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No Labels is an American political organization that says that its 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[citation needed] which has 48 members, evenly divided between Republican and Democrats, who's stated goal is to forge bipartisan cooperation on key issues[citation needed]. Since its creation in January 2017[citation needed], the Caucus has proposed or supported bipartisan proposals on healthcare, infrastructure, immigration and border security, and gun safety, and was a participant in budget negotiations.[2][3]

No Labels
Motto Stop fighting, start fixing.
Formation December 13, 2010; 7 years ago (2010-12-13) (public launch)
Type Political
Legal status 501(c)(4)
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
Region served
United States
Founders
Nancy Jacobson
Tom Davis (R)
National Leader
Joe Lieberman (I/D)
Website www.nolabels.org

In 2018, No Labels launched its New House, New Rules campaign, which proposes rule and procedural changes in the next Congress that it states will make it easier for bipartisan ideas and legislation to get hearings and votes on the House floor.[4]

On June 21, 2018 No Labels announced The Speaker Project, which proposed using the election of a new speaker as leverage to make rule changes that the organization says would give bipartisan ideas a fair hearing and "a fighting chance in the next Congress".[5] On July 25, the Problem Solvers Caucus released its own Break The Gridlock proposals, which echoed many of the same proposals originally offered in The Speaker Project.[6]

Contents

The Speaker ProjectEdit

On June 21, 2018, No Labels announced the launch of The Speaker Project, and released an accompanying booklet. With The Speaker Project, No Labels focused on what it views as the most important barrier to bipartisan progress in Washington. The Problem Solvers Caucus, with its subsequent Break the Gridlock reform package, proposed a specific set of rules changes that No Labels says it will promote for the remainder of 2018.[7]  

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.[8][9] More than 1,000 people representing all 50 states gathered at the launch conference.[10] The event included speakers and panelists of elected officials, journalists, and business leaders.

Make Congress Work, 2011Edit

In December 2011,[11], No Labels announced its Make Congress Work! campaign, which proposed several measures. In 2012, No Labels also proposed several changes to the budget process, including calling on Congress to work during the summer recess. They also sought to encourage business leaders to withhold campaign contributions until a budget was passed.[citation needed]

Fast Track Presidential AppointmentsEdit

In his 2012 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama endorsed one of the Make Congress Work! proposals, specifically that of requiring an up-or-down vote within 90 days for all presidential appointments.[12][13]

Bipartisan seatingEdit

In January 2012, No Labels proposed that Congress have bipartisan seating at the State of The Union.[14] By the time of the address, 208 members agreed to sit with a member of the opposite party.[13]

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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] In addition, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) discussed a proposal of his own for biennial budgeting.[18]

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.[19]

Make America Work, 2012Edit

In December 2012, No Labels released a booklet called Make America Work! which details "leadership principles" for lawmakers to follow.

On January 14, 2013, No Labels held the Meeting to Make America Work in New York City. 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) spoke to an audience of 1,300 people, and the event was covered by The Daily Beast,[20] The Washington Post,[21] The New York Times,[22] The Wall Street Journal,[23] Associated Press, Yahoo! News[24] 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.[25]

Make Government Work, 2013Edit

On July 18, 2013, No Labels unveiled an action plan entitled Make Government Work! [26] which included nine legislative ideas that were subsequently co-sponsored by members of No Labels congressional problem solvers. 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.”[27][28]

Healthcare for HeroesEdit

Language from the 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.[29]

National Strategic Agenda, 2013–presentEdit

GoalsEdit

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.[30][31]

MeetingsEdit

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.

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).[32]

ResolutionsEdit

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.[33] 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).[34]

HearingEdit

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."[17]

Problem Solvers, 2013–presentEdit

 
No Labels Problem Solver Seal

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.[35][36]

Initiatives which achieved this threshold include bipartisan proposals addressing healthcare, infrastructure, immigration and border security, gun safety, and the Break the Gridlock reform package.[37]

EventsEdit

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).[38]

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.[39]

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.

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.[40][41][42][43][44][45]

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.[46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "No Labels: Stop Fighting. Start Fixing". No Labels. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA.) (March 1, 2018). "How to fix Washington, step one". The Hill. 
  3. ^ Leaf, Clifton. "Don't Tell a Soul: There's a Secret Bipartisan Health Plan". Fortune. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  4. ^ Galston, William A. (February 27, 2018). "To Fix the House, Start With the Speaker". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Change House Rules to Fix Our Broken Congress | RealClearPolicy". Retrieved 2018-07-29. 
  6. ^ "Problem Solvers Caucus Propose Changes to House Rules to "Break the Gridlock" - Insider NJ". Insider NJ. Retrieved 2018-07-29. 
  7. ^ McPherson, Lindsey; McPherson, Lindsey (2018-08-01). "Speaker Race Could Hinge on Who Agrees to Change the Rules". Roll Call. Retrieved 2018-08-08. 
  8. ^ Hodge, Shelby (June 2, 2010). "Houston ground zero for a radical political movement reaching both Democrats and Republicans". Culture Map Houston. 
  9. ^ Allen, Mike (November 24, 2010). "Mark McKinnon helps form 'No Labels'". Politico. 
  10. ^ McKenzie, William (November 1, 2010). "Point Person: Mark McKinnon of Public Strategies in Austin". The Dallas Morning News. 
  11. ^ Weigel, Dave (December 14, 2011). "Stop the Filibuster, Fix Presidential Appointments". Slate. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Full transcript: Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address". USA TODAY. January 25, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Berglund, Collin (January 25, 2012). "Daily Dose: Presidential Endorsement". No Labels. Retrieved March 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ Berglund, Collin (January 12, 2012). "SOTU: Who's With Who?". No Labels. Retrieved March 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ Urban, Peter (December 13, 2011). "Heller repackages "no budget no pay" proposal". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Washington DC. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  16. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (December 30, 2012). "For Dean Heller, a 'fresh start' in Senate comes at frenetic pace". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ Dumain, Emma (March 14, 2012). "Committee Fields Ideas to 'Fix' Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Obama signs debt-ceiling bill". Politico. February 4, 2013. 
  20. ^ Freelander, David. "Jon Huntsman & Joe Manchin's No Labels Bromance". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  21. ^ Huntsman, Manchin, Jon, Joe (January 14, 2013). "Turning Congress's partisans into problem solvers". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  22. ^ Peters, Jeremy (January 14, 2013). "Group From Congress Asks, Why Does America Hate Us? (Answer: See Congress)". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  23. ^ Seib, Gerald. "Huntsman: Attack Partisanship One Small Step at a Time". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Fouhy, Beth. "No Labels enters new era by shedding 'centrist' image". Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ Baker, Peter (July 13, 2012). "Unshackling the Presidency to Fix the Government". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Make Government Work!". No Labels. July 18, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ Bentsen, Meredith; Wasson, Erik (July 18, 2013). "With eye on ending Hill gridlock, 81 lawmakers rally to back bipartisan bills". The Hill. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  28. ^ Tam, Ruth (July 18, 2013). "Members of Congress introduce bipartisan legislation as the 'Problem Solvers'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  29. ^ Yingling, Jennifer. "Working together to take care of our service men, women and returning vets". TheHill. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Four Goals - No Labels". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  31. ^ "National Strategic Agenda - No Labels". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  32. ^ "No Labels political group visits Granite State | New Hampshire". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  33. ^ "H.Res.207". Congress.org. April 16, 2015. 
  34. ^ "S.Res.199". Congress.org. June 11, 2015. 
  35. ^ Gottheimer, Josh; Reed, Tom (August 4, 2017). "Opinion | Let's Stop the Bickering and Fix the Health Care System". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 
  36. ^ "Don't Tell a Soul: There's a Secret Bipartisan Health Plan". Fortune. Retrieved March 18, 2018. 
  37. ^ Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA.) (March 1, 2018). "How to fix Washington, step one". The Hill. 
  38. ^ "No Labels and The Hill Announce Schedule for Presidential Candidates Addressing First-Ever New Hampshire Problem Solver Convention". The Hill. October 12, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Rivals look for common ground at 'No Labels Problem Solver Convention'". New Hampshire Union Leader. October 12, 2015. 
  40. ^ Klein, Ezra (December 21, 2011). "'No Labels' Stops Whining, Offers Political Agenda". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  41. ^ Hiatt, Fred (June 28, 2015). "No Labels stakes out a national agenda". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  42. ^ Clift, Eleanor (April 11, 2015). "The Only Bipartisan Game in Town". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  43. ^ Frank Rich, The Bipartisanship Racket, New York Times (December 18, 2010).
  44. ^ Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington elites push for a consensus that ignores reality, Washington Post (April 16, 2012).
  45. ^ Jennifer Rubin, No Labels, no relevance, Washington Post (January 14, 2013).
  46. ^ "No Labels Anthem: Music for the Movement Debuts as a Featured Song on iTunes". PR Newswire. Washington DC. January 24, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 

External linksEdit