There’s nothing like an election year to prod lawmakers into actually getting something done for a change.
After years of partisan gridlock that culminated in a government shutdown last fall, members of Congress hit the ground running in this year of the midterm elections by forging a bipartisan budget deal – the first federal budget plan approved by both houses of Congress after years of funding government operations with short-term spending measures.
Lawmakers followed that up by finally forging a compromise over the farm bill, ending a more than two-year stalemate over a measure that had enjoyed broad bipartisan support for nearly 40 years.
And just last week, a bill extending the federal government’s borrowing authority without any preconditions won approval from both the U.S. House and U.S Senate, despite a futile filibuster attempt by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that was rebuffed with the help of a dozen GOP senators.
After engaging in bitter and divisive political wrangling since 2010, Republicans and Democrats appear to be ready to set aside their disdain for each other to face an eminent threat facing both parties: the wrath of the voters.
Public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that the American people are fed up with the squabbling in Congress that has prevented action on a wide range of pressing challenges. The approval rating of Congress is a stern reminder of that as it continues to set all-time record lows.
Most Americans – except for the ideological extremists of the right and left – want lawmakers to work together to forge common-sense solutions to the nation’s problems rather than spending their time and energy on political infighting and gamesmanship.