Across the Aisle

Across the Aisle

Each week, No Labels profiles instances of substantive bipartisan legislation coming out of Congress. With hyper-partisanship and gridlock at an all-time high, we believe it’s critical to highlight bipartisan successes. By highlighting these legislative efforts, No Labels is not taking a position on the substance of the debated legislation but endorsing the process of finding common ground. Here are this week’s highlights:

Transportation Bill

More than 100 members of the House of Representatives have come together on a transportation plan that would improve our nation’s aging infrastructure. In a letter to President Obama, the group outlined the reasons why a long-term plan is needed and requested his support.

Transportation funding has been characterized by a series of short-term appropriation bills, often loaded down with earmarks. By putting together a six-year plan, the group seeks to provide the Department of Transportation the freedom to plan for the long-term and deal with some of the most pressing problems with our infrastructure.

Two Republicans, Aaron Schock (IL) and Pat Meehan (PA), and two Democrats, John Carney (DE) and No Labels Co-Founder Jim Cooper (TN) wrote the letter.

Supporters range the entire ideological spectrum. Our elected officials must continue to put country before party and come together to solve our country’s problems.

Payroll Tax Plan

Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have proposed a bipartisan bill that would extend the payroll tax holiday. Under their proposal, the payroll tax rate would remain at 4.2 percent, and the rate would be reduced for the first $10 million of payroll. This would be accompanied by a repeal of tax breaks for oil companies and a 2 percent surtax on millionaires. The surtax would exclude small business owners who report their business income on their personal taxes. This would provide incentives for business to create and preserve jobs with a special focus on preserving small businesses.

The co-sponsors hope this bill can bridge the partisan divide hampering this issue and be the foundation for a solution.

Joint House-Senate Hearing on Homegrown Terror

On Dec. 7, the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a joint hearing entitled “Homegrown Terrorism: The Threat to Military Communities Inside the United States.”
This hearing was the first meeting between the committees of both congressional houses since the House committee was established in 2005. The committees are chaired by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Sen. Joe Liberman (I-CT).

Bipartisan bicameral efforts to find solutions to America’s problems are all too rare on the current political stage. It’s events like this one, where people from both parties and both houses learn the same facts from the same people, that allow our leaders to find solutions.

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