Open main menu

No Labels is an American political organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in politics and "usher in a new era of focused problem solving in American politics".[1] It promoted the creation of the House Problem Solvers Caucus which has 48 members, evenly divided between Republican and Democrats to forge bipartisan cooperation on key issues.[2] Since its creation [3] the Caucus has proposed or supported bipartisan proposals on healthcare, infrastructure, immigration, border security, and gun safety, and was a participant in budget negotiations.[4][5]

No Labels
MottoStop fighting, start fixing.
FormationDecember 13, 2010; 8 years ago (2010-12-13) (public launch)
TypePolitical
Legal status501(c)(4)
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., U.S.
Region served
United States
Founders
Nancy Jacobson
Tom Davis (R)
National Leader
Joe Lieberman (I/D)
Websitewww.nolabels.org

The Speaker ProjectEdit

On June 21, 2018 No Labels announced an initiative entitled The Speaker Project, which proposed using the election of a new House speaker as leverage to make rule changes in order to give bipartisan ideas a fair hearing and "a fighting chance in the next Congress".[6]

Some of the rules changes proposed included:

  • Vacate the Motion to Vacate: The next Congress should revise the “Motion to Vacate” rule which enables any House member to demand a no-confidence vote of the speaker enabling a majority of those “present” to oust the speaker. The motion should be allowed only when one-third of the House  publicly signs a petition to force such a vote.[7]
  • An Opening for Amendments: Reduce the number of “closed rules” on proposed legislation. (A closed rule denies the minority party a chance to offer amendments on the House floor).[8]
  • Return to Regular Order: Have major legislation debated and crafted in appropriate committees, not leaders’ offices.[9]

In January 2019, the new Democratic majority in the House led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a comprehensive reform package that included House rules changes which No Labels had supported through The Speaker Project. As part of the package, Speaker Pelosi will create a “consensus calendar” that reserves time for bills with wide bipartisan support to be heard on the House floor.[10]

Other reforms included easing consideration of bipartisan amendments, and  making it harder for extremists on the House’s wings to threaten to oust the speaker. The hoped-for effect will be to promote legislation through compromise and limit the kind of showboating that blocked achievement during the recent Republican rule.[11]

Senate Hearings and Early ReformsEdit

BackgroundEdit

In December 2010, over 1,000 citizens from each of the 50 states gathered in New York to launch No Labels, a reform movement that calls on political leaders to work across partisan lines to solve America’s most pressing problems.[12] No Labels does not call for leaders to entirely shed their party affiliations, but simply to seek common ground and work together in a bipartisan fashion.[13]

In December 2011,[14] No Labels introduced its Make Congress Work! campaign, which proposed several reforms including No Budget, No Pay, Filibuster Reform, and an Up or Down Vote in 90 days.[15] No Labels subsequently released its Make the Presidency Work! and Make Government Work! initiatives.

Fast Track Presidential AppointmentsEdit

In his 2012 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama endorsed one of No Labels reforms, specifically that of requiring an up-or-down vote within 90 days for all presidential appointments.[16][17]

Bipartisan seatingEdit

In January 2012, No Labels proposed that Congress have bipartisan seating at the State of The Union.[18] By the time of the address, 208 members agreed to sit with a member of the opposite party.[17]

No Budget, No PayEdit

At the unveiling of the Make Congress Work! proposal, Senator (Sen.) Dean Heller (R-NV) and Representative (Rep.) Jim Cooper (D-TN) announced that they would introduce legislation for one of the Make Congress Work! proposals - barring legislators from receiving a salary if they fail to pass a budget resolution and all appropriation bills before October 1, the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year.[19] Both the House and Senate bills were entitled the No Budget, No Pay Act. No Labels then ran a campaign in favor of the legislation.[20]

On March 14, 2012, a hearing was held in front of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, entitled "Raising the Bar for Congress: Reform Proposals for the 21st Century" on the particular subject of the No Budget, No Pay Act. No Labels' witnesses also discussed filibuster reform, the up-or-down-in-90-days proposal, and having a financial report to Congress.[21] In addition, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) discussed a proposal of his own for biennial budgeting.[22]

On February 4, 2013, Obama signed H.R. 325 “No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013” into law mandating the pay for lawmakers be held in escrow starting April 16 until their chamber has passed a 2014 budget resolution. This was a modified version of No Labels’ original proposal, which had called for member pay to be lost permanently during any period in which they had failed to meet the budget deadline.[23]

Healthcare for HeroesEdit

In 2013, No Labels created a bill to help streamline electronic health-records and make the system more easily accessible for military service members and veterans. Language from the bill entitled 21st Century Healthcare for Heroes bill was adopted into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that was passed and signed by Obama in December 2013.[24]

National Strategic AgendaEdit

In 2015, a Senate Hearing on the No Labels framework for bi-partisan problem solving, The National Strategic Agenda, took place in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. A number of Senators agreed to work towards solving the Agenda’s four goals which polling had identified as important to majorities across the political spectrum: creating 25 million net new jobs in the next decade, securing Medicare and Social Security for 75 years, balancing the federal budget by 2030 and achieving energy security by 2024.[21]

MediaEdit

Multiple news outlets have written about No Labels and its aim of achieving bipartisanship on key issues. The organization has received both support and criticism for its efforts from elements on the right and left, including writers from Bloomberg News, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

Since No Labels is a registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, there is limited verifiable information available about its funding and it is not required to release its donor information.

Nancy Pelosi as SpeakerEdit

On November 26, 2018, The Daily Beast reported that "No Labels leadership contemplated a campaign to attack Pelosi aggressively after the primary campaign of centrist Rep. Dan Lipinski," despite the fact that Pelosi had supported Lipinski in his primary campaign that year.[31] In the same article, the group countered that “No Labels is not against Nancy Pelosi or any other speaker candidate. We are FOR rules changes that empower members in both parties who want to work across the aisle to find solutions and prevent the fringes–in both parties–from perpetuating endless gridlock.” On November 28, 2018, the Problem Solvers Caucus reached an agreement with Leader Pelosi on house rules changes that would foster more bipartisan legislating.[32] In January 2019, the new Democratic majority in the House led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a comprehensive reform package that included House rules changes which No Labels had supported through The Speaker Project.[10]

FundingEdit

The Intercept reported on November 29, 2018, that there are several PACs affiliated with No Labels and that a large portion of their funding comes from wealthy donors.[33][34] Among these donors are Louis Bacon, as well as investor Nelson Peltz.[33]

On December 6, 2018, No Labels wrote in The Hill that "nobody who donates to No Labels does so with an expectation of a quid pro quo. If you’re a big donor or company looking to give money to an advocacy group who will push for your special tax break or regulatory exclusion, you shouldn’t bother looking at No Labels."[35]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "No Labels: Stop Fighting. Start Fixing". No Labels. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "A Call to Revive America's Political Center | RealClearPolitics". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  3. ^ Marcos, Cristina (2017-02-03). "Lawmakers set up bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for new Congress". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  4. ^ Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA.) (March 1, 2018). "How to fix Washington, step one". The Hill.
  5. ^ Leaf, Clifton. "Don't Tell a Soul: There's a Secret Bipartisan Health Plan". Fortune. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Change House Rules to Fix Our Broken Congress | RealClearPolicy". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  7. ^ Hulse, Carl (2018-07-24). "Frustrated by Gridlock, House Members Propose Rules Overhaul". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  8. ^ Galston, William A. (2018-02-27). "To Fix the House, Start With the Speaker". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  9. ^ Hulse, Carl (2018-06-16). "Can the House Speakership Be Saved? These Lawmakers Have an Idea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  10. ^ a b "The Democratic House wants to reform democracy. It's not a panacea — but it's a start". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "The Democratic House wants to reform democracy. It's not a panacea — but it's a start". Washington Post.
  12. ^ Clift, Eleanor (2015-04-11). "The Only Bipartisan Game in Town". Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  13. ^ "A No Labels solution to Washington gridlock?". Washington Post.
  14. ^ Weigel, Dave (December 14, 2011). "Stop the Filibuster, Fix Presidential Appointments". Slate. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  15. ^ "Three simple ways to make Congress work". CNN.
  16. ^ "Full transcript: Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address". USA TODAY. January 25, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Berglund, Collin (January 25, 2012). "Daily Dose: Presidential Endorsement". No Labels. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  18. ^ Leader, New Hampshire Union. "unionleader.com - Manchester, NH". www.unionleader.com. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  19. ^ Urban, Peter (December 13, 2011). "Heller repackages "no budget no pay" proposal". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Washington DC. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  20. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (December 30, 2012). "For Dean Heller, a 'fresh start' in Senate comes at frenetic pace". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Davis, Tom (March 14, 2012). "Testimony of the Honorable Tom Davis: Hearing on "Raising the Bar for Congress: Reform Proposals for the 21st Century"". Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Washington, DC. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  22. ^ Dumain, Emma (March 14, 2012). "Committee Fields Ideas to 'Fix' Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  23. ^ "Obama signs debt-ceiling bill". Politico. February 4, 2013.
  24. ^ Yingling, Jennifer. "Working together to take care of our service men, women and returning vets". TheHill. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  25. ^ Klein, Ezra (December 21, 2011). "'No Labels' Stops Whining, Offers Political Agenda". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  26. ^ Hiatt, Fred (June 28, 2015). "No Labels stakes out a national agenda". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  27. ^ Clift, Eleanor (April 11, 2015). "The Only Bipartisan Game in Town". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  28. ^ Frank Rich, The Bipartisanship Racket, New York Times (December 18, 2010).
  29. ^ Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington elites push for a consensus that ignores reality, Washington Post (April 16, 2012).
  30. ^ Jennifer Rubin, No Labels, no relevance, Washington Post (January 14, 2013).
  31. ^ Markay, Sam Stein|Lachlan (2018-11-26). "Centrist Group Behind Pelosi Holdouts Plotted to Make Her 'Bogeyman'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  32. ^ McPherson, Lindsey; McPherson, Lindsey (2018-11-28). "Problem Solvers to Back Pelosi for Speaker After Reaching Agreement on Rules Changes". Roll Call. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  33. ^ a b Fang, Lee (2018-11-29). "Billionaire Republican Donors Helped Elect Rising Centrist Democrats". The Intercept. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  34. ^ "Bipartisan 'No Labels' group's super PAC network revealed: mega Chicago donors". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  35. ^ Jordan, Chuck (2018-12-06). "Setting the record straight about No Labels". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-12-07.

External linksEdit