I’ve recently decided to take up the cause of the No Labels movement – or, more accurately, I have in some ways always supported this cause, but have now decided to identify it as such. No Labels has no specific policy agenda, just a desire to promote moderate, pragmatic, reasonable, and most importantly bipartisan solutions to the country’s current problems, and to remove power and influence from the hands of extremists. This is something I can totally get behind, and I’m letting you know in case you would like to get behind it too.
From “Who We Are” on the No Labels website:
No Labels is a growing citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and everything in between dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving.
We are unlike any organization in America. The most powerful interest groups in our nation’s capital work to push our leaders and our political parties apart. No Labels is working to bring them together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems. We welcome people left, right and everything in between as long as they are willing to collaborate with one another to seek a shared success for America. This new attitude is what No Labels is all about.
No Labels promotes its politics of problem solving in three ways: by organizing citizens across America, providing a space for legislators who want to solve problems to convene and by pushing for common-sense reforms to make our government work.
Since our launch in December 2010, No Labels has consistently grown in size and in influence, with hundreds of thousands of supporters across the country. We entered 2013 with two new national leaders, former Republican Governor Jon Huntsman and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Within Congress, No Labels has already recruited 59 members to become Problem Solvers and agree to meet regularly in 2013 to build trust across the aisle.
One of those 59 members is Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), a conservative Democrat who boasts a perfect approval from the NRA, and who, along with Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, reached an agreement on background checks for gun buyers this week, which is to be attached as an amendment to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s gun control bill. Reid’s bill is the one that will now be brought to a vote after the 68-31 vote in favor of allowing it to move forward on Friday. Despite the threat of a Republican filibuster, sixteen Republicans joined all but two Democrats to allow the bill to be voted on.
And that’s exactly what we’re trying to make happen.
Again from No Labels:
Finally, we have a third action plan, Make America Work!, which argues that achieving a new politics of problem solving will require our elected leaders to embrace No Labels’ five key principles of political leadership: 1) Tell the full truth, 2) Govern for the future, 3) Put the country first, 4) Be responsible, and 5) Work together.
No Labels does not expect anyone to shed their identity when they join our movement. We are a community of proud liberals, proud conservatives and everything in between who are united by the conviction that people with different beliefs really can set aside the labels and come together to solve problems.
One of their most interesting cheer-worthy proposals is No Budget, No Pay, which is exactly what it sounds like:
If Congress can’t make spending and budget decisions on time, they shouldn’t get paid on time either. Every government fiscal year begins October 1. If the congressional appropriations (spending) process is not completed by that date, congressional pay ceases as of October 1, and isn’t restored until appropriations are completed. This is the only No Labels solution that requires a new law, which could be passed in 2012, and would take effect when the new Congress is seated in 2013.
Encouragingly, I leave you with this:
UPDATE: On February 4, 2013, President Obama signed a debt ceiling extension bill that included a modified No Budget, No Pay provision that would withhold member pay in escrow if their respective chambers fail to pass a budget by April 15. No Labels supported this legislation as a critical step towards more accountable government. However, we will continue to push for implementation of our stronger No Budget, No Pay proposal, which would require timely passage of both a budget and annual spending bills and would also not allow lost member pay to be recovered once it was withheld.