This month, BPC highlights two bipartisan duos that have taken steps to move significant legislation through Congress, which has brought renewed optimism that the tide may be slowly turning back to cooperation in Washington.
In December 2013, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that they had reached a bipartisan consensus on legislation that establishes the federal budget for the next two fiscal years and appropriates funding for government agencies and expenses. While the legislation increases spending, it also decreases the deficit through a series of cuts and revenue increases. The bill, which involved compromise and concessions from both Republicans and Democrats, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 12, 2013, and passed the Senate on December 18, 2013. It was presented to President Obama and signed into law on December 26, 2013.
Building upon the momentum established by Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray, the farm bill recently advanced in Congress due to the efforts of another bipartisan pair who have been working together to find common ground on agriculture issues. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) shepherded a five-year bill aimed at addressing a variety of issues related to the U.S. farming system through the House on a bipartisan vote. It now awaits consideration in the Senate.
While the recent efforts of Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray and Rep. Lucas and Sen. Stabenow to cooperate on significant legislative proposals may seem the exception rather than the rule, they are certainly steps in the right direction and show that there is a glimmer of bipartisan hope moving into 2014. Let’s keep it up!
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.