Members of Congress introduce bipartisan legislation as the ‘Problem Solvers’

July 18, 2013

(No Labels)

Today, more than 70 House and Senate members who have banded together to form a bipartisan coalition introduced a legislative program of nine bills designed to "make government more efficient, effective and less wasteful."

In the same branding vein of the Blue Dogs and the Young Guns, the group has named themselves the "Problem Solvers," though they say they demand inclusiveness, not exclusiveness of people from all party affiliations.

The group was unveiled in January by No Labels, a political nonprofit spearheaded by former Governor Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Members have agreed to meet regularly and try to build a sense of trust in the spirit of bipartisanship.

The legislation introduced today includes bills like "No Budget, No Pay," which stipulates that if Congress cannot pass a budget and all annual spending bills on time, members will not be paid. At the event, more than 70 "Problem Solvers" were introduced individually and each gave a short address to a crowd that included many of their own staffers.

"In Washington, compromise has actually become a dirty word," Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) said. "Working together to get things done is a big breath of fresh air for the American people."

During the debate over the Senate's recent immigration bill, a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates showed that 73 percent of Americans, including 66 percent of Republicans, favored the bipartisan effort to provide a road map for citizenship on the immigration bill. Climate change has prompted a similar desire for collaboration. Before President Obama's address on climate change last month, a Georgetown Climate Center poll showed that 87 percent of Americans, including 78 percent of Republicans, supported EPA action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Some issues are more quick to engender partnership than others, however. A Pew Research Center poll reported in 2012 that there were sizable partisan gaps when it came to the issue of Social Security. But the second most divisive issue was the environment, which has since seen an increase in bipartisan support.

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @ruthetam.
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Aaron Blake · July 18, 2013