Kathleen Gayle contributed to this post.
BPC recognizes Representative David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) for their bipartisan efforts on the Energy and Commerce committee. The pair introduced H.R. 3565: The Biennial Commission on Energy Policy Act of 2013 in November of 2013, and have continued to be amicable, regardless of their political affiliation. The legislation would amend the Department of Energy Organization Act to create a commission to develop energy policy reform.
The two initially came together to address the common goal of a establishing a comprehensive energy plan for the future. Both Reps. McKinley and DeGette agree that an energy plan would provide both jobs and affordable energy to Americans. The Commission comprised of economists, engineers, and experts from various energy sectors, would create the country’s first, comprehensive energy policy. To do so, it would analyze current energy laws and sources, and acquire the proper funding to carry out its objective.
Energy development will be critical to national security, economic strength and the U.S. sustaining global power. The Members see the importance of reaching across party lines for issues crucial to the nation’s future.
Reps. DeGette and McKinley have extended their bipartisanship outside the chamber to the diamond. On May 20, 2014 they co-hosted, along with Rep. Napolitano (D-CA), their second annual “Night with the Nationals” where they invited both Members and their staff to come together to enjoy a night of baseball. They brought together more than 800 people, representing both parties, from Capitol Hill.
Their goal is to get all House Members to attend in order to foster stronger, personal, bipartisan relationships. The trio collected over $6000 for the National Guard Youth Foundation, a program that gives youth who have dropped out of school a second chance. Both years the event has been a huge success and they plan to continue to make it an annual event. In the midst of such tight Congressional gridlock, Reps. McKinley and DeGette have hit this one out of the park.
Kathleen Gayle serves as an intern with the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network.
From the Americans with Disabilities Act to Campaign Finance Reform to No Child Left Behind and more, many significant legislative achievements have been successful due to cross-party collaboration. Rather than lamenting cooperation as a relic of days gone by, the Bipartisan Champions series will highlight current lawmakers who are working across the aisle and getting things done. By showcasing those who are putting partisan differences aside in order to put national interests first, BPC hopes to encourage more of this activity among our elected leaders in Washington, DC.