Many members of Congress, while on legislative break, can be heard lamenting the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C. The only problem is that it is old hat in Washington.
Most federal officials, Democrats and Republicans, come home during the summer recess and lament the lack of progress and bipartisanship on Capitol Hill and the lack of cooperation between Congress and the White House. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately.
While there is a growing need for legislation that benefits the country as a whole, truly bipartisan compromise on some big issues would have to be a two-way street. It’s time for everybody from President Barack Obama and Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans in control of the U.S. House of Representatives to get some work done.
Washington is at a standstill. Obama has not helped because he is too focused on keeping a partisan advantage for the 2014 midterm elections. He wants the Democrats to win back the House so he can ram through more legislation without the necessity of anything approaching bipartisan compromise.
In the meantime, he too is out lamenting lack of progress in Washington as if he has nothing to do with it. He then proceeds to lambaste the Republicans in almost the same breath. That type of tactic doesn’t help the situation.
On the other side, the Republicans control the U.S. House by sheer numbers, but leadership is so weak it’s difficult to get a handle on where they stand on issues from one minute to the next. Obama threatened a government shutdown in 2011 when the House raised objections to Obama and the Democrats governing through repeated use of continuing resolutions and increasing the debt limit. The solution to all of that was the Budget Control Act of 2011, aka sequestration. The $1 trillion in cuts that came from that deal, made over 10 years, have been painfully inexact. There has to be a better way to run the government and reduce the national debt.
Compromise in an era of divided government has happened before. In 1981 and 1986, President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, won major tax reforms with a Democratic Senate. In the 1990s, a GOP-led House and Senate initially clashed with Democratic President Bill Clinton, but then persuaded him to sign off on welfare reform and annual budgets that restrained spending.
Even though the atmosphere in Washington is bitter, bipartisan compromise is not impossible. Obama, the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House and others need to set aside the rhetoric and actually get something done on behalf of the people for the benefit of all.
The New Bern Sun Journal