To many, it feels like the United States has reached a point of no return when it comes to bipartisan leadership. With deeply rooted issues such as racism, immigration, and national debt, it’s hard for people on both sides of the aisle to find a middle ground that appeases both party’s bases.
Congressional experts, however, claim that this divide does not have to be for good. Instead, they suggest several ways that the US can rebuild a bipartisan effort that works to establish the best policies for all citizens of the United States, no matter their political allegiance.
Formation of the Bipartisan Committee
The House Modernization of Congress Committee, also known as the “Fix Congress Committee,” is made up of six Democrats and six Republicans. The committee was formed so that both parties could come up with guidelines for working together, taking the stress of reaching bipartisan agreements off of congressional staffers, party members, and other leading officials.
The group was established in the midst of President Trump’s impeachment inquiry and on the cusp of the global COVID-19 pandemic, giving the committee members an even greater challenge, as each of these landmark situations only added fuel to the fire for party leaders and members alike. Nevertheless, they were able to come up with as many as 97 suggestions for how Congress can work together to repair the seemingly irreversible political divide.
Allowing Caucus Intervention
Similar to the Fix Congress Committee, the Problem Solver Caucus was created in 2017 by No Labels, a political organization that fights for bipartisan cooperation in an effort to increase reform efforts. The Caucus contains an equal number of congressional members from both parties, with a total of 56 members.
The Problem Solver Caucus has focused thus far on hot-ticket items like healthcare reform, which remains one of the biggest divides between Democrats and Republicans. While both sides are still struggling to agree on what reform looks like, the Caucus is hopeful that continued efforts will yield positive bipartisan results.
Both the Fix Congress Committee and the Problem Solver Caucus agree that diversity must become a priority to achieve a truly bipartisan delegation. Democrats in particular stress that a lack of diversity amongst congressional staffers and core members makes it difficult for any bipartisan groups to offer up solutions that benefit people of all races, sexes, sexual orientations, and so forth.
The group has therefore encouraged congressional members to hire diverse staffers and to promote committee leaders from varying backgrounds, which many citizens and congress members feel has not yet been achieved. Nevertheless, Congress is now more diverse than ever, which will be a major win for bipartisan leadership moving forward.
When people’s livelihoods, and even lives, are at stake, it’s hard to compromise on goals and expectations for congressional bills. However, bipartisan congressional groups stress that “playing nice” is the only way for either party to ultimately get what they want.
This means being willing to make concessions on policies when one side of the aisle disagrees with them. Stopping bills in their tracks, experts say, is more harmful than beneficial to members of each party.
Finding the Bottom Line
The takeaway message from congressional members, everyday citizens, and political experts is that a return to true bipartisanship is achievable, but only if both sides are willing to play ball. Although there is still ample room for improvement, the creation of the Fix Congress Committee and Problem Solver Caucus suggests that Congress is closer than ever to finding a middle ground in which both sides can reside happily. The future of the United States depends upon it.