One of the biggest barriers to solving problems in Congress is that many members literally sign away their ability to do it. A case in point: 238 House members have signed a pledge to never raise taxes. Another 110 members have signed a pledge to never cut any Social Security benefits. That's 80% of Congress refusing to even consider compromise on two of the biggest issues driving America's long-term budget deficits. Is it any wonder Congress can't balance our books?
These types of pledges have proliferated in recent years as a way for powerful interest groups to control members of Congress, and they've created a perverse dynamic in Washington. Members of Congress who stick to these rigid pledges are usually rewarded with more campaign cash and party support. Members willing to make tough decisions and think for themselves are punished with attack ads and primary challenges.
It's time to cut the puppet strings that allow narrow interest groups to control members of Congress. Members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.
This proposal simply requires members of Congress to individually change their behavior.