U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson has stellar conservative credentials. A third-term congressman, he's a Republican from Howard Township in Centre County, a little more than 20 miles from State College. He supports the rights of gun owners, opposes abortion and supports repeal of Obamacare.
But Thompson, who represents about a third of the land mass in Erie County that is now in the 5th District, has worked with Democrats on such issues as improving care for veterans, education funding, forestry policies and natural gas development.
Now he has taken another step to help alleviate the gridlock that hangs up legislation and frustrates middle-of-the-road voters. On July 18, Thompson announced that he has joined the No Labels group, with members from both the House and the Senate.
“I reach across the aisle on every single piece of legislation I introduce. It's the only way to actually get something done in this town. But this group is looking to create a larger dialogue and greater trust among members of Congress from different parties and with different philosophies,” Thompson said. “It's a constructive group that is looking to advance solutions on a nonpartisan basis, which I support.”
In an April 21 story by John Guerriero, Thompson described his commitment to bipartisanship. “Some hills I'm not going to climb, but on most issues we can find common ground,” he said then.
Thompson and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, had just introduced a bill to eliminate a five-month waiting period for disabled military members to receive Social Security Disability insurance benefits. Guerriero asked Loebsack if voters were tired of partisan fighting. “Tired of it? You're being diplomatic. They're incredibly fed up with it,” Loebsack said. It's difficult to get consensus on big items, Loebsack admitted, “but where we can try, we ought to do that. Maybe we can start here and do something bigger later.”
The No Labels group is sponsoring nine bills to make government more efficient, effective and less wasteful, Thompson said. The federal government is bound to become more efficient, effective and less wasteful if more members follow in Thompson's footsteps and join No Labels.