As we near our fiscal cliff deadline, No Labels co-founders Mark Mckinnon and William Gallston are issuing a new list of principles the House speaker and the President should consider when discussing our nation’s most pressing problem. As they note, in a Daily Beast column entitled, “With the Fiscal Cliff Looming, It’s Time to Take Politics Off the Table,” Americans are ready for “a rebirth of leadership” in Washington, one that puts an end to the partisan bickering and includes a steadfast commitment to problem-solving.
Write McKinnon and Gallston: “Only once in the past four years have Democrats and Republicans made significant progress toward an agreement—when President Obama and House Speaker Boehner met behind closed doors, with everything on the table.” That’s a lot of talk for very little progress.
That’s why on January 14, 2013, at the Marriott Marquis in New York, NY, No Labels will host a meeting titled, “Meeting to Make America Work,” to discuss how we can move forward on problem solving in Washington. At the meeting, No Labels will unveil two national leaders – one Republican, one Democrat – who will help guide the movement in 2013 and the organization will introduce a group of congressional Members who have signed on as members of the “Problem Solvers Bloc” in Congress. To RSVP to the January meeting, please send an email to January14@NEWPARTNERS.COM. For more information about the meeting visit http://meetforamerica.com/.
No Labels supports a range of common-sense proposals designed to reinvigorate problem-solving in Washington. Among them include the set of principles highlighted in today’s Daily Beast column:
“Tell the people the full truth. It’s time to stop playing around with budget baselines and phantom budget cuts. Stop pretending that small changes can meet big challenges. Tell us how big the problem is (including unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and federal employee future retirement benefits not shown “on the books”) and how much different approaches can contribute to solving it. Use charts, graphs, and language that citizens can understand. And once and for all, agree on the facts, so that we can spend our time on the real issues.
“Govern for the future. What’s at stake in the budget debate is nothing less than growth, opportunity, and fairness for all citizens. If we want to preserve our tradition of innovation and upward mobility, we must remove the uncertainty that hovers over our economy. And if we want to retain our global leadership, which has done so much to build peace and prosperity, we must convince other nations that we have regained the capacity to overcome our differences and govern ourselves once more.
“Put the country first. The election of 2012 is over. It’s time to stop wrestling for partisan advantage. Yes, there are sincere differences about what we must do to promote the national interest. But deep down, most of our leaders know that no one has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue. It’s time for them all to negotiate with a measure of humility.
“Take responsibility. We can argue forever about who is responsible for our current plight, but that won’t help us end it. Our elected officials have been charged with a grave responsibility—to make the decisions that will shape our future. No one can do it for them—not pollsters, not blue-ribbon commissions, not even elections. Our officials cannot escape their responsibility, and they should not evade it. The point is not to blame the other side for failure; the point is to succeed.
“Finally: work together. While each party can thwart the other’s plans, neither can impose its will on the other. Relearning the art of working across party lines is the only way of doing the people’s business. During the past generation, the parties cooperated and compromised to save Social Security, reform the tax code, and balance the budget. Yes, it’s harder than it once was: partisan divisions are deeper, and trust has all but disappeared. But that doesn’t change the basic fact that there are only two options: bipartisan compromise and success, or partisan gridlock and failure. There is no third choice, and it’s time for our leaders—all of them—to stop pretending that there is.
“Officials in both parties must level with their most fervent supporters: no matter how deeply we believe that we are right, we can’t get everything we want. And the longer we try to, the worse it will be for the country.
“It’s time for real leadership. And that means it’s time for truth.”