Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is Bipartisanship Still Possible in 2012?

The last few days have been overwhelming in the news with the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney’s tax returns, the Republican Florida debate, the State of the Union address, and Gabrielle Giffords’ resignation. Reading the news and hearing the rhetoric in press releases, I’m sure many in the nation have little hope for anything to get done this year in Congress. So is bipartisanship really possible in 2012?

The answer: yes. In the last few days there have been signs that bipartisanship is still possible in today’s hyper-partisan Washington. President Obama called for congress to follow the example of our military to work together regardless of our divisions. The No Labels organization has worked tirelessly to get many of its bipartisan initiatives adopted. Notably, according to their daily dose, they have been successful in the state of the Union bipartisan seating and President Obama endorsed the No Label’s proposal for all presidential nominees to get an up-or-down vote within 90 days.

Perhaps more telling that Washington can transcend its political divisions is the resignation of Representative Gabrielle Giffords. During the State of the Union speech, the House chamber roared with her arrival and hugging of the President Obama. During her resignation ceremony and introduction of her final bill, both Democratic and Republican representatives were supportive of Representative Giffords. Representative Jeff Flake, a Republican, is seen by her side for much of the ceremony. Her bill passed the House with a vote of 408-0. That means 93% of the House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill. It’s been a while since that kind of agreement has been reached in the much divided House of Representatives.

I wouldn’t expect that DC will be on fire with bipartisan proposals. Bills like Rep. Mica’s upcoming transportation bill will be a test, but I do have hope that Congress can work together this year to get some bipartisan initiatives done.

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