The future of Congress should lie in the past

by PSA Staff | July 26th, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article originally appeared in The Standard-Examiner. The author, Representative Lee Hamilton, is Co-Chair of PSA’s Advisory Board.

The future of Congress should lie in the past

There is a fundamental truth about our political system that seems to have been forgotten in these days of high-stakes brinksmanship over policy: Democracy is a process, not an outcome.

In a representative democracy like ours, how we reach a result is every bit as important as the result itself — and maybe even more important.

For a long time, Congress recognized this. That is why, over many decades of practice, it built what is known as the “regular order” — a set of processes and means of doing business designed to ensure that proposals get careful scrutiny and all voices are given proper and respectful consideration.

(more…)

Simpson-Bowles provides fiscal fix

by PSA Staff | July 26th, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article originally appeared in The Hill. The author, Secretary William Cohen, is a member of PSA’s Advisory Board.

Simpson-Bowles provides fiscal fix

Recently, television networks ran footage of a car speeding at 70 miles per hour down the wrong side of a divided highway. The man who captured the event on his camera could see that catastrophe was inevitable. The collision was horrific. 

The crash is a perfect metaphor for what is taking place on Capitol Hill. Barring congressional action, the automatic spending cuts to both federal civil and defense programs known as sequestration will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. These cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will eliminate approximately $111 billion from defense, domestic and Medicare accounts in fiscal 2013, and $984 billion over the next nine years. 

 

Sequestration was part of the agreement that temporarily resolved the debate over raising the debt ceiling, a debate that almost forced the United States to default on its debt last fall and succeeded only in reducing our nation’s credit rating. Sequestration was originally intended to provide a doomsday scenario that would force Democrats and Republicans to come together to find $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. Ideological rigidity trumped the fear of failure. 

  (more…)

For Political Closure, We Need Disclosure

by PSA Staff | July 16th, 2012 | |Subscribe

This article was written by Sen. Gary Hart and Sen. Warren Rudman, members of PSA’s Advisory Board. The article originally appeared in The New York Times.

For Political Closure, We Need Disclosure

Since the beginning of the current election cycle, extremely wealthy individuals, corporations and trade unions — all of them determined to influence who is in the White House next year — have spent more than $160 million (excluding party expenditures). That’s an incredible amount of money.

To put it in perspective, at this point in 2008, about $36 million had been spent on independent expenditures (independent meaning independent of a candidate’s campaign). In all of 2008, in fact, only $156 million was spent this way. In other words, we’ve already surpassed 2008, and it’s July.

(more…)

All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.