The level of extreme partisanship in Congress has left many believing there is no hope that current members of Congress will ever return to civility where members of both parties come together for the betterment of the country.
But, there have been several instances over the past year where Republicans and Democrats have come together, where a Republican or Democrat took the lead to bring members of both parties together behind a common cause – to do what is right. I believe the amount of controversy or lack thereof in some of these instances in unimportant.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) / Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Introduced the “Water for the World Act of 2012” to strengthen U.S. foreign assistance in water and sanitation without making additional demands on the foreign assistance budget.
Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Howard Berman (D-CA)
Introduced the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act aimed at reforming U.S. foreign assistance. Thirty original bipartisan co-sponsors joined in support of the legislation. The bill builds on bipartisan reform legislation introduced in the 111th Congress.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) / Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
Introduced the “Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2011" that would simplify the tax system, hold down rates for individuals and families, provide tax relief to the middle class and create incentives for businesses to grow and invest in the United States.
Rep. Nan Hayward (R, NY), Rep. Dan Lungren (R, CA), and Rep. Mike Thompson (D, CA)
Introduced renewable energy legislation designed to protect local communities’ ability to adopt an innovative clean-energy financing strategy that itself has attracted bi-partisan support from coast to coast.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Reps. Barletta (R-Pa.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), John Larson (D-Ct.), and Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) (and, 102 bipartisan signers).
Sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at the FY2011 level of $4.7 billion. In his FY 2013 budget.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK)
According to a recent Congressional Weekly study, these two legislators were the most willing to work across party lines in their respective houses during 2011.
Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY)
Rep Hochul speaks out repeatedly about the need for bipartisanship in Congress. Among her accomplishments, the passing of a bipartisan amendment in the House Committee on Homeland Security recommending the Department of Homeland Security include the northern border in its border strategy submission to Congress.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) / Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
Both Rep. Cooper and Sen. Heller are supporters of No Labels, a bipartisan group dedicated to breaking the partisan gridlock and sponsors of HR 3643 / S 1981, No Budget No Pay. The bills aim to force Congress to pass a budget and all associated appropriation bills on time or forfeit pay. There are 37 co-sponsors in addition to the 25 members of the Blue Dog Democrats in the House.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), John Campbell (R-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren
Released a draft proposal to address concerns with House and Senate bills that would crack down on piracy and counterfeit products on foreign websites. The proposal was an alternative to PIP and SOPA.
Reps Gwen Moore (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), John Campbell (R-CA), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Walter Jones, (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX)
Proposed an amendment which would have cut a $17 billion defense spending increase in half.
It specifically protected military personnel and would have prohibited reductions in military pay, health, and emergency war costs. They also wrote to President Obama and congressional leaders to demand cuts to the defense budget be part of meaningful deficit reduction.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Unveiled a bipartisan plan to revamp Medicare and make a fixed federal contribution to the cost of coverage for each beneficiary. The aim is to reshape the debate by addressing concerns that have provoked fierce opposition in the past.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Sen. Ron Wyden
Called on President Barack Obama to rally Congress to tackle tax reform this year. They offered a list of reasons they believe Democrats and Republicans in Congress can and should work together on a major overhaul of the federal tax code similar to what President Reagan achieved with a divided House and Senate in 1986.
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