Updated: Mar 1
Michael Neary is one of the 11 candidates hoping to become the next Congressman for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District. In a recent episode of Ray-ality TV, Neary explained why he’s running for Congress and issues he wants to address if elected.
Neary said, “I’m running for Congress because we believe that the Second District needs a Representative who’s going to stick up for equality, justice and our democracy for everybody here in the Second District.”
The dynamic in Congress differs from state and local politics. Members of Congress typically have signature issues they focus on as, in a sense, they represent their constituents on a national level. One of Neary’s key policy proposals is to implement a PPP 2.0 plan if elected.
“There’s three core pillars to [the plan]. Each ‘p’ gets its own point. [The] first one is providing emergency relief. For anyone who’s making under $100,000 [a year], that means one-year of guaranteed housing, food, medicine, childcare – that continued debt relief, a one-year extension of that. That’s to give people that little bit of breathing space to get back on their feet,” Neary said.
He added, “From there, [moving] to that second ‘p’ – and that is public options. Healthcare, higher education and with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, those federal dollars coming into all of our states is a public option in jobs. And then that third ‘p’ is to pay people a living wage finally. The federal minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour. Some of the easiest ways to offset the inflation [is] getting more money in the hands of people who really need it. We raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour at least as a starting point. Those are kind of my three priorities right off the bat.”
Alongside his PPP 2.0 plan, Neary wants to see student loan debt up to $50,000 canceled. “The cycle of debt that this amount of debt creates is really vicious for so many borrowers who make these decisions at a very young age. If they don’t have to make that $300, $400, $500 payment every month, that’s a game-changer for millions of [Americans].”
An under-the-radar issue facing the country that Congress plays a role in fixing is the national debt. Currently, as of Feb. 2022, the United States’ national debt sits at $30 trillion. Neary appears to favor a trickle-up economy approach championed by Democrats – and most notably – Andrew Yang during his 2020 Presidential campaign.
“I think it gets politicized to a point where it makes people believe that we’re going to go broke if we spend any more money. The dollar is still that baseline for the global economy. We could help people now and lift everybody up now and the economy will grow,” says Neary. “It’s already grown at that seven percent rate over the last quarter. We just need to keep that pedal to the metal and make sure that it’s still growing so we can get back up to that pre-COVID level where our economy was at. And then just build so much more on top of that to give people that chance to get back and an opportunity to really grow.”
Term limits is a topic frequently discussed during interviews with candidates running for Congress on Ray-ality TV. Neary says he’s “pretty comfortable with them.” Certain elected officials self-impose term limits for themselves like U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). This prompted a question of if he would have a similar approach. Neary hasn’t made a full commitment, but says his tenure would be “more like 10 [years served] than 20.”
Although term limits are unlikely – what is likely to happen is legislation passing to ban members of Congress from trading stocks. Currently, members of Congress trade stocks and typically beat the market. U.S. Senator John Ossoff (D-GA) is introducing a bill banning this, and goes a step further to ban loopholes such as a spouse being allowed to trade stocks.
Neary supports this measure. If the bill isn’t passed and Neary is elected in November, he has no plans to trade stocks.