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Philly.com - First Step In a Bipartisan Direction

Op-Ed

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By Cheri Bustos and Mike Fitzpatrick

Too often, people focus on our differences instead of what brings us together. Yet, despite what we all hear, common ground does exist among lawmakers from opposing parties.

Although one of us is a Democrat and the other a Republican, we both believe that things can and should get done in Washington. Our constituents sent us to our nation's capital not to position and posture, but to use common sense and compromise to move our country forward.

This is why we joined the bipartisan group called No Labels, and are identified with the Problem Solvers caucus. We surely don't agree on every issue, but we are united in the desire to put partisanship aside and find common ground. There are plenty of areas that we can find to achieve results for the people we represent.

One issue that everyone can agree on - both Democrats and Republicans - is the desire to root out and eliminate government waste and to protect taxpayer money.

That desire is why we both support the bipartisan Government Waste Reduction Act (H.R. 530), a commonsense bill that would reduce unnecessary and duplicative government services, eliminate government waste, and save hard-earned taxpayer dollars, while protecting the crucial programs upon which our neighbors rely.

The act would establish an independent government waste reduction board that would develop legislative proposals based on recommendations from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, and would then send those proposals to Congress.

To promote accountability, and to include multiple points of view, the board would consist of 15 members. Twelve members would come from the House and Senate, half from the majority party and half from the minority party. Three would be appointed by the administration.

Cutting down on government waste is a step in the right direction as we strive to get our fiscal house in order without jeopardizing essential programs like Social Security and Medicare.

The waste-reduction act alone will not solve our fiscal problems, but it is a bipartisan starting point that holds tremendous potential for reducing our deficit.

We both come from districts where our hardworking constituents expect their elected officials to put politics aside and do their jobs.

We hope our bipartisan bill is not only received as a commonsense way to help reduce the deficit, but can also show the American people that governing in practical and reasonable ways is once again possible in Washington.


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