The promise of a new year is exciting – it’s a time to refocus, set new goals and address those long-overlooked, lingering problems of the year before. It is a time to begin again. With the presidential election this year, Americans should feel empowered. This is the year we can begin our nation’s politics again and address the issues plaguing our government. We, the people, can once again shape the future of our nation by how we vote for president and Congress.
Our country’s governing systems and processes were crafted with a unique system of checks and balances to protect our freedom. These political systems, conceived almost 250 years ago by the Founding Fathers, work when utilized properly. It is human failure – or, more specifically, our addiction to partisan politics – that has landed us at a point in our political history when the our government seems paralyzed in the face of some of the greatest economic and security problems we have ever faced.
As we begin 2016, we are blessed with an opportunity: Elect people who will change course and reroute our nation’s politics, people devoted to fixing our nation’s problems rather than perpetuating themselves, a president who will work with leaders from both parties to get things done.
A look back at 2015 gives us some reason for hope for the future of bipartisanship: a spending bill approved through 2016, a bipartisan education reform bill overhauling the No Child Left Behind law, a bipartisan-supported transportation bill addressing our country’s aging infrastructure, a bipartisan bill supported by both former House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to restructure physician payments and reimbursements from Medicare.
Despite these recent successes in Washington, many more controversial pieces of legislation were left unresolved or unaddressed. These issues are hot-button and inflame a tensely divided voting populace, leaving little room for even the creation of sensible policy.
At this point in the presidential campaign, voters see very little overlap in the policies of Republican and Democratic candidates, putting Americans in a perilous position. Once elected, the next president cannot afford to focus solely on issues important to those who voted him or her into office. The success of the nation is contingent upon the president’s ability to work with the opposing political party to create solutions to problems that affect all Americans.
We at No Labels aim to drive our nation forward – together – and guide us toward a national strategy to tackle national problems. On January 11th, 2016, No Labels will recognize those presidential candidates who’ve agreed that our nation deserves a bipartisan approach to problem solving.
That’s what No Labels offers: a common-sense approach to governing, a return to the idea that a two-party system can function and can create a plan for a successful, sustainable future. This isn’t a novel idea, it’s simply an idea that’s been lost in the partisan divide of Washington.
The candidates who have made the No Labels Problem Solver Promise have embraced the National Strategic Agenda, agreeing to meet with leaders of Congress within the first 30 days of office and work toward at least one of the four goals of the National Strategic Agenda, a goal-oriented proposal for fixing our nation’s toughest problems. With input from Americans across the country, we’ve identified those issues and the road map to solving them: to create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years; balance the federal budget by 2030; secure Medicare and Social Security for the next 75 years; and make America energy secure by 2024.
This new year, 2016, has the potential to be the year of promise of better years to come. But the kind of promise is up to us – voting Americans. It could be the year of promise for our government, and our country, the year where dysfunction in Washington yields to sensible problem solving. Or, it can be another year of empty promises, full of hot air from presidential candidates pledging to voters what they think they want to hear but without explaining how those promises will be realized.
Human failure calls for human fixes. The Problem Solver Promise, to be recognized January 11 in Manchester, New Hampshire, is not an endorsement, but rather our attempt at No Labels to jumpstart the process. The fastest, quickest way to unite the country is to elect a president committed to setting goals together with the opposing party as soon as he or she enters the Oval Office. This can help voters identify which candidates are serious about that commitment. The solution will be found by sifting through the campaign promises and rhetoric, and holding those who have made the Problem Solver Promise accountable to their word to stop fighting and start fixing. A commitment by political leaders is the first step in fixing America’s government, but we, the people, are the ultimate solution.