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USA TODAY: Can bipartisan group save this government?

USA TODAY

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On this, at least, there is no longer much partisan debate: The nation’s increasingly bitter political divide has tied Congress in knots, embattled the White House and undermined many Americans’ faith in their government.

A bipartisan group that includes former Senate majority leaders, Cabinet secretaries, governors, White House officials and others is releasing a 109-page report full of ideas large and small that the group says could help ease the friction that has contributed to fiscal cliffs, government shutdowns and a record low public approval rating for Congress.

The recommendations range from the nitty-gritty — such as limiting the use of filibusters in the Senate to block debate — to the aspirational. For instance, it calls on all Americans 18 to 28 years old to commit a year for some sort of service to their communities and the nation.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform unanimously endorsed the proposals after 18 months of deliberations that included four national “town halls” — at the Reagan Library in California, Constitution Center in Philadelphia, John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts and Ohio State University — that were co-sponsored by USA TODAY.

KEYWORDS: CONGRESS, POLITICAL POLARIZATION, COMMISSION ON POLITICAL REFORM, SUSAN PAGE, BPC OP-EDS