Patt Morrison for April 5, 2012

Why is “compromise” a dirty word in Washington politics? A few lawmakers buck the trend, but can they balance the budget?

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan Introduces His FY2013 Budget

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

House Budget Chairman U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) and members of the House Budget Committee introduce the House FY2013 budget at a news conference at the Capitol on March 20, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The House Republican plan reduces personal income taxes to a 25 percent and a 10 percent rate, although it leaves income thresholds for the income brackets unclear, and would set a discretionary spending cap at $1.028 trillion.

Political partisanship in the United States typically peaks during a presidential election year and 2012 does not appear to be the exception to the rule, but at what cost?

The bureaucratic discord among Republican and Democratic politicians has never been clearer than it was last week during a debate over the federal budget in the House of Representatives, which ended with all House members voting strictly with their party alignment.

Because Republicans make up the majority of the House, the GOP budget proposal passed, but will likely be rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate. The endlessly uncompromising culture in Washington may be discouraging to some voters, but there are some politicians – a brave few – who actually do want to compromise. A tiny band of 38 lawmakers, 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans, have come together to propose a bipartisan budget that increases taxes, but also cuts entitlement programs. The bipartisan budget was written by moderate Reps. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.


Are voters, conservative and progressive alike, simply tired of the lack of compromise reached by their elected leaders? What makes these 38 lawmakers different from the rest? And can we clone them?


Rep. Jim Cooper, (D-Tennessee) co-author of the bipartisan budget proposal with Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio)

Stan Collender, budget expert and partner at Qorvis Communications (a corporate communication consulting firm), he has worked on the House and Senate Budget Committees, and edited the Federal Budget Report newsletter

Arnold Steinberg, political strategist and analyst

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