December 14, 2011

Manchin supports No Labels agenda | Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is supporting the No Labels' Make Congress Work agenda.

No Labels, which promotes bipartisanship and collaborative solutions to the major issues to prevent gridlock, on Tuesday issued its 12-point plan during a press conference in the nation's capital.

"From my earliest days in Congress, I've been a proud supporter of what No Labels is trying to accomplish," Manchin said during a press conference in Washington with other lawmakers. "The people of West Virginia don't want Democratic solutions or Republican solutions. They want American solutions. I'm proud to be part of No Labels' work to bring people together and make Washington work better."

Manchin also signed on to legislation preventing lawmakers from being paid if they don't produce a budget, one of the points in the 12-point plan.

"We're trying to put civility and commonsense solutions back into governing," Manchin said. "Everyone around here is so focused on who they can blame for the problems facing this nation and how they can score political points for the next election.

"That is not what we were sent here to do. We should be thinking about the next generation and how we can help our children and our children's children succeed in an America that is as strong as ever," he said. "We should be working together on the ways we can make America an even better country, and that is what I hope this 'Make Congress Work' agenda will help us accomplish."

The legislation was drafted by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., based on legislation he proposed in July when Congress failed to pass a budget.

The 12-planks in the Make Congress Work agenda are:

1. No budget, no pay. If Congress can't make spending and budget decisions on time, members shouldn't be paid on time.

2. An up or down vote on presidential appointments. All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination.

3. Fix the filibuster. Require real, not virtual, filibusters and end filibusters on motions to proceed.

4. Empower the "Sensible Majority." Allow a bipartisan majority of members to override a leader or committee chairman's refusal to bring a bill to the floor.

5. Make members come to work. Make Congress work on coordinated schedules with three five-day work weeks a month in Washington, D.C., and one week in their home district.

6. Question Time for the president. Provide a monthly forum for congressmen to ask the president questions to force leaders to debate one another and defend their ideas.

7. Fiscal report to Congress. Hear it. Read it. Sign it. A nonpartisan leader should deliver an annual, televised fiscal update in person to a joint session of Congress to ensure everyone is working from the same facts.

8. No pledge but the oath of office. Members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.

9. Monthly bipartisan gatherings. The House and Senate should institute monthly, off-the-record and bipartisan gatherings to get members talking across party lines.

10. Bipartisan seating. At all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party.

11. Bipartisan leadership committee. Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee to discuss legislative agendas and substantive solutions.

12. No negative campaigns against incumbents. Incumbents from one party should not conduct negative campaigns against sitting members of the opposing party.

Manchin introduced the no negative campaign proposal.