Ideas. Action. Results.

Dialogue: The Annual Report Issue, 2015-16

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Proud, Principled, Pragmatic Partisanship.

The current election cycle is straining many of the core assumptions and institutions that sustain our nation’s unique brand of democracy. There is no question that our nation is divided. This is not a new feature in our pluralistic society, and it is certainly no excuse for a failure to govern. In Federalist No. 10, Madison envisioned the essential relationship between political freedom and political conflict writing, “Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire.”

In seeking to govern a divided nation, our goal must not be to reduce the distinctions that flow from our freedoms. Instead, we must embrace and engage our differences in the pursuit of broadly acceptable policy. At BPC, we practice what we preach.

The current election cycle is straining many of the core assumptions and institutions that sustain our nation’s unique brand of democracy.

Through BPC policy negotiations, we have come to understand the intense and often personal exchanges that are required to overcome heartfelt differences. While the diverse participants in our policy negotiations do not have to stand for election, they are by no means disinterested parties. BPC task force members have long histories and public positions on the issues under discussion. They often hail from communities and interest groups with well-defined interests, many are active in party politics, and, like all of us, they carefully guard their professional reputations and relationships.

Moreover, our project leaders understand that BPC projects are not remote academic exercises. Following the BPC credo—ALL TALK / ALL ACTION—project members commit at the outset of negotiations to publicly advocate for any consensus recommendations. There can be a lot on the line.

Over the next six months, BPC projects on expanding economic opportunity, infrastructure investment, defense reform, energy innovation, and evidence-based budgeting will pave the way for progress in 2017.

Our Impacts: Bipartisanship in Action

BPC influences change on Capitol Hill and at the agency level to ultimately have a positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans.

BPC took its constructive partisanship model to new audiences and issues in 2015, and our collaborative process resulted in meaningful success. The recommendations from our commissions and task forces can not only be found in our reports and on our website, but they have informed multiple pieces of legislation and federal regulation.

We have been behind the scenes on several of the most successful bipartisan efforts in the 114th Congress—whether we are working on investment in medical innovation, securing the electric grid from cyberattacks, or modernizing the approach to chemical safety.

Legislative Impact

The Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2015 contained several BPC Health Project recommendations, including payment incentives for physicians to participate in value-based payment models and more means-testing, as well as a two-year reauthorization of CHIP.

BPC’s Governors’ Council helped Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) champion an amendment to give governors more say in state education plans. It was included in the enacted Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.

The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015 that was enacted into law contained BPC Energy Project recommendations on securing the electric grid from cyberattacks.

The House-passed 21st Century Cures Act—critical legislation addressing medical innovation—included recommendations proposed by BPC’s Health Innovation Initiative on health information technology and medical innovation.

Regulatory Impact

Nine recommendations from BPC’s Health Project on the subjects of cost-containment and delivery reform were incorporated into Medicare regulations.

Recommendations proposed by the Health Innovation Initiative— both for how health information technology (IT) is regulated and for improving health IT interoperability—were incorporated into roadmaps published by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has adopted several of BPC’s Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s recommendations to improve FSOC transparency and enhancements to the process to allow systemically important financial institutions to shed that designation.

The Federal Reserve Board’s new requirement for Total Loss Absorbing Capital for the nation’s largest financial institutions broadly follows recommendations found in the 2013 too-big-to-fail report released by BPC’s Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative.

Project Highlights

Explore the latest work from BPC’s policy projects and get an inside look at what we have planned for the future.

Honoring the Late Sen. Robert F. Bennett

Earlier this year, BPC was saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Sen. Robert F. Bennett.

Bennett was a BPC senior fellow and former senator who served Utah from 1993 to 2011. He was a member of the BPC Commission on Political Reform, where he pushed to open up the electoral process and reform Senate rules.

“Bob Bennett’s life is a testament to honor, integrity, and good work. In an era of growing partisanship in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bennett always remained a strong voice for compromise and reason. He loved his family, loved his country, and left a powerful legacy of excellence in public service.”

BPC Senior Fellow and former Senator Byron Dorgan

To honor Bennett’s legacy of public service, BPC and Arent Fox—where Bennett was a senior policy advisor— have established the Robert F. Bennett Award.

The award is presented each summer to the BPC intern and Arent Fox summer associate who best exemplify Bennett’s commitment to public service and desire to make a difference.

By the Numbers

Highlights from BPC’s press, events, and digital teams.

Dialogue is the quarterly magazine of the Bipartisan Policy Center. 
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ISSN: 2473-800X (print) ISSN: 2473-8018 (online)