The modern political landscape is one that sadly seems to be defined by increasing tribalism, inflexibility, and the lack of a drive to work together. Despite this, however, many members of the government do try to work together to create bipartisan solutions. This is also reflected in the voters and organizations such as No Labels who seek to foster broad solutions to the many complex issues we face as a society and a country.
Bipartisanship is defined as two political parties who differ in common outlooks and philosophies working together to reach a shared goal. While the view on methods may differ the desire to achieve beneficial results are the same. There have been many issues where political parties have worked together to get results. Here are some examples of well-known bipartisan work does by the United States Government.
Six Bipartisan Bills
- Americans with Disabilities Act: passed in 1990 the ADA helped establish civil rights for Americans with disabilities. Before its passing disabled citizens lacked federal protections. The American government worked across the aisle to pass the ADA legislation and bring civil protections to millions of citizens.
- NASA: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was founded by bipartisan teamwork. Originally proposed by President Eisenhower after the launch of Sputnikin 1957 NASA focused on moving America into space. In 1969 the Apollo 11 mission brought the man to the moon. NASA continues to be broadly supported to this day.
- State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP): originally written by Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy CHIP provides funding for state welfare programs for recipients that may not be able to receive Medicaid due to making too much money to qualify for the federal program. A very popular program CHIP has enjoyed support from both parties since originally passing in 1997.
- McCain-Feingold Act: this 2002 bill carried the name of the senators who helped spearhead its passing John McCain of Arizona and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Focused on finance reform this bill looked to limit advertisements for political candidates and put protections in place for soft money that had up until that point managed to dodge federal laws concerning campaign financing.
- The JOBS Act: passed in 2012 The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act focused on supporting small businesses. It achieved this making it easier to start a small business by going public, crowdfunding, and easier investment paths. The JOBS Act was universally popular and easily passed both houses and was supported by both parties. Millions of dollars have been raised by small businesses since the JOBS Act took effect.
- The Great Compromise of 1787: bipartisanship is found in the very foundation of the United States of America. One of the great challenges the Founding Fathers faced was how would the now unified 13 represent themselves in government. As expected the smaller states wanted each state to have the same amount of representation in government; while the larger states wanted representation to be based on population. Narrowly passing the Great Compromise established a two-chamber Congress containing the House based on population and the Senate with equal representation.
As a voter it’s easy to feel isolated from the process however, it’s important to remember that bipartisanship is popular among your fellow voters and is not looked down upon. Indeed, voters favor elected officials who are open-minded and solution-oriented. If you don’t feel there are enough bipartisan representatives in our government the solution is not to despair or allow yourself to fall into black and white thinking. The solution is to involve in the process and remember you’re not alone as several dedicated political organizations support solutions that reach across the political spectrum and seek to elect officials who will do just that.