Seeking a softer approach and a marketplace-of-ideas collaboration, Capitol Hill lawmakers have formed a new bipartisan caucus on problem-solving, The Hill reports.
Acknowledging a deep political fracture that has seen failure to compromise wreck reform in Washington, several members of Congress renewed their commitment to working together on issues geared at improving the economy and helping to guide the next president in 2016.
Their come-together spirit was on full view Wednesday as the lawmakers attended the No Labels Summit, a meeting hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Among those spearheading the effort were Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, who noted the off-putting discord he felt when first joining the Senate after serving as his state's governor. He said he was driven by his own fear of handing off a nation in worse shape than it was to the next generation. He hoped many more would cross the political aisle in the name of prosperity.
“We don’t cross the aisle that much, we don’t cross the aisle in our own Senate,” he said candidly of the divide, The Hill reports.
Added Utah Sen. John Huntsman, a No Labels, co-chairman: "The big stuff we have to get right, which is not being done. People are becoming more and more divided."
The group touted a National Strategic Agenda on Wednesday with four bipartisan and consumer-focused goals: create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years; balance the federal budget by 2030; secure Medicare and Social Security for another 75 years; and make America energy secure by 2024, Real Clear Politics
reported, noting that more than 80 lawmakers had signed onto the group.
Future No Labels events are set for New Hampshire and Iowa next months as primary season goes into its final days. The group noted that it hopes to create an agenda that will help the next president shape goals and get action.
More than 200 officials attended the meeting in Washington Wednesday, representing federal, state and local interests. The group also included former lawmakers and policy experts, the Associated Press
"When there's this gridlock, there are no winners," Rep. Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat and a No Labels supporter told the AP. "Congress is broken and there's no silver bullet…. It's a frustration for members. Red state or blue state, a lot of us would feel much better if we moved forward a bit."
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