The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 12, 2013

Other Views: D.C. needs No Labels

— For all the gridlock in Congress we see on TV and elsewhere, many Americans might be surprised to know there is a group of about 90 members of Congress making efforts to find bipartisan solutions to the real problems facing the country.

They deserve more recognition and support. They offer a sensible, credible and viable way to break Washington gridlock and provide solutions to America’s problems in the bipartisan way that the vast majority of Americans say they want. Most importantly, they agree to work together and compromise.

No Labels is a bipartisan group of elected leaders that has been quietly pushing an agenda that is aimed at breaking down the barriers to gridlock and proposing common sense solutions to America’s fiscal challenges. It has recently designated some members of Congress as part of a “Problem Solvers Coalition” if they agree to some simple principles like working together, being accountable, and governing for the future.

It seems simple —meeting with people you work with to solve problems — but this kind of cooperation has been sorely missing in Washington.

No Labels is a refreshing approach to governing. With 43 Democrats, 37 Republicans and one independent, No Labels “Problem Solvers Coalition” group has been meeting regularly with members of the other party to hear ideas, build relationships, talk about common goals and find solutions to some of the nation’s toughest problems.

Its efforts don’t garner a lot of media publicity like the conflict industry that derives its payola by fostering acrimony from most of the rest of Congress. But No Labels has captured public support for its way of doing business and some specific efforts.

It was behind the “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that passed both houses of Congress this year. That legislation required that members of Congress do not receive pay unless they complete a budget on time.

The No Label Problem Solvers proposed a nine point legislative agenda that is aimed at getting Congress and the government working. In July some 70 members of the No Labels coalition introduced their package of proposals that would institute the No Budget, No Pay policy, require a budget every two years instead of every year, consolidate duplicative government programs, require smarter bulk purchasing by government, cut federal travel by 50 percent and create bipartisan groups to evaluate the efficiency of federal programs.

The No Labels coalition aims to create an atmosphere in Washington that nurtures the sensible bipartisan solutions to many of our problems. The effort is solid and deserves the support of all Americans who want to see Washington work and get beyond the gridlock that threatens our prosperity as a nation.

—The Mankato (Minn.) Free Press

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Opinion
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