Around the Institute

What Will it Take to End Washington Gridlock?

June 29, 2014

At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and two former Congressmen — Dan Glickman, executive director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program, and Mickey Edwards, Aspen Institute vice president and director of the Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership  — attempted to offer solutions to Washington’s perennial issue of political divisiveness and a lack of collaboration for the greater good. 

Manchin capitalized on his rapt audience and announced his intention to propose a Congressional ethics violation bill. 

“Any member of Congress that basically campaigns against a sitting colleague — whether it’s in your party or the other party — would be an ethics violation,” Manchin said. Below, watch Manchin explain his reasoning for the bill.

On the question of whether corporations should be able to make contributions to political campaigns, Glickman, a former US Agriculture Secretary and Congressman, said that the only way to bring about change in this issue, “is if there were a massive public outcry over this.” In the clip below, Manchin explains how the current model of campaign contributions, happening as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, originated from labor unions’ donations.

Edwards, also a former Congressman, explained how and why the Congress of today is less cooperative with each other compared to his time there, from 1977 to 1992. 

“We don’t really have legislative leaders, we have party leaders,” Edwards said. “They’re working not to say, ‘how do we bring issues forward,’ but ‘how do we protect our party, how do we advance our party, how do we do our agenda.'”