Additional Information on No Labels (NL)

Additional Information on No Labels (NL)


NL’s Co-Founders:

Among NL’s more noteworthy co-founders are the following:

  • Former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana)
  • Bill Bloomfield, a retired business executive who worked for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign but left the Republican Party in March 2011, saying he had grown tired of its “hyper-partisanship” and conservative social agenda
  • Lisa Borders, who once worked for the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, Mohammed Kasim Reed
  • Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia
  • Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who later became vice president of the Aspen Institute
  • William A. Galston, the aforementioned senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
  • Attorney Kenneth Gross, a former registered Republican who became a Democrat in 1993
  • Nancy Jacobson, a longtime senior advisor to the Democratic Leadership Council and to the political campaigns of such high-profile Democrats as Evan Bayh, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Gary Hart
  • Mark McKinnon, a political strategist who has worked for both Republican and Democratic candidates
  • Kiki McLean, who served as a key advisor and spokesperson in the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, press secretary and advisor to Tipper Gore during the 1992 general election, and communications director for the Democratic National Committee
  • Jonathan Miller, who founded “Students for Al Gore for President” in 1988, revived the College Democrats of America in 1989, served as the U.S. Energy Department’s deputy chief of staff during the first Clinton/Gore Administration, and chaired the Kentucky Democratic Party in 2007
  • Dave Walker, who was appointed comptroller general by President Bill Clinton

For further information on these and other NL co-founders, click here.

NL’s “Make Congress Work” campaign includes the following 12 provisions:

1) No Budget, No Pay: If the congressional appropriations (spending) process is not completed by October 1 (when fiscal year starts), congressional pay should cease until appropriations are completed.

2) Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointments: All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination being received by the Senate. If that deadline is not met, the nominee would be confirmed by default.

3) Fix the Filibuster: “If senators want to filibuster legislation, they should actually have to explain why in public” “they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate”

4) Empower the Sensible Majority: To prevent congressmen from being intimidated “by party leaders who prefer to organize Congress into warring clans,” the House and Senate should allow members to anonymously sign discharge petitions, which allow a majority of members to override a leader or committee chair’s refusal to bring a bill to the floor.

5) Make Members Come to Work: Members of Congress routinely fly home to their districts on Thursday nights to meet with constituents or attend fundraisers, and they often don’t return until the following Tuesday. They should put in a five-day workweek.

6) Question Time for the President: on a rotating basis the House and Senate would issue monthly invitations to the president to appear in the respective chamber for 90 minutes of questions and discussion.

7) Fiscal Report to Congress: When leaders in Washington debate our budget, they routinely use different baselines … every year, a nonpartisan leader, such as the comptroller general, should deliver a televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress.

8) No Pledge but the Oath of Office: Noting that congressmen’s pledges never to raise taxes or cut Social Security benefits make progress impossible, “members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.”

9) Monthly Bipartisan Gatherings: “To get members talking to one another, both the House and Senate should institute monthly bipartisan gatherings” which would be off the record and not televised.

10) Bipartisan Seating: In an effort to “curb the cliques in Congress,” each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party at all congressional sessions, joint meetings, or committee hearings.

11) Bipartisan Leadership Committee: “Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee as a forum for discussing both legislative agendas and substantive solutions.” The committee would meet weekly, and monthly with the President.

12) No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents: “incumbents from one party should not conduct negative campaigns against sitting members of the opposing party. That means no appearing in negative ads, no signing nasty direct mail letters and no traveling to an incumbent’s district or state to play attack dog.”

NL’s “Make the Presidency Work” campaign includes the following 11 provisions:

1) Regular News Conferences for the President: “Presidents should commit to holding at least one news conference per month.”

2) Fast-Track Legislative Authority for The President: “Twice a year, the president should be able to introduce legislation directly to Congress for a fast-track vote, which would allow the legislation to pass with a majority vote and without amendments. To qualify for fast-track status, legislation would require 10 sponsors from each party in the House and five sponsors in each party in the Senate. Bipartisan presidential commissions would have similar fast-track authority for their final report if it is in legislative form…. It’s time to grant the president this limited fast-track authority to bypass partisan obstruction and make progress on our nation’s most pressing challenges.”

3) “Presidents have always been political figures and party leaders, and we don’t expect that to end anytime soon. Nor do we begrudge any president the right to travel with the full capabilities of the office. But we need a bright line between the president’s official and political roles. Any trip with any fundraising activity at all should be classified as political travel, and the necessary air travel, lodging and other trip expenses should be paid in full by the president’s party or campaign.”

4) A Line Item Veto With A Twist: “Let’s give presidents expedited rescission authority, which would give them similar power to the line-item veto authority that enables 44 state governors to remove provisions from spending legislation. A straight line-item veto—which would allow the president to eliminate specific spending provisions passed by Congress— is unconstitutional. But rescission—in which the president has to send each elimination request back to Congress for an expedited, up or down vote—is legal.”

5) Reduce the Number of Appointees Subject to Senate Confirmation: “The confirmation process has developed into an embarrassing charade, with highly qualified nominees held up for petty or purely partisan reasons…. The Senate’s ‘Advice and Consent’ on nominations is an important check on presidential power, but it’s not needed for every mid-level official and presidential commission. We should give new presidents more authority to fill less-urgent positions and let the Senate focus on the most important nominees who deal with more pressing matters.”

6) Identify a “Slate That Can’t Wait” of Critical Nominees For Expedited Confirmation: “Within a few days of the election, the president should be prepared to name a group of nominees for especially crucial positions, who would be subject to both speedier background checks and Senate review and confirmation.”

7) Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointment: “All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination being received by the Senate. This time frame includes both committee and floor action. If a nominee’s name is not confirmed or rejected within 90 days, the nominee would be confirmed by default.”

8) Question Time for The President: “On a rotating basis the House and Senate would issue monthly invitations to the president to appear in the respective chamber for questions and discussion. Each question period would last 90 minutes and would be televised. The majority and minority would alternate questions.”

9) Expanded Presidential Power to Reorganize: This provision would “empowe[r] presidents to reorganize—or even eliminate—redundant parts of the federal government, provided the president’s proposal improves efficiency and reduces costs.”

10) Different Opinions, But the Same Facts: “Perhaps the chief obstacle to fixing America’s finances is that no one agrees what’s really on our balance sheet. When leaders in Washington debate our budget, they routinely use different baselines, projections and assumptions, which often conveniently support whatever policy they are pushing at the moment…. [E]very year, a nonpartisan leader, such as the Comptroller General, should deliver a televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress. The president, vice president, all cabinet members, senators and members of Congress must attend this fiscal update session. They must take individual responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the fiscal report by signing it, just as CEOs are required to affirm the accuracy of their company’s financial reporting.”

11) Regular Meetings Between The President And Congressional Leadership: “[P]residential candidates should commit to meet [if elected] with majority and minority party leaders in the House and Senate at least once a quarter.”

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