Hope for Cooperation?
With the election behind us, our elected leaders are beginning to outline an agenda for the incoming Congress (though lawmakers cannot overlook the fact that there is so much to do in the upcoming lame-duck session). Will both parties find common ground, or will there be more gridlock? Positive statements from the White House and House Republican leaders are worth highlighting. Even though there will be much that the Democrats and Republicans disagree over in the coming months, both sides have said some encouraging words regarding bipartisan collaboration.
Current House Minority Whip and likely House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote a letter to House Republicans outlining his ideas for their new agenda. Representative Cantor, among other things, writes that spending cuts are an important part of the upcoming House agenda. CRFB hopes that these cuts will be meaningful and part of a larger plan to reduce our long-term fiscal imbalance. Cantor proposes that the House hold weekly votes on spending cuts proposed through the YouCut initiative, continue the ban on earmarks, vote regularly on rescission bills, and reform the budget process. Additionally, referring to entitlement programs, he wrote:
"We must outline our proposals, encourage the minority party (and the President) to offer their own, and have a serious discussion about the impact of each alternative. Our efforts will set the stage for concrete action."
We completely support this sentiment. This is exactly the right framework to encourage a discussion of the budget tradeoffs. If you don’t want taxes, you have to be wiling to cut more spending, and visa versa, in order for us to responsibly address our fiscal problems down the road.
Furthermore, President Barack Obama has also signaled a willingness to work with both sides and, as reported by the media, has invited leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss the upcoming agenda. Again, this is exactly the right sentiment and we applaud the President (just as we do for the House Republican leaders) for acknowledging that both sides of the aisle will have to come together to solve our fiscal, and other, problems. Now we simply hope that both sides are sincere as these problems are much too important and time-sensitive to endure more Congressional gridlock.