What is No Labels?

No Labels is a growing citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving. We are unlike any organization in America. The most powerful interest groups in our nation’s capital work to push our leaders and our political parties apart. No Labels is working to bring them together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems. We welcome people left, right and everything in between as long as they are willing to collaborate with one another to seek a shared success for America. This new attitude is what No Labels is all about.

No Labels promotes its politics of problem solving in three ways: by organizing citizens across America, providing a space for legislators who want to solve problems to convene and by pushing for common-sense reforms to make our government work.

Since our launch in December 2010, No Labels has consistently grown in size and in influence, with hundreds of thousands of supporters across the country. We entered 2013 with two new national leaders, former Republican Governor Jon Huntsman and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Within Congress, No Labels has already recruited 93 members of Congress to become Problem Solvers and agree to meet regularly in 2013 to build trust across the aisle.

To help empower these Problem Solvers in Congress, No Labels is focused on breaking down the structural problems that push our leaders apart. Toward that end, we have released two comprehensive action plans that are as straightforward as their titles:Make Congress Work! and Make the Presidency Work!

These plans are gaining traction on Capitol Hill and beyond, with one of our proposals, No Budget, No Pay, passing in the House and Senate in January 2013. No Labels first proposed the bill in December of 2011 with Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). No Labels will continue to push for common-sense reforms like our Annual Fiscal Report to Congress and the Five-Day Work Week for the House and Senate.

Finally, we have a third action plan, Make America Work!, which argues that achieving a new politics of problem solving will require our elected leaders to embrace No Labels’ five key principles of political leadership: 1) Tell the full truth, 2) Govern for the future, 3) Put the country first, 4) Be responsible, and 5) Work together.

No Labels does not expect anyone to shed their identity when they join our movement. We are a community of proud liberals, proud conservatives and everything in between who are united by the conviction that people with different beliefs really can set aside the labels and come together to solve problems.

What type of organization is No Labels?

No Labels is a 501(c)(4) social welfare advocacy organization dedicated to activating citizens, organizing leaders and pushing for reforms to move America toward a new attitude of problem solving.

Why the name No Labels?

We understand there are real philosophical differences between Democrats, Republicans and independents. And we don’t expect our leaders or No Labels supporters to check their principles at the door.

But philosophy and principle have little to do with the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., where political games and pettiness increasingly drive the decision-making of our leaders.

Too often, it’s not the quality of a leader’s ideas that matters, but the label – Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative – that he or she wears.

You don’t need to shed your identity to join the No Labels movement. You can be a proud liberal, a proud conservative or a staunch independent. You just need to be open to the idea that people with different beliefs really can set aside the labels and come together to make our government, and our country, work again.

Why does No Labels start with "no"?

No Labels means rejecting the status quo -- saying “no” to the gridlock. In order to be effective, our leaders must work together with no preconditions. We’re changing the culture in Washington, starting by telling our leaders that we won’t stand for more of the same gridlock. We’re saying “no.”

No Labels is not a negative, though, it’s a positive movement toward the new politics of problem solving. Just like our forefathers who began the American Revolution with “no taxation without representation,” we’re standing up against what’s not working and calling for solutions.

Who has joined No Labels?

No Labels has already rallied hundreds of thousands of Americans behind our cause. Our supporters have different politics and they come from all walks of life. If you attend a local No Labels meeting, you will find university and student leaders, current and former elected officials, community and non-profit leaders, representatives from the business and legal community and many more.

Some of our supporters are long-time veterans of political and civic causes. Others are engaging for the first time. But all our supporters are tired of the hyper-partisanship and dysfunction afflicting our government. And all of us are committed to changing the way our government and our country works for the better.

Is No Labels a think tank?

No. There are already many think tanks and individuals who have developed thoughtful approaches to important issues. No Labels does not promote any particular issue.

However, No Labels believes that solving virtually every important issue facing America – whether it’s building a better tax code or immigration system, balancing our budget or fixing our schools – will require leaders from both political parties to work together.

As these issues are debated in Washington and across America, No Labels will use the influence of our supporters and the media to press our political leaders to set aside the labels and come together to solve problems.

Is No Labels just about splitting the difference between conservatives and liberals?
Is it about speaking in civil language?

No. We’re not pushing compromise for its own sake, and we’re not naïve enough to think politicians being nicer to one another will suddenly make our government work. But failure to compromise and uncivil discussion are symptoms of a much bigger problem with our government.

Democrats and Republicans have organized themselves into warring clans that value defeating the other side over even the most basic acts of governing, like passing a budget on time or confirming competent people to staff our courts and the President’s Cabinet.

There is common ground between the parties, but they refuse to even try to find it.

How else to explain the fact that our political parties now routinely denounce ideas they supported just a few years ago; not because the ideas suddenly became bad, but because the other party embraced them too?

In most negotiations, when the other side embraces your idea, it is called agreement. In Washington, it is called selling-out, or even treason.

If No Labels can tone down the partisanship, we believe it will create space for our politicians to come together to develop pragmatic and workable solutions.

What is No Labels' position on the issues? What issues are you pushing?

The No Labels movement is not about a single issue. It is about uniting Americans left, right and center to take our country back from an extreme minority that has paralyzed our government at a time of grave national crisis.

The simple fact about America in 2014 is that no party has or will likely soon have a monopoly on power. That means solving any of the pressing challenges facing America - from tax and immigration reform to curbing our deficit - will require people from different parties coming together for the good of the country.

Certain procedural obstacles stand in the way of making real progress on these key policy issues. That is why we are focusing on promoting 12 solutions to reduce congressional gridlock, so that our elected officials can work together to find solutions to the challenges our country faces. In addition, we already have a coalition of 93 Problem Solvers in the House and Senate who are committed to building trust and working across the aisle. For their first initiative, the Problem Solvers introduced a legislative package featuring nine common-sense bills to Make Government Work!. We've also proposed an 11-point action plan to Make the Presidency Work!, and are building a group of Problem Solvers in Congress.

No Labels is the voice for people who want a less partisan, less ideological, more common sense approach to solving the nation’s problems.

What about other "social issues"? Is No Labels pro-choice or pro-life?

No Labels does not take positions on social issues like abortion and gun control.

Our job is to create an environment where crucial issues like these can be solved. We’re not staying away from social issues because we believe they're unimportant. But for decades, these issues have been used as ”wedge” issues to fan the flames of a never-ending culture war. We are not interested in fighting it.

No Labels is focused on making our institutions of government work again by changing the attitude in Washington and pushing toward a new politics of problem solving.

What about other reform efforts, like money in politics and gerrymandering?

No Labels is supportive of political reform generally. This year, we are focusing our energy and resources on efforts that will lessen the hyper-partisan gridlock that is gripping Congress and prevents them from addressing the nation’s problems in a meaningful way. We believe that such political reforms should meet the following criteria: 1) they must have across-the-aisle support, 2) they must be achievable, and 3) they must be able to be implemented quickly. You can find our 12-point reform agenda to achieve these goals at nolabels.org/work.

What is significant about across-the-aisle legislation?

Making a bill with across-the-aisle support certainly doesn't guarantee it will be a good bill. But solving any of the pressing challenges facing America - from tax and immigration reform to curbing our deficit - will require across-the-aisle support in Congress. With power so closely divided between the parties, our leaders have to find a way to work together. No Labels believes that if we can empower people to work across the aisle, then we stand a better chance of solving our nation's problems.

Who funds No Labels?

No Labels is funded by a fast-growing base of 7,000 donors -- some big, most small, but all with the same voice. No Labels complies with all of the financial reporting rules of 501 c(4) organizations. We do not publicly identify the names of our donors because it is not legally required and because it doesn't advance our core mission.

With a relatively small budget of $2 million in 2012, No Labels has managed to recruit hundreds of thousands of Americans into our movement, build a growing coalition of Problem Solvers on Capitol Hill, and turn reform ideas like No Budget, No Pay into law.

Our leadership team consists of 16 co-founders, all of whom work for free. We also have a staff of 13 with an average salary of $38,000 and a dedicated team of interns. We also rely on the incalculable support of people across America from all walks of life, who donate their time, advice, and enthusiasm.

We thank all our donors for their support and hope you will encourage others to invest in our cause. Your support enables us to build support for the politics of problem solving and most importantly to build a better country.

Has No Labels won any awards?

Yes, No Labels has won multiple awards.

Marine Lane Award:

Our Make Congress Work! booklet was a selection for the 2012 “Justified” competition, in which an esteemed jury identified submissions that demonstrate the value of design in a clear, compelling and accessible way. It serves as an example of how to explain design thinking to clients, students, peers and the public in general, based on specific metrics.

The distinguished jury—chaired by Terry Irwin, head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University—reviewed the nearly 400 submitted entries, eventually selecting 18 exemplary case studies that serve as an effective tool to explain the role of designers in conceiving and implementing solutions. Five of the 18 case studies were unanimously selected by the jurors, one of which was our Make Congress Work! booklet.

“This entry is an excellent example of how a seemingly traditional piece of print communication can go much deeper in terms of its effectiveness. The piece met its design objective, acting as a compelling piece of communication design that served three diverse audiences—Republicans, Democrats and independents. The formal execution of the piece was excellent, and the simple, understated graphics placed the focus on the content. The metrics for effectiveness were clearly articulated, both in the additional print runs required and the amount of press that the project received. While a simple print piece like Make Congress Work! might easily be overlooked in a traditional design competition, the entry made the case for its effectiveness, justifying both the formal execution and the realization of its stated objective.” —Terry Irwin

Common Ground Award:

Search for Common Ground is an international organization dedicated to resolving conflict, and each year it honors people and organizations that share its goal of putting understanding and collaboration above dispute and partisanship. In 2013, No Labels was one of five recipients for their Common Ground award for which is given to organizations and individuals who exemplify the organization’s values of resolving conflict in a collaborative way.

Problem Solvers

  • Andy Barr
  • John Barrow
  • Mark Begich
  • Ami  Bera
  • Sanford Bishop
  • Diane Black
  • Bruce Braley
  • Julia Brownley
  • Larry Bucshon
  • Cheri Bustos
  • Tony Cardenas
  • Robert P. Casey, Jr.
  • Joaquin Castro
  • David  Cicilline
  • Mike Coffman
  • Paul Cook
  • Jim Cooper
  • Jim Costa
  • Rodney Davis
  • John Delaney
  • Jeff Denham
  • Charlie Dent
  • Sean Duffy
  • Elizabeth Esty

From the Blog

  • August 16, 2014
    No Labels
    No Labels Honorary Co-Chair Governor Jon Huntsman and Co-Founder Alan Fleischmann speak with Charles Lane from The Washington Post about tax reform and No Labels volunteer Cory Crowley about our work at the Iowa State Fair.
  • August 10, 2014
    No Labels
    No Labels Co-Chair Jon Huntsman and Co-Founder Alan Fleischmann spoke with Alex Wagner, Host of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, about immigration. The hosts also discussed a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll on the economy.

Meet the Co-Chairs