The Bipartisan Policy Center Commission on Political Reform today released a new report of more than 60 recommendations for political reforms that could increase voter participation and reduce gridlock and partisanship in Congress.
The report includes a number of reforms already in place in Maine, such as early, in person, absentee voting and having a bipartisan redistricting commission.
Other recommendations include joint party caucuses in Congress, filibuster reform and enhancing community service programs like AmeriCorps, VISTA and the Peace Corps so more individuals are able to participate in those programs.
"Today's report begins an important conversation about how we can move forward, put an end to the gridlock and change the hyper-partisan, divisive environment in government that is standing in the way of real progress in Maine and across the country," said U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. "Though I'm still reviewing the full report, I look forward to talking with colleagues, citizens and lawmakers in Maine about how we can use this report as a springboard to move forward in aversation About Political Gridlock positive direction and put an end to the divisiveness and partisanship that we've seen for the last three and a half years."
The report makes recommendations that are very similar to changes Michaud implemented during his time as Senate President in the Maine Legislature. For example, the commission recommends joint party caucuses in both chambers of Congress once a month and recommends informal meetings between joint leadership in the House and Senate.
"I know firsthand that some of these recommendations can make a real difference in the political environment in Washington and in Maine. When I was president of an evenly divided State Senate, committee chairs and leads and Democratic and Republican leadership met informally every day in my office to go over the calendar. Not only did it speed up the process, but it built an open line of communications and trust. That's missing in Maine and Washington today. I want to thank former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and other members of the commission for their hard work on these issues." Michaud said.