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Bipartisan Seating

Make Congress Work

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

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10 Bipartisan Seating

The Problem

Prior to President Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech, some members of Congress agreed to leave their partisan encampments and sit next to someone from the other party during the address. The fact that this was considered unusual and even exceptional speaks volumes about the low bar that's been set for cooperation in Congress.

More often than not, seating in Congress resembles boys and girls at a middle school dance, with each side keeping an (un)comfortable distance from one another. Even the seating on House and Senate committees – which are supposed to carry out the business of government and not the business of parties – usually has Democrats and Republicans on opposite sides.

The No Labels Solution

It's time to curb the cliques in Congress. At all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party. On committees and subcommittees, seating also would be arranged in an alternating bipartisan way (one member would be seated next to at least one member of the other party) by agreement between the chair and ranking member. One option would be to arrange bipartisan seating in order of seniority.

This proposal can be imposed by House or Senate leadership.

BACK

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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

  • 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.
  • March 23, 2015
    Nick Laughlin
    Much like your irresponsible sibling, the federal government can't resist spending even when the money isn't there. In order to maintain this habit, the government consistently borrows money from others, including countries like China. The result of this borrowing is an ever-growing mountain of debt.

No Labels National Strategic Agenda