BPC Blog

The women of the U.S. Senate persevere in their tradition of interacting past the work day, setting an example for a divided Washington

“The Women Who Saved the Country” is one recent headline that has emerged following the government shutdown debacle that nearly tore apart the nation. The entire affair yielded one group of winners: the women of the U.S. Senate. Despite the extreme partisanship that plagued both chambers of Congress, a small, bipartisan coalition led by Senator Susan Collins came together to determine the best course of action for the nation. And they succeeded.

Pamela Hughes Patenaude, director of the BPC Housing Commission, was recently named as a Woman of Influence in HousingWire Magazine. This esteemed group of women was chosen because of their contributions to the U.S. housing economy.

While technology breakthroughs are critical for a clean energy future, less glamorous incremental improvements are similarly important

Last week, BPC’s Margot Anderson participated in a panel discussion on the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s latest report, “Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus.” Provocative in tone, the report argues that a transition to a low-carbon energy system requires the development of new energy technologies that are much less expensive than the existing suite of clean energy technologies. The report concludes with several recommendations, including a recommendation to increase public investment in energy R&D to $15 billion annually—a target proposed by BPC’s American Energy Innovation Council in 2010 and referenced in Secretary of Energy Moniz’s Senate confirmation testimony earlier in 2013.

The negative impact of the sequester is just now starting to show up in the U.S. economy

The sequester’s impact on federal programs and on the economy revolves around a basic relationship – that between budget authority and actual spending, known as outlays. This inexact relationship remains key to understanding why we warned – both in our “Indefensible” report from 2012 and in our latest sequester report, titled “From Merely Stupid to Dangerous” – that the economic and national security effects of a sequester would not resemble a “government shutdown,” but would instead be a steady accumulation of slower growth and eroding defense over a period of two to three years. A sequester won’t turn off the federal government’s lights overnight; a government shutdown does.

A monthly roundup of events featuring Bipartisan Policy Center founders, senior fellows, project leaders and staff

Tuesday, November 5
8:30AM to 10:00AM
Who: Robin Schepper, Senior Advisor to BPC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative
What: At the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition, Robin Schepper will discuss the power of large institutions and community partnership in shaping healthy lifestyles, since large organizations hold tremendous potential to change the lives of millions of Americans. Robin Schepper will also explain the necessity for improved nutrition and physical activity to promote and enable healthy lifestyles.

Regrettably, it’s difficult to highlight bipartisanship in a month where political polarization brought us to a government shutdown and the brink of defaulting on our fiscal obligations as a nation.

Given the dysfunctional nature of Congress, even this minimal agreement might be looked on as progress, but the longer term challenges to the country’s fiscal future will remain for another Congress or even another President to address.

Earlier this year, Governors Hassan and Christie each reached bipartisan budget agreements with their legislatures

“Like all budgets, this plan required compromise and difficult decisions. But the overwhelming, bipartisan support for the priorities in this budget — job creation, public safety, education, caring for our most vulnerable citizens, and preserving our natural resources — demonstrates that our shared values as Granite Staters are far more significant than our differences,” Governor Hassan said.

Homeownership alone cannot solve all economic disparities, but it is an effective means of working toward that goal

Since the early twentieth century, the goal of homeownership has been almost synonymous with the American Dream. Because of the real and perceived benefits of owning a home, there has been a steady progression of governmental efforts to make this status achievable. Despite the longstanding national policy to encourage homeownership, however, a recent string of reports has presented some troubling news.

On showing up for work and doing their job, governors clearly have a better record than federal policymakers

We commend our federal colleagues for finding their way through to agreement on reopening the government and giving the federal government the authority it needs to borrow additional funds to meet its obligations. We regret that the agreement is only for a few months and unfortunately, we expect will result in a repeat of what we have just been through in late January 2014.

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