Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
13 DAYS: While the election is close to two months away, Congress remarkably only has 13 work days left before the election. When Congress returns on Sept. 10, it needs to pass a federal spending bill to prevent a government shutdown, find a solution for the farm bill as large parts of America deal with a record drought, help the U.S. Postal Service avoid a default and increase computer protection against cyberattacks. Representatives from across the ideological spectrum will need to work together if they are to find a way forward on these issues: Kathleen Hunter and Roxana Tiron for Bloomberg: Congress Has 13 Work Days Until Election for Must-Do Work
SHRINKING SPACE FOR PROBLEM-SOLVERS: One of the factors contributing to the gridlock in Washington is the disappearance of dissenting voices in Washington. The debate on issues ranging from education to health care has become increasingly one dimensional, with only two, highly partisan, sides to a given issue. The result? Less space for legislators to find common ground, giving problem-solvers less of a chance to find solutions: Ezra Klein for The Washington Post: How dissenting voices disappeared from Congress, in one table
CYBERDEFENSE NEEDED: Despite working hard to get their cyber-security bill passed before the August recess, lead sponsors of the bill Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, were unable to get Congress to follow their lead. Instead, organizations and businesses are now left open to the growing threats of cyber-exploitation and theft: Editorial Board for The Washington Post: Defenseless against cyberattacks
HYPER-PARTISAN TALKING POINTS: The increase in hyper-partisanship in Washington has led to an equally divided electorate around the country. The result, Ryan Mason argues is, "We can't have any political conversations anymore without them immediately devolving into hyperbolic, apocalyptic catchphrases." The solution? "The sooner we can move past the sensationalist hyperbole, move away from buying into everything our selected parties’ leaders say without even a modicum of questioning, the sooner we can deal with our national issues." Ryan Mason for Agree to Disagree: Meatless Monday Heresy and Why Hyperbolic Partisanship Must End
COMPREHENDING THE FISCAL CLIFF: The fiscal cliff is approaching in January and businesses have started to understand the magnitude of the situation. With the Congressional Budget Office saying the economy could contract in the first half of 2013 due to the cliff, "some business leaders seem to think the solution is for Congress to act as soon as possible to avert the spending cuts and to extend all of the tax cuts." As The New York Times notes, however, "This would mean no progress toward long-term deficit reduction." Any solution must address both short-term economic growth concerns and long-term fiscal health: The New York Times: Business Fears the Fiscal Cliff
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STAT OF THE DAY: The Pentagon has decided not to close domestic bases in response to the blind cuts that will be instituted as part of the fiscal cliff, in part to avoid congressional dissent. The last time such domestic base closures occurred was in 2005, netting the Defense Department roughly $8 billion in savings: Carlo Muñoz for The Hill: Panetta says Pentagon will drop base closure plans for fiscal year 2013