Entries in Bipartisan (14)


ABC News Exclusive: Retiring Members Talk ‘Dysfunctional’ Partisanship, ‘Strangling’ Special Interest Money and Greatest Disappointments

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an ABC News exclusive interview, four retiring representatives sat down with Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl for a candid look back on their time serving in Congress.   The two Democrats and two Republicans, all defeated in their bids for re-election, found common ground on the need for bipartisanship, the negative impact of special interest money and their disappointment about what they call "the dysfunction" in Congress.

 Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who lost his GOP Gubernatorial primary bid, had some strong last words about the state of Congress as he sees it.

 “Congress is more dysfunctional today than when I got here 16 years ago and probably more dysfunctional than any time in the 53 years I’ve been alive,” he told Jonathan Karl.

Wamp added his greatest disappointment has been watching the erosion of the unity formed in the aftermath of 9/11.

Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, who lost to Republican Bill Flores, echoed Wamp’s concern over the increasing divide among Republicans and Democrats.

“I think that there’s more partisanship today than I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been in Congress,” Edwards said. “I think the partisanship might get uglier before American people finally blame one party or the other. And express their views at the ballot box.”

Edwards added he there was still bipartisanship happening, albeit behind the scenes, but the more cooperative interaction among members doesn’t hit the radar as much as the conflicts.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., defeated by Republican Frank Guinta, said the media’s focus on negativity paints an unfair picture.

“I have listened to people on television say things like, ‘Well, everybody’s on the take in Washington,’ as if that’s a given fact.  And I think it just makes people more cynical about the whole process,”  Shea-Porter said.  “That’s not true.  That’s not true at all.”

Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., was taken out in his primary by Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell.  Castle said that the more alarming division he sees is amongst members of his own party.

“It was one thing when you were dealing with Democrats and Republicans.  Now you’re dealing with divisions within your own party,” he said.

Castle, a known centrist, also commented that working with the other party has come to be viewed as  a sin.

“I mean, I know I suffered in my primary defeat on the basis that I had supported some Democratic legislation, supported the president from time to time.  And that was treated as a great sin,” Castle told ABC News.

The four retiring members also expressed concern over special interest money. Congresswoman Shea-Porter said watching its growing influence has been her biggest disappointment.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mitch McConnell Lays Out Legislative Priorities; Talks Bipartisanship

Photo Courtesy - The White House/ Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Fresh out of his meeting with President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told ABC News he sees at least two areas where Republicans and Democrats can work together as the 111th Congress expires.

"One thing I think we all agreed on at the White House was that we ought to do first things first and what the American people want to know is are my taxes going up and how are you going to fund the government," McConnell told ABC News.

When it comes to bipartisan cooperation during the lame duck session, the stakes are high and get higher as final adjournment creeps closer. Emergency unemployment insurance expired Tuesday night.  Friday, funding for the federal government runs out and, in a little over a month, the Bush tax cuts will expire.

Republicans support extending Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, while the president and Democrats, citing the burden on the deficit of across-the-board tax cuts, say that extension should not apply to the wealthy.

McConnell signaled a willingness to compromise on how long to extend the tax cuts but drew a red line on the issue of extending them for everybody, regardless of income level.

"One hundred percent of Senate Republicans and several Senate Democrats believe we should not be raising taxes on anybody in the middle of a recession," McConnell said.  "We can discuss how long this existing extension of tax policy should be."

The dialogue between Republicans and Democrats will continue in January when congressional leaders join the president at Camp David.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Bipartisan Congressional Meeting Kicks Off at White House

Photo Courtesy - The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will meet with the bipartisan congressional leadership at the White House on Tuesday, in what the administration has cast as the first of many meetings.

"I think this is the first of many, many meetings over the course of the next several years as Democrats and Republicans, the White House and Congress are going to have to work together to solve some very difficult problems," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Among the expected attendees are Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Forefront on the table to discuss is tax cuts and the ratification of the new START Treaty in the lame-duck session of Congress.  But the meeting is also intended to spark a new relationship.

“I think this is the beginning of a new relationship with leaders in the House and the Senate," Gibbs said.  "I think this is the beginning of a longer-term conversation about how we get to compromises on issues that we know are important for the American people.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Democrats Say Vote On Tax Cuts Likely Delayed Until Lame-Duck

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats acknowledged Thursday that they will almost definitely delay a debate and vote on extending the Bush tax cuts until the lame-duck session after the November elections.  “The reality is nothing’s going to happen before the elections,” the Senate’s number-two Democrat Dick Durbin said after a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon.  While Durbin said Majority Leader Harry Reid “will make the final decision,” the Illinois lawmaker admitted that “the likelihood of our passing anything by way of tax extensions is very very slim.”  Durbin also emphasized the difficulty of finding a "bipartisan answer to the challenges we face.” As Democrats themselves acknowledged Thursday, they are a party divided.  "Opinions were all over the place,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., of the caucus meeting. Bayh, who is retiring this fall, has broken with his party to support an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  The tax cuts will expire on January 1st unless Congress acts.

Copyright 2010 -- ABC News Radio.

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