Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
HOW CAN WE FIX THE SENATE? Self-restraint, according to Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). One of the biggest barriers to progress in Congress is that members too often try to lard bills with irrelevant amendments that have nothing to with the intent of the bill at hand. Fortunately, Sen. Levin and Alexander have a solution. They have encouraged their colleagues to allow more bills to come to the floor by majority vote (instead of the usual 60 vote threshold), so long as the Senate Majority Leader agrees to consider all amendments that are relevant to the bill that is being debated. And this week’s postal reform bill served as a great example of how this idea can make Congress work better. The majority and minority agreed to bring the postal reform bill to the floor. The majority leader asked that all amendments be relevant to the legislation at hand -- and all senators eventually agreed. Then, both parties debated the substantive issues -- passing 19 out of 39 amendments. This is how legislative progress is made, and we need more senators like Levin and Alexander willing to find common-sense ways to move us forward: Carl Levin and Lamar Alexander for The Washington Post: Fighting Senate gridlock through self-restraint
PROCRASTINATION: Lawmakers in Washington have long delayed addressing America's long-term problems. Many expect the Senate to wait for a lame-duck session to make any progress. But with so many issues punted, it seems there will not be enough time in a lame-duck to solve every problem -- and many will be pushed farther into 2013: Erik Wasson and Bernie Becker for The Hill: Lawmakers already talking of punting big issues to 2013
OPINION OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT 15-YEAR LOW: Only 1/3 of Americans view the federal government favorably. Meanwhile, most Americans view their local and state governments favorably: Alexandra Jaffe for National Journal: Public Opinion of Federal Government at 15-Year Low
STAT OF THE DAY: America is willing to compromise, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Ninety-four percent of people who used the group's deficit calculator reduced the budget deficit through some combination of tax reform and spending cuts. Eighty-two percent of Republicans supported letting some Bush-era tax cuts expire and 71 percent of Democrats favored raising the retirement age: Jason Zweig for the Wall Street Journal: Crowdsourcing a Debt-Crisis Solution
ACTION OF THE DAY: Thank Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on Facebook or click here to send them a tweet thanking them for their leadership in encouraging senators to show self-restraint by agreeing to stop larding up legislation with irrelevant amendments. This is a small, but important step in the right direction to making Congress work again.