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Regular Meetings Between The President And Congressional Leadership

Make the Presidency Work

The No Labels Action Plan to Change the Rules and Fix What's Broken


11 Regular Meetings Between The President And Congressional Leadership

The Problem

At the end of a long day of political wrangling, President Reagan would often call Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, and ask, “Hello, Tip, is it after six o’clock?” “Absolutely, Mr. President,” the Speaker would answer. "After six o’clock" meant work hours were over, and the two leaders of their respective parties could put away their swords and bring out their Irish whiskey and wit.

In American politics today, it’s never after six o’clock. And that’s the problem.

Leaders from opposing parties increasingly don’t like each other, don’t listen to each other and hardly know each other. It took nearly 20 months for President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to meet one-on-one. And President Bush rarely met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Presidents regularly go months without speaking to congressional leaders of the opposing party, making delicate negotiations that require real trust and communication virtually impossible.

The No Labels Solution

In the tradition of Reagan and O’Neill, presidential candidates should commit to meet with majority and minority party leaders in the House and Senate at least once a quarter. That’s only four times a year. They can meet at the White House or on the Hill. Go golfing. Grab lunch. Just talk.

President Reagan once commented that O’Neill “can really like you personally and be a friend while politically trying to beat your head in.”

But Reagan and O’Neill were also willing to put their heads together to pass historic tax reform and to keep Social Security solvent. That never would have happened if they weren't initially willing to sit in the same room together.

It’s time for our current leaders in Congress and the White House to do the same.


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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

  • April 11, 2015
    No Labels
    No Labels co-founders Steve Odland and Congressman Tom McMillen speak with Admiral Paul Zukunft about the Coast Guard's priorities, as well as Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about the economy.
  • March 24, 2015
    No Labels
    What could possibly cause the senators to stay up past their bedtime? The not-quite-yearly but still semi-frequent budget reconciliation.

No Labels National Strategic Agenda