No Labels Wants Congress to Get to Work

by Mark  

A non-partisan group formed a little over a year ago is incensed by the stalemate and partisanship on display in the halls of Congress. The group, No Labels, is made up primarily of former legislators free of elected office, able to press for compromise and bipartisanship.

On Tuesday, December 13, No Labels launched a plan to get Congress back to work. The group's web site noted on the launch page of their back-to-work program:

No Labels is a group of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who want our government to work again. Our 12-point plan to Make Congress Work can be implemented in just 24 hours to start reducing gridlock and hyper-partisanship.

No Labels plan is broken down into 12 points:

1.   No Budget, No Pay
If Congress can’t make spending and budget decisions on time, members shouldn’t be paid on time.

2.   Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointments
All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination.

3.   Fix the Filibuster
Require real (not virtual) filibusters and end filibusters on motions to proceed.

4.  Empower the Sensible Majority
Allow a bipartisan majority of members to override a leader or committee chair’s refusal to bring a bill to the floor.

5.  Make Members Come to Work
Make Congress work on coordinated schedules with three five-day work weeks a month in DC and one week in their home district.

6.   Question Time for the President
Provide a monthly forum for members of Congress to ask the president questions to force leaders to debate one another and defend their ideas.

7.   Fiscal Report to Congress: Hear it. Read it. Sign it.
A nonpartisan leader should deliver an annual, televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress to ensure everyone is working off the same facts.

8.   No Pledge but the Oath of Office
Members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.

9.   Monthly Bipartisan Gatherings
The House and Senate should institute monthly, off-the-record and bipartisan gatherings to get members talking across party lines.

10.  Bipartisan Seating
At all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party.

11.  Bipartisan Leadership Committee
Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee to discuss legislative agendas and substantive solutions.

12.  No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents
Incumbents from one party should not conduct negative campaigns against sitting members of the opposing party.

I am happy to say that one of the members of No Labels hails from the Cornfield.

That member is former Indiana Senator and two-term popular Governor Evan Bayh.

I worked with Bayh and his wife, Susan, on several projects back in my other life before becoming ill.

Bayh, a Democrat, is known for his moderate views and ability to work with others no matter the party affiliation.

From the Cornfield, I think this is a very sound and reasonable plan.

Now,  if we can get Congress to listen and implement the plan, Americans could breathe easier and have faith in the future of not just our nation, but in the institution of the Congress.

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