Tags: Bipartisan Policy Center | think tank | congress | daschle

Ex-Senators' Report: Congress Moving in 'Right Direction'

By    |   Monday, 20 Apr 2015 06:56 AM

A think tank that wants the legislative branch to be more bipartisan reported that lawmakers in the 114th Congress are doing a somewhat better job at cooperating, USA Today reported.

"There are signs that Congress is slowly beginning to move in the right direction: more working days in Washington, more regular order and more amendments in the Senate. But there is still less positive news on the number of cloture motions and House bills debated under open rules," according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

"I think it's fair to say we've made a little progress this year," said Tom Daschle, the former Democratic leader of the Senate. He co-founded the center in 2007 with former Senate leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

The center plans to issue a "healthy Congress index," a new quarterly report that will analyze how well the routine work of Congress is progressing. The criteria will include days in session, amendment votes, and filibusters. The center's position is that polarization had been exacerbated by a breakdown in the routine legislative process.

Former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, a member of the center, said that the American people should know if Congress is doing its job, USA Today reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have promised that the Republican-controlled Congress will return to a more traditional form of lawmaking known as "regular order," which emphasizes committee work and more open debate, USA Today reported.

The Republican-led Senate is permitting more amendments. "Amendments are bridge builders," said former Maine GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe, another member of the center. "They give both sides a chance to work together and compromise."

The Senate has so far seen "a significantly larger number of cloture votes than at the same point during the previous two Congresses," the center reported.

Senate Democrats say that they are a more responsible minority party, trying to cooperate rather than block the legislative process, according to Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid, USA Today reported.

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A think tank founded by a four former Senate leaders to prod the legislative branch to be more bipartisan reported that lawmakers in the 114th Congress are doing a somewhat better job at cooperating, USA Today reported.
Bipartisan Policy Center, think tank, congress, daschle
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2015-56-20
Monday, 20 Apr 2015 06:56 AM
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