This era, when political history is being written daily in Washington D.C., provides more proof that divisiveness is the major mover among the people ineffectually running our country.
Therefore, one surprise story that broke last week had the enormous impact of possibly being the curtain opener on a future when bipartisanship may become popular again.
Hold on to your seats: On May 30, the unlikeliest of allies in the unlikeliest of places: Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and ultra-conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) happily agreed, over Twitter, to work on a bill together.
Here’s the opening dialog: “If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc. — just a straight, clear ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists — then I’ll co-lead the bill with you,” Ocasio-Cortez Tweeted at Cruz.
“You’re on,” he replied.
A few hours later, conservative Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Cruz’s former chief of staff, offered to co-sponsor a lifetime lobby ban bill in the House and progressive Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) agreed (in all caps) to sign on in the Senate. Of course, that bipartisan momentum could hit a block if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes the bill.
The concept was spurred by the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, which highlighted the number of lawmakers who left Congress in 2018 and went on to work as lobbyists and consultants:
Out of 44 members of Congress who either retired or lost their seats in the midterms, 26 went on to get jobs at lobbying firms — nearly two-thirds, the Public Citizen report found.
The vast majority of them were Republicans, but one notable Democrat who went from the Hill to a lobbying firm was former House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez defeated in 2018.
Members of Congress in both parties are talking a big game about cleaning up Washington corruption and House Democrats passed a major anti-corruption bill earlier this year that would crack down on lobbying.
Americans across the land who knew about lobbying jobs that ex-Congress members could easily step into understood that the situation was bad. But the Congressional men and women whole-heartedly favored the highly-paid progression so it was never banned.
The Congressional-members-turned-lobbyists could argue that they were the best qualified, because of their time spent in office, to become representatives of private firms and public agencies.
But any way you slice it, it is a biased system that is a corruption in our democracy.
We hope that the newly launched legislation will become law and also provide leadership in moving other bipartisan bills through the approval passageways.
Our democracy is great, but it can need tuning up here and there by gaining support from both parties.