Bipartisanship: can words be put into action in election year?
The president wants it. The public wants it.
But when it comes to bipartisanship, words are easier than action — especially in an election year.
President Barack Obama, who met with congressional leaders from both parties on Tuesday, called for bipartisan solutions to some of the weighty issues of the day: job creation and deficit reduction.
“As I said in my State of the Union, part of what we’d like to see is the ability of Congress to move forward in a more bipartisan fashion on some of the key challenges that the country is facing right now,” Obama said before the meeting.
“And although the parties are not going to agree on every single item, there should be some areas where we can agree and we can get some things done even as we have vigorous debates on some of those issues that we don’t agree on,” he said.
He did not mention healthcare reform in that first statement. Obama’s signature domestic priority last year has become bogged down in election-year politics after Democrats lost their filibuster proof majority in the Senate when Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy.
Obama has called for a healthcare summit on Feb. 25 for Democrats and Republicans to put their best ideas forward in hopes of moving the stalled legislation. Republicans say the only solution is to start over.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans spread the blame on lack of cooperation in Washington and most want both sides to work to pass healthcare reform.
Nearly six in 10 say Republicans aren’t doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues, while more than four in 10 see Obama doing too little to get Republican support.
Is bipartisanship possible in a congressional election year or will it be mostly gridlock through November? Who do you think is more unbending when it comes to compromise — the Democrats or the Republicans?
For more Reuters political news, click here
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (House Republican Leader John Boehner listens to Obama at meeting of congressional leaders at White House)