In 1983, President Ronald Reagan partnered with Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders to pass a historic bipartisan bill to keep Social Security solvent for the next generation.
It's the type of cooperation no one expects to see in Washington anymore.
Even though President Reagan and Republican House leaders like Bob Michel were conservative and Democratic leaders like House Speaker Tip O'Neill were liberal, they managed to make headway on everything from entitlement to tax reform because they made an effort to build personal relationships. They met regularly to have drinks, tell jokes and ultimately, get things done.
In today's Congress, almost every meeting or get-together is partisan with legislative problem solving taking a back seat to discussion of how to stick it to the other side.
Republican and Democratic leaders have allowed virtually every meeting to turn into a partisan pep rally. So they're the ones who need to help change the agenda to focus on solving real problems.
Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee as a forum for discussing both legislative agendas and substantive solutions. The committee would meet weekly and (subject to mutual agreement) monthly with the President.
This committee would include the President pro tempore of the senate, the speaker of the house and the Senate and House majority and minority leaders. It would also include four open slots for any two members of the Senate and of the House, which would be determined by lottery on a rotating basis, each Congress.
This proposal can be imposed by House or Senate leadership.