03 Mar Dialogue Issue IV – Presidents Letter
For the last several years, our government has been stuck. Recurring arguments about the Affordable Care Act, immigration policy, executive power, and national security have worn deep grooves into our political conversations. These largely tribal and tedious debates offer little opportunity to reconcile, let alone engage about real differences. Happily, there were some exceptions to this squandering of democracy. In the last Congress, the Bipartisan Policy Center is proud to have contributed to legislation that improved the development of life-saving medical treatments, removed arbitrary barriers to exporting oil, modernized the law regulating toxic chemicals, strengthened Medicare, and extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But, on the whole, our government failed too often and achieved too little. As our new government enters the arena, predictable, doctrinal gridlock has been replaced by sprawling uncertainty. President Trump is unencumbered by political debts, rigid ideology or detailed policy positions.
The president has also managed to transcend the unduly limiting idea that changing one’s mind is a sign of weakness. To some, the president’s autonomy and disinterest in political traditions is unsettling. To others, President Trump’s authenticity and rejection of “the rules” resonates with their anger and dissatisfaction with a system that is not meeting their needs. BPC and BPC Action are leaning in. There are a variety of opportunities for us to weigh in on policy issues such as infrastructure, tax reform and entrepreneurship, as well as perhaps even immigration reform, energy innovation, and access to health care.
Whether seeking to seize opportunities or minimize risks, the solution is providing good ideas supported by rigorous analysis and a political strategy that addresses the concerns and imperatives of both parties. The pages that follow lay out a variety of these proposals. The ideas are organized to engage the four dynamics we believe will shape our society for the foreseeable future:
- Expanding Economic Opportunity
- Building the 21st Century Foreign Policy Toolbox
- Improving Lives Through Innovation and
- Restoring Trust in Government.
We don’t profess to offer recommendations to address every issue, nor do we claim that if all of these recommendations were implemented that our nation’s problems would be solved. But we do believe these proposals offer a near-term roadmap for demonstrating that partisanship does not have to equal paralysis, and that progress is possible in a number of areas that have a meaningful impact on people’s lives.