Letter to the Editor

Battle Creek Enquirer

The partisan gridlock between the Congress and the president and the partisan gridlock in Congress itself, are destructive to the nation. In a new hateful and poisonous political atmosphere, “compromise” on political positions is forbidden or considered treasonous. The nation faces huge challenges ahead: the economy is slowly recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression; the looming $16 trillion in debt amassed after three decades of mismanagement, overspending and undertaxing; the solvency of Social Security and Medicare; our infrastructure and education system in need of investments. If the nation is to go forward, this partisan gridlock must be broken.

To this end, a new bipartisan group, No Labels, has proposed several reforms and ideas to improve the workings of the federal government. In brief, here are some of their reforms:

1) Congress's schedule – Three weeks in session and one week off, with House and Senate synchronized.

2) Fiscal state of the union – The executive branch should report annually to Congress on the nation's financial and fiscal outlook.

3) Senate – 90-day deadline to confirm presidential nominations.

4) Senate – Reform the filibuster. The filibuster used to be a rarely used and last resort measure to stop legislation. Today it is used regularly. Also the Senate obstructs progress with secret holds and “silent” filibusters.

5) A formal question time between the president and Congress, like the question period in the British parliament.

6) No pledges by Congress members except the oath of office.

There are many other proposals from No Labels to promote bipartisanship and cooperation. If you are interested in ending partisan gridlock in Washington, look into the No Labels website,, and consider joining. The group is open to independents, Republicans, Democrats – everyone.

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