|Formation||December 13, 2010(public launch)|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
Tom Davis (R)
Jon Huntsman (R),|
Joe Lieberman (I/D)
No Labels is an American bipartisan political organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in politics and "usher in a new era of focused problem solving in American politics." Its House Problem Solvers Caucus has 48 members, evenly divided between Republican and Democrats, who are committed to working together to forge bipartisan cooperation on key issues. Since its creation in January 2017, the Caucus has introduced comprehensive bipartisan proposals on healthcare, infrastructure and played a pivotal role in averting two government shutdowns.
In 2018, No Labels launched its New House, New Rules campaign, which is focused on pushing rule and procedural changes in the next Congress that will make it easier for bipartisan ideas and legislation to get hearings and votes on the House floor.
Mission and leadershipEdit
No Labels is a movement that includes citizens, current and former members of Congress, state and local officials, and business, union, nonprofit and student leaders from across the political spectrum who advocate a new politics of problem solving.
The group’s core mission is to organize leaders and citizens across America who want elected officials in Washington to give up their all-or-nothing partisan approach to politics and focus on solving the nation’s most pressing challenges.
In November 2017, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) were announced as No Labels honorary co-chairs. In this role, Manchin and Collins aim to build a bipartisan bridge between the Senate and the House, working with the House Problem Solvers Caucus to advance common sense bipartisan legislation.
Early Initiatives, 2011–2013Edit
The inaugural meeting of No Labels was held in 2010 at a home in Houston, Texas, and the organization was officially launched six months later in New York City. More than 1,000 people representing all 50 states gathered at the launch conference. The event included speakers and panelists of elected officials, journalists, and business leaders.
Make Congress Work, 2011Edit
In December 2011, during an event in the U.S. Capitol including 400 activists and volunteers, No Labels released an action plan entitled Make Congress Work! The goal of the plan was to break congressional gridlock by implementing reforms to the legislative process. The reforms included:
- No Budget, No Pay, which stipulates that members should not get paid if Congress does not pass the federal budget on time
- An up-or-down vote on all presidential appointments within 90 days of their nomination
- Reduce the use of the filibuster by forcing members to actually speak on the chamber floor to sustain a filibuster and by eliminating filibusters on motions to proceed
- Allow anonymous discharge petitions
- Implement a five-day work week in Congress
- Institute Question Time between Congress and the President
- Require an annual fiscal report delivered to a joint session of Congress
- Hold off-the record bipartisan meetings for members of the House and Senate
- Establish bipartisan seating in committee hearings and joint meetings of Congress
- Establish a Bipartisan Leadership Council to be made up of congressional party leaders to discuss legislative agendas and substantive solutions
- Ban incumbents from taking part in negative campaigns against other incumbents
In 2012, No Labels also made a number of efforts to compel Congress to complete the budget process, including calling on Congress to work during the summer recess and encouraging business leaders to withhold campaign contributions until the gridlock over the budget had ceased.
Fast Track Presidential AppointmentsEdit
In January 2012, No Labels called for Congress to have bipartisan seating at the State of The Union. No Labels kept track of data on the members of Congress who agreed on their websites to sit in a bipartisan fashion. By the time of the address, 208 members agreed to sit with a member of the opposite party.
No Budget, No PayEdit
At the unveiling of the Make Congress Work! action plan, 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. Both the House and Senate bills were entitled the No Budget, No Pay Act. No Labels then proceeded to run a campaign in favor of the legislation.
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. In addition, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) discussed a proposal of his own for biennial budgeting.
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.
Make America Work, 2012Edit
In December 2012, No Labels released a booklet called Make America Work! which details "leadership principles" for lawmakers to follow. There are five listed.
- Tell the truth
- Work together
- Govern for the future
- Put the country first
- Take responsibility
This section needs to be updated.(January 2013)
On January 14, 2013, No Labels held the Meeting to Make America Work in New York City. No Labels unveiled a congressional group of "problem solvers," who agreed to meet together in order to build trust across the aisle. Speakers included Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV) as well as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R). More than 1,300 citizens from across the country attended the event, and it was covered by The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Yahoo! News and more.
Make the Presidency Work, 2012Edit
On July 13, 2012, No Labels released a follow-up action plan to Make Congress Work! entitled Make the Presidency Work!, which included proposals for structural reforms to the presidency. The reforms include:
- Regular news conferences for the president
- Fast-track legislative authority on a set number of priorities that there is bipartisan agreement on
- Making the political parties pay for presidential fundraising
- Expedited recission authority
- Reducing the number of presidential appointees subject to Senate confirmation
- Identifying a slate of critical appointees who would receive expedited consideration and confirmation
- An up-or-down vote on all presidential appointees within 90 days of their nomination
- Institution of Question Time between the president and Congress
- A return to the Reorganization Act of 1939 to make it easier for the president to reorganize the executive branch
- An annual fiscal report delivered to a joint session of Congress, after which everyone present must sign the report
- Regular meetings between the president and congressional leadership
Make Government Work, 2013Edit
On July 18, 2013, No Labels unveiled an action plan entitled Make Government Work!  which included nine legislative ideas that were subsequently co-sponsored by members of No Labels congressional problem solvers. The ideas include:
- No Budget, No Pay: If Congress cannot pass a budget, members should not get paid.
- Take the time, save the dime: Move to a two-year budgeting process
- Don’t Duplicate, Consolidate: Get rid of duplicate agencies and programs identified in 2013 by the Government Accountability Office.
- Buy Smarter and Save: Enforce strategic sourcing so that separate divisions within a single federal agency do not make independent contracts for common items.
- No Adding, No Padding: Stop assuming automatic year-to-year spending increases in agency budgets.
- 21st Century Healthcare for Heroes: Merge the electronic health records of the Department of Defense with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Stay in Place, Cut the Waste: Cut 50 percent of agency travel and replace it with videoconferencing.
- Wasted Energy, Wasted Dollars: Reduce energy waste in federal buildings by incentivizing private companies to identify energy savings.
- Plan for Efficient and Effective Government: Create a new Commission for Government Transformation.
The Problem Solvers in Congress announced this plan at a messaging event in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill on July 18, 2013. The event featured 70 members of Congress—Democrats and Republicans—who each spoke for 15 seconds to talk about why they are No Labels “Problem Solvers.”
Healthcare for HeroesEdit
National Strategic Agenda, 2013–presentEdit
Following a nationwide survey conducted in the fall of 2013, No Labels began to develop its National Strategic Agenda, which is oriented around four goals that No Labels wants the next president and Congress to commit to achieving together.
- Create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years
- Balance the federal budget by 2030
- Secure Social Security and Medicare for another 75 years
- Make America energy secure by 2024
No Labels co-chair former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has described the National Strategic Agenda as having a simple premise: “To solve a problem – any problem – you need to set goals, get people to buy into those goals and put a process or plan in place to achieve them."
No Labels often cites the examples of former Republican President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Democratic President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich as leaders who were able to set big goals, and despite their differences, work in a bipartisan fashion to achieve them.
No Labels' stated goal is for the country's next president—regardless of political affiliation—to adopt the National Strategic Agenda and pledge to work with both parties to make government work.
On September 17, 2014 No Labels convened the National Ideas Meeting at the United States Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C. The meeting, which opened with remarks from No Labels Co-Chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), featured a bipartisan group of over a dozen members of Congress, more than 50 state and local leaders, and a handful of other high-profile speakers.
The program called for three panel discussions to address the implementation and importance of the No Labels National Strategic Agenda. The morning kicked off with a panel of members of Congress moderated by CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. Focus then moved to the state and local relevance, as Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) moderated a panel consisting of state and local elected officials from across the country. Rounding off the afternoon was a panel moderated by former Meet the Press host David Gregory.
The National Ideas Meeting began a year of focus on the National Strategic Agenda, as No Labels worked with citizens and lawmakers to formulate common goals for America’s future.
On October 18, 2014, No Labels gathered more than 200 citizens at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, New Hampshire to discuss the importance of a National Strategic Agenda, the upcoming presidential election in 2016 and how to get more involved. The panel included two congressional members aligned with No Labels, U.S. Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Charlie Dent (R-PA).
On April 16, 2015 a congressional resolution (H. Res. 207) dropped in the U.S. House of Representatives with 53 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors in support of establishing the National Strategic Agenda. A similar resolution (S. Res. 199) was introduced in the Senate on June 11 by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John Thune (R-SD).
On June 17, 2015 No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda was heard in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
“I’m so encouraged by what you’re trying to do here,” Johnson told the witnesses. “You’re trying to set up [a] process of agreement.”
Co-Chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Lieberman testified before the committee to encourage the establishment of the National Strategic Agenda. In his concluding statement, Mr. Huntsman noted that ”The National Strategic Agenda is an idea whose time has come. This is how any well-run organization makes decisions and solves problems."
Problem Solvers, 2013–presentEdit
House Problem Solver CaucusEdit
The House Problem Solvers Caucus is a bi-partisan group in Congress that includes 40+ House members– equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bi-partisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).
According to the Caucus’s by-laws, if 75 percent of all Caucus members and 51 percent of its Democrats and Republicans support a policy position, the Caucus will operate as a voting bloc and take a public stand as a group in support of the position.
Initiatives which achieved this threshold include the group’s bipartisan health care reform plan, comprehensive infrastructure plan, and immigration proposal, along with its New House, New Rules initiative encouraging more openings for bi-partisan legislation on the floor.
Problem Solver Convention
On October 12, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire (NH), No Labels began the 2016 election cycle by holding its first National Problem Solver Convention, which included over 1,500 No Labels members, representatives from over 100 college and university satellite chapters, and a number of 2016 presidential candidates.
Participating presidential candidates included Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Donald Trump (R), and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).
The event, held at the Radisson Hotel, also included speakers such as No Labels Co-Chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), congressional problem solvers, and policy experts.
A key focus of the event was No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda—and its role in the 2016 primaries and general election. At the convention, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates were offered the opportunity to make the Problem Solver Promise, to express their support for the No Labels National Strategic Agenda.
Problem Solvers Conference
On March 1, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia (VA), No Labels held its first Problem Solvers Conference, which included over 1,000 No Labels members from all 50 states, and representatives from the Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. The event was facilitated by No Labels Co-Founder and Vice Chair Lisa Borders, Commissioner, Womens' National Basketball Association.
The event, held at the Doubletree Crystal City Hotel, also included speakers such as No Labels Co-Chair Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Actor Ian Kahn, and noted policy experts from both the Republican and the Democratic establishment. The focus of the March 1 agenda was education and empowerment - to stand up a group of Citizen Leaders committed to raising to prominence a new Center in American politics and national discourse.
Fix Not Fight March on Capitol Hill and Rally in Upper Senate Park
On March 2, 2017, the No Labels Citizen Leaders visited their representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to the meetings, the group marched across Capitol Hill to a rally where the following members of House Problem Solvers Caucus addressed the gathering: Ami Bera (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Tom Reed (R-NY), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), David Joyce (R-OH) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI). In addition, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) spoke to the gathering.
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.
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.
No Labels anthemEdit
Akon wrote an anthem for No Labels in 2010 after hearing about the organization from Lisa Borders. The song was later covered by Deborah Cox in 2012. Both versions are often played at No Labels events and in their media.
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