By Katie Allen
In the past 4 days we have spent a significant amount of time diving deeper into the big issues that face our country today: Budget, Immigration, Healthcare, and Governance. After listening to a number of truly enlightening speakers on both sides of the aisle we heard a wide variety of presentations. A reflection on all of these presentations raises a significant number of questions about the possibility of actual legislative change.
As the name of the seminar suggests, any resolution based upon any of the speeches given is going to need be bipartisan. It will take congressmen and women to reach across the aisle to find the best resolution for Americans.
One way of working towards bipartisanship is first finding issues that the parties can find common ground on. For example, a strong conservative and a strong liberal will not find common ground on many social issues because of ideological differences. However, if you have a conservative and a liberal who are both from rural Iowa, the probability of finding a common end goal on agricultural policy is much higher, if not definite. Likewise, both conservatives and liberals will agree that creating more jobs is important. This fundamental idea is exactly what No Labels, a bipartisan foundation, runs on. They look at economic issues that both parties may find common ground on in order to get the parties working together.
Membership to No Labels begins during candidacy. If No Labels decides to endorse a candidate it is because they have shown effort to work across party lines. The candidate can then sign the pledge, which involves a variety of different requirements. One of which includes attending problem solver meetings. This, in itself, is another tool in helping bipartisan solutions.
As individuals from Congress begin to spend more time together outside of the House or Senate floor they will begin to build relationships. When these meetings include people from either party they are likely to be able to discuss more freely and build trust, something that is nearly nonexistent in today’s political arena.
Currently there are 44 Republicans and 42 Democrats who have signed the pledge for No Labels. Hopefully, with success, these numbers will continue to grow and as a result, there will be an increase in bipartisan solutions. The changes at hand are not drastic or radical, but rather smaller incremental changes that may add up to a bigger picture.
Although some people over the past four days have voiced their concern that bipartisanship is impossible, foundations such as No Labels is making it possible once again.