I’ve remained quiet during this last-of-the-campaign season, and for a reason. As you read from my mission statement for this blog, my purpose is to add to the wisdom, not to the noise.
And WOW is there ever lots of noise right now…
<shakes head sadly>
This morning I ran across some real wisdom from a truly bi-partisan group (yes, they still exist, amazingly) about ‘Fixing Government’. The big challenge remains to get them enacted as law. More law? Yes, because obviously the children in Congress can’t control themselves, so it’s apparent that the adults in the room are going to have to impose some order.
No Budget, No Pay
If Congress can’t pass a budget and all annual spending bills on time, members of Congress should not get paid.
Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointments
All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination.
Fix the Filibuster
Require real (not virtual) filibusters and end filibusters on motions to proceed.
Empower the Sensible Majority
Allow a bipartisan majority of members to override a leader or committee chair’s refusal to bring a bill to the floor.
Make Members Come to Work
Make Congress work on coordinated schedules with three five-day work weeks a month in DC and one week in their home district.
Question Time for the President
Provide a monthly forum for members of Congress to ask the president questions to force leaders to debate one another and defend their ideas.
Fiscal Report to Congress: Hear it. Read it. Sign it.
A nonpartisan leader should deliver an annual, televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress to ensure everyone is working off the same facts.
No Pledge but the Oath of Office
Members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.
Monthly Bipartisan Gatherings
The House and Senate should institute monthly, off-the-record and bipartisan gatherings to get members talking across party lines.
At all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party.
Bipartisan Leadership Committee
Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee to discuss legislative agendas and substantive solutions.
No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents
Incumbents from one party should not conduct negative campaigns against sitting members of the opposing party.
For my part, I applaud the Question Time as one tradition brought from Great Britain. Also we should adopt the 6-week campaigning period, as they have. Campaigns which operate outside the period are heavily fined, with the money coming straight from their publicity funding.