as in the new budget proposal not everyone gets what they have fought for.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp sent a message saying she will fight to get on this special bicameral committee being set up. Rep. Kevin Cramer called me with the same message. Both of them are true fighters for the people of North Dakota in my book.
Heitkamp was fighting long before the Democratic party laid down a marker saying we are fighting for labor, and Cramer took heat for being one of the first Republicans to sign on to the bill.
In the end, we went down because of Nick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. His very misleading statements (I consider them patently false) gave fuel to attack dogs both in and outside of Congress. I just wish that these people would realize that everything they do plays with the very lives of the people affected. We are not pawns on a chessboard.
Kooren is chairman of the North Dakota-Fargo Committee to Protect Senior Rights and Chairman of the UPS Committee National United Committee to Protect Pensions.