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Originally published November 16, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Page modified November 16, 2012 at 5:04 PM

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Editorial: ‘No Labels’ movement offers reasonable plan to break congressional gridlock

The two-party system has created a toxic political environment in Washington, D.C. The ‘No Labels’ movement offers a sound blueprint for change with a simple message: “Stop fighting. Start fixing.”

Seattle Times Editorial

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Trust in Congress has eroded.

National polls show the average job-approval rating for both the House and the Senate is 17 percent.

Partisanship has grabbed a hold of the Beltway and won’t let go. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the U.S. Senate, where lawmakers have failed to agree on a budget for three consecutive years.

Democrats are too reluctant to address entitlement spending; Republicans are obsessed with cutting taxes and regaining power.

Compromise is necessary. If elected officials won’t seek balanced policies, citizens must rise up and make them.

The “No Labels” movement offers an intriguing path forward. Get it? Move beyond party allegiance.

Founded in 2010 by a bipartisan coalition of political-power players disillusioned by the two-party “point-scoring” culture in D.C., the organization has built an online network of more than 600,000 concerned citizens.

No Labels co-founder Ann Redmond, a Bellevue resident and former Microsoft vice president, is tired of the gridlock. She joined the cause because “congressional members need a new umbrella to gather under to develop real solutions for our country’s problems.”

So far, its members have introduced 12 common-sense reforms to make Congress more effective.

Ideas range from making Republicans and Democrats sit next to each other, to allowing a bipartisan committee majority to move bills even if the chair disagrees, to pushing for a reform to ensure all members are working off the same fiscal facts.

In March, the Senate held a hearing on No Labels’ proposed No Budget, No Pay Act, which would require members of Congress to pass a budget and annual spending bills on time or not get paid.

Ninety out of 435 members of Congress have reportedly signed on as co-sponsors.

To get any further, the movement’s organizers say they’re focused on building a “Problem-Solvers Bloc” of senators and representatives “who are committed to working across the aisle to find effective, principled and pragmatic solutions to our country’s problems.”

Citizens should visit Like what you see? Then encourage Washington’s congressional delegation to take a look, too.

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