After months of meeting with colleagues across the aisle, the so-called No Labels Congressional Problem Solvers Coalition introduced its first legislative package Thursday.
Members of the group of 81 bipartisan House and Senate members have been meeting weekly, and are introducing a package of nine bills. Hudson Valley Republican Congressman Chris Gibson says the legislation is divided among three categories: budget reform; government reform; and quality healthcare.
Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney says what he likes about No Labels is the following approach.
One of the bills in the new package is called 21st Century Healthcare for Heroes. Here’s Congressman Gibson.
This bill would merge the electronic health records of the Department of Defense with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Gibson describes another bill in the package.
He points out that a variant of the new bill was enacted earlier this year.
Maloney explains that the new No Budget No Pay bill strengthens the previous provision by requiring that appropriations bills be passed. Maloney also mentions a bill that concerns buying smarter and saving more, ensuring that separate divisions within a single federal agency do not make independent contracts for common items. Plus, there’s a bill to Plan for Efficient and Effective Government - legislation that would create a new Commission for Government Transformation to oversee and effect the transformation of various federal government programs to be more economical, efficient and effective. Maloney says it is not important to him that the package of bills stays a package.
He says establishing a successful track record with the No Labels package of bills should help in approaching more sweeping legislation, like immigration.
Talking to each other sounds like the right idea to Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, a Democrat and No Labels member.
Congressman Maloney says the Make Government Work package, the No Labels coalition’s first legislative initiative, can save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.