Lawmakers form bipartisan caucus on ‘problem-solving’

With only six weeks to go before the midterm elections, a bipartisan group of more than 90 congressional lawmakers has formed a “problem-solving” caucus aimed at working on a broad-reaching economic agenda.

At a No Labels summit at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Wednesday, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said Congress has a “failure to communicate” that has created a “toxic” atmosphere focused on politics and the next election.

Reps. Reed Ribble (R-Wis.) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) each put their support behind the formation of the new caucus.

{mosads}“The reason some of these problems have not been solved is because they are difficult to solve,” Ribble said.

He suggested that participants in the daylong summit “embrace the tension” between their differing ideas to find solutions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), co-chairman of No Labels, also urged Democrats and Republicans to work together toward forging an agenda and pressing forward with solutions.

Not long after arriving in Washington, Manchin said he quickly became disenchanted because he felt like the upper chamber was more focused on politics instead of policy.

He suggested that Washington could work better if lawmakers were more willing to not only gather support across the aisle but reach across the Capitol to those who are willing to put aside partisan politics.

“We don’t cross the aisle that much, we don’t cross the aisle in our own Senate,” he said.

Manchin said he want to be part of the first generation in U.S. history to “turn over the reins” of the country in worse shape than they received it.

“We’re trying as hard as we can to make sure this country moves us in the right direction,” Manchin said.

The No Labels group has outlined four major goals for its agenda — create 25 million jobs in the next decade, balance the budget by 2030, ensure the solvency of Medicare and Social Security for another 75 years and achieve energy security by 2024.

The organization plans to spend the next year filling in the details and will unveil it in New Hampshire and Iowa on Oct. 5, 2015, as the presidential campaigns ramp up.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R), a No Labels co-chairman and former U.S. ambassador to China, said the summit is aimed at collecting fresh policy ideas to reinvigorate the languishing agenda.

“The big stuff we have to get right, which is not being done, people are becoming more and more divided,” he said.

“You want to be part of something that will recreate some momentum toward some goals that are truly important for the United States in the 21st century.”

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