Feb. 12: 40+ Members of Congress Wear No Labels ‘Problem Solvers’ Pins at the State of the Union
More than 40 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle touted their membership in No Labels' Problem Solvers group by wearing the orange No Labels "Stop Fighting, Start Fixing" pins at President Obama's State of the Union address. In front of a television audience of more than 30 million Americans, these members made a statement that it’s time to work together, not just sit together, and showed their commitment to meet on a regular basis, at least once a month, with other members of the Problem Solvers group. The No Labels orange pins and the congressional ‘Problem Solvers’ got attention from all over, including mentions from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, former RNC chair Michael Steele, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and actress Eva Longoria. You can check out some of the coverage on social media here.
Feb. 4: No Labels’ No Budget, No Pay idea becomes law
Proposed by No Labels in its Make Congress Work! action plan in December 2011 and advocated for by No Labels supporters ever since, the No Budget, No Pay Act gained 80 co-sponsors in the House and 14 co-sponsors in the Senate in the 112th Congress. On February 4, 2013, President Obama signed a debt ceiling extension bill that included a modified No Budget, No Pay provision that would withhold member pay in escrow if their respective chambers fail to pass a budget by April 15. No Labels supported this legislation as a critical step towards more accountable government. However, we will continue to push for implementation of our stronger No Budget, No Pay proposal, which would require timely passage of both a budget and annual spending bills and would also not allow lost member pay to be recovered once it was withheld.
Jan. 14: No Labels hosts the Meeting to Make America Work! and unveils the Problem Solvers group in Congress, along with No Labels’ Honorary Co-Chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Manchin
More than 1,300 citizens joined No Labels in New York City at the Meeting to Make America Work!, a launching point for the next chapter in No Labels’ efforts to encourage a new politics of problem solving. No Labels introduced Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as the honorary co-chairs of the movement, and rolled out a fast-growing group of 24 Problem Solvers who have committed to hold regular meetings to build trust across the aisle. The meeting was covered by national and local press from across the country and brought new publicity to the movement.
Oct. 2: Across the Aisle Foundation, the educational arm of No Labels, hosted the First 100 Days of the 113th Congress event
Across the Aisle Foundation hosted 300 congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle in a discussion about problem solving. The panel of speakers was moderated by MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and included Sen. Evan Bayh, Rep. Tom Davis, RealClearPolitics Editor Carl Cannon, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, Gov. John Engler, and No Labels Co-Founders Mark McKinnon and Bill Galston.
Aug 2: Congress Passes Legislation to Reduce Number of Executive Positions -- a No Labels proposal
In August, the House of Representatives joined the Senate and approved S. 679, legislation that reduces the number of executive positions subject to Senate confirmation. Decreasing the number of executive positions to come in front of the Senate for confirmation is one of the most important proposals in No Labels' Make the Presidency Work! action plan. Senator Joe Lieberman partnered with Senators Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander, and Charles Schumer to lead the effort to pass the legislation in June 2011, following an agreement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The House followed suit in August.
Other presidential appointment reform proposals outlined in No Labels’ Make the Presidency Work! action plan include calling for an up-or-down vote on all presidential nominations after 90 days and having the president identify a “slate that can’t wait” of critical nominees for expedited confirmation.
July 13: No Labels releases Make the Presidency Work! action plan
The Make the Presidency Work! action plan is part of No Labels’ ongoing effort to overcome the dysfunction, gridlock and hyper-partisanship that prevents us from dealing with our profound national challenges.
This plan comes on the heels of our Make Congress Work! action plan, which featured a dozen common sense proposals to reform the outdated rules, procedures and traditions in the House and the Senate.
“If the proposals were enacted, the next president would have more latitude to reorganize the government, appoint his own team, reject special-interest measures and fast-track his own initiatives through Congress. But he would also be called on to interact more regularly with lawmakers, reporters and the public.” wrote Peter Baker in The New York Times.
March 14: Senate committee holds hearing on Make Congress Work! action plan and Mark McKinnon talks with Stephen Colbert
"This proposal is like a legislative scream," said Sen. Joe Lieberman as he opened a historic hearing on the No Budget, No Pay Act and other proposals in No Labels’ Make Congress Work! action plan in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Jim Cooper, the bill sponsors, testified before the committee calling on Congress to fix itself.
Five other senators on the committee attended including Sens. Susan Collins, Ron Johnson, Scott Brown, Mark Pryor and Tom Coburn. No Labels Co-Founders Rep. Tom Davis and Bill Galston also testified, and Galston noted that “It’s very rare for the institution to hold a hearing on ways to fix itself.”
That night, No Labels Co-Founder Mark McKinnon went on The Colbert Report to share the successes of the No Labels movement with Colbert Nation.
Jan. 24: President Obama endorses reform no. 2 in our Make Congress Work! action plan
It was a No Labels kind of night when President Obama gave his 2012 State of the Union address. First, Obama took a page right out of our Make Congress Work! action plan. “I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days,” Obama said.
In addition, more than 200 members of Congress bucked decades of tradition and sat with lawmakers from the opposite party during the address. Bipartisan seating was point no. 10 in the plan. Click here to read more about our plan to change the rules and fix what’s broken in Washington.
Jan. 23: No Labels holds town hall teleconference with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, business leader and more than 200,000 citizens
More than 200,000 Americans joined a No Labels town hall teleconference with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL) and Tim Griffin (R-AR), and Panera Bread Founder & Executive Chairman Ron Shaich, moderated by Kiki McLean, to talk about how to Make Congress Work!
“When you talk about common sense ideas, I know that you'll find a lot of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who have so much in common - and No Labels is bringing us together,” Sen. Manchin said on the call. Click here to listen to the call recording.
Jan. 23: iTunes releases and features the No Labels Anthem in its music store
When Grammy award-winning R&B artist Akon heard about No Labels, he was so inspired by the movement that he stayed up all night to write a song. The result, the "No Labels Anthem,” performed by Broadway superstar Deborah Cox, went live in the iTunes music store in January 2012 and was featured on the R&B page. Click here to buy your copy of the song now for just 99 cents or set it as a ringtone on your iPhone for a $1.29.
Dec. 13: No Labels launches Make Congress Work! action plan on Capitol Hill
On Dec. 13, No Labels launched its campaign to change the rules and fix what's broken. Click here to learn more about Make Congress Work!
Sept. 6: No Labels Town Hall with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
More than 100,000 citizens joined Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, No Labels Co-Founders John Avlon, Lisa Borders and Robert S. Kaplan, and President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Maya MacGuineas, in a virtual town hall to talk solutions to the problems plaguing America. A total of 88 percent of the callers agreed that political gridlock is a problem in Washington and 79 percent stated that they would feel better if a bipartisan debt reduction package was passed.
August: Town Hall Research
In August, No Labels surveyed every member’s office of the House of Representatives to compile detailed information about town hall meetings. Through this research, we found that only 44 percent of representatives were holding public town hall meetings over their August recess. Our research was featured in publications across the country from The Drudge Report to United Press International and Yahoo News. Soon after, a number of members of Congress announced plans to host additional town hall meetings.
July 18: Citizen Leaders Meeting
A total of 250 No Labels leaders from across the country attended our second Citizen Leaders Meeting to meet each other and share best practices. After the discussion, they rallied at the Capitol to demand sensible solutions to the debt-ceiling crisis. Our gathering attracted national media attention in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and many other news outlets.
June 1: No Deal, No Break
No Labels launched the “No Deal, No Break” campaign to demand that Congress delay its recess until it reached a solution on the debt crisis. The campaign was successful. No Labels was the first group to call for Congress to stay in session, and President Obama and Republican leadership adopted the No Labels language, including the popular phrase “everyone at the table, everything on the table.” The press acknowledged our role in keeping Congress in session: Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor stated on NPR that No Labels’ messaging “had a huge impact in getting the Senate to come back.”
March 1: Citizen Leaders Meeting
No Labels hosted a training sessions for its citizen leaders. Training included tools for organizing, hearing from prominent leaders, and updates from Capitol Hill.
Later that day No Labels hosted a press event on the East Side of the U.S. Capitol calling for a timely and constructive approach to solve the nation’s fiscal challenges. More than 200 state leaders from more than 40 states - representing tens of thousands of No Labels members across the country - joined together with a clear message: “Everyone at the table, everything on the table.”
Jan. 25: State of the Unity
No Labels supporters organized 500 bipartisan watch parties for President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address. During the speech, No Labels posted a “unity meter,” tracking how many times the President received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle. This measure was then compared to instances of bipartisan applause for presidents during each State of the Union since 1978. The day after the speech, 11 senators met with No Labels live on Capitol Hill to offer their comments on the State of the Union.
Dec. 13: No Labels Launch
More than 1,000 No Labels supporters from all 50 states gathered at Columbia University to mark the official launch of the movement. Including such prominent figures as Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the event featured a lineup of speakers, from journalists to elected officials to business leaders, and captured 52 million media impressions.
Speakers like former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), David Brooks, David Gergen, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all gathered in one room to share common ideas and sentiments about the need for constructive civility. No Labels supporters had an open debate over how to solve problems practically and find common sense solutions.