The Problem

“If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?” It’s supposed to be a joke, but it’s an unfortunately accurate description of our current Congress.

Congress can hardly agree to name a post office, let alone fix our tax code, curb the deficit or reform our immigration system. Partisanship and legislative game-playing is allowing a small number of congressional members to block consideration of most legislation. Progress is being held hostage to political paralysis, and the joke is on us.

The No Labels Solution

Twice a year, the president should be able to introduce legislation directly to Congress for a fast-track vote, which would allow the legislation to pass with a majority vote and without amendments. To qualify for fast-track status, legislation would require 10 sponsors from each party in the House and five sponsors in each party in the Senate. Bipartisan presidential commissions would have similar fast-track authority for their final report if it is in legislative form.

Congress has granted the president similar authority to negotiate trade deals in the past, and some states allow their governors to submit their budgets as fast-track bills. It’s time to grant the president this limited fast-track authority to bypass partisan obstruction and make progress on our nation’s most pressing challenges.