Question Time for the President
In January 2010, President Obama attended a House Republican retreat to publicly debate the merits of the president’s proposed healthcare law. For a few hours at least, the American public got to see our leaders engage and truly debate with one another.
We haven’t seen anything like it since. Today the president and members of Congress can more often be found talking past one another through the media. The issues facing our country are too important to be decided by a war of partisan talking points. Let’s get the ideas on the table, debate them and let the American people decide.
The No Labels Solution
We should take a cue from the British Parliament’s regular questioning of the prime minister to create question time for the president and Congress. These meetings occasionally may be contentious, but at least they force leaders to actually debate one another and defend their ideas. Here’s how it would work: on a rotating basis the House and Senate would issue monthly invitations to the president to appear in the respective chamber for questions and discussion. Each question period would last for 90 minutes and would be televised. The majority and minority would alternate questions. The president could, at his discretion, bring one or more cabinet members to the question period and refer specific questions to them.