Delaney backs bipartisan ‘Problem Solvers’ initiative -- Gazette.Net


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Dozens of Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are backing a package of nine bills aimed at making the federal government more efficient.

The Congressional Problem Solvers Coalition, which includes U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Dist. 6) of Potomac, announced the bills Thursday in Washington, D.C. The package includes legislation withholding pay for members of Congress if they can’t agree on a budget, consolidating duplicative or overlapping government programs, and cutting the travel budgets for federal agencies by 50 percent in favor of more video conferencing.

“Think about all the great things that have happened in this country,” Delaney told The Gazette. “They’ve been done at the intersection of principle and compromise.”

Delaney said people have seen Congress fail to act on important issues, such as immigration reform. “People realize that the cost of doing nothing is not nothing,” he said.

The coalition was recruited by the bipartisan, nonprofit advocacy group No Labels. Delaney said he became aware of the group through a friend who is one of the group’s founders.

The recent agreement in the U.S. Senate not to revise the rules for filibustering suggested that members of Congress are ready for more compromise and cooperation, Delaney said.

Other proposals include moving Congress to a two-year budget cycle, giving lawmakers one year to pass a spending plan and one year to evaluate how federal programs are being run; consolidating procurement for government agencies, when possible, to save money; not assuming year-to-year spending increases in agency budgets; improving energy efficiency in federal buildings; merging electronic health records of the departments of defense and veterans affairs; and creating a new commission to make government programs more effective.

dleaderman@gazette.net