MY AGENDA: FIXING WASHINGTON
Like most Americans, I'm frustrated, angered and just plain embarrassed by Washington today. From paralyzing hyperpartisanship and gridlock to the deepening grip of PAC/special interest/lobbyist money and influence to the avoidance of pressing national challenges, Capitol Hill is just not getting the job done. It doesn't have to be this way. The best road to change is to elect leaders willing and able to bring strong, effective and inclusive leadership to bear on the challenges of today and tomorrow. But we can also help by changing the corrosive rules under which Washington is operating.
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Ten Principles. I will be guided in fixing Washington by these ten principles:
(1) Only a vibrant, open, inclusive and functioning Congress will ensure that our country remains great.
(2) The job of a Senator is to find and implement real solutions to our country’s problems, not to score points in an endless political game.
(3) Partisanship reflects values and has its place in framing issues, debates and decisions, but ultimately it's about country and not party.
(4) The best decisions for the most people over the longest time are rarely found at the political extremes but in a blend of the best ideas.
(5) The increasing hold of super PACs, PACs, special interests and lobbyists on our elections and on DC must be broken.
(6) Campaign contributions and other funding must be fully disclosed and fairly limited.
(7) A superminority of legislators and special interest supporters or outdated rules should not be able to hold up pressing decisions; votes must be taken and decisions made, and we must move on.
(8) Congress should abide by the same rules it applies to others.
(9) Congress must spend more time working in DC.
(10) Each Senator matters, as a core group of committed Senators can change how Capitol Hill operates.
Ten Specifics. As examples, my agenda on fixing Washington will include these ten specifics:
1. Work Collaboratively. Implement regularly-scheduled nonpartisan Member gatherings to discuss specific issues such as growing our economy or sustaining our federal budget.
2. Reverse Citizens United. Reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing virtually unlimited corporate/super PAC contributions to federal campaigns.
3. Strengthen Campaign Finance Laws. Strengthen laws limiting campaign contributions and requiring disclosure of these contributions and expenditures.
4. Eliminate Lobbyist Contributions. Prohibit registered lobbyists from contributing to current or prospective members of Congress.
5. Limit Lobbying by Ex-Staffers. Close the “revolving door” for Congressional staffers by applying the same restrictions as for former Members.
6. Ban Members From Insider Trading. Prohibit Members trading on inside legislative information for their benefit.
7. Fix Filibuster. End filibusters on motions to proceed (votes to stop filibusters) and require real on-the-Senate-floor filibusters for others.
8. Empower Committee Majorities. Allow a committee majority to override a chair's refusal to bring a bill to a vote.
9. Up or Down Votes On Presidential Nominees. No indefinite holds on presidential nominees; take an up-or-down vote within a set period after nomination.
10. Work Harder and Longer. Coordinate House and Senate schedules to remain in DC working together for longer.
With strong and effective leadership on these and other initiatives, by more Senators willing and able to lead them, we can fix Washington and solve our challenges.
MY AGENDA: FIXING WASHINGTON