Although intense partisanship has repeatedly sidetracked Congress this year, some lawmakers have risen above it in trying to address the country’s fiscal and economic challenges.
The Concord Coalition is honoring 38 of these lawmakers for their support of a far-reaching deficit-reduction plan based on recommendations from a bipartisan majority of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles).The honorees will receive the 2012 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award at a Sept. 20 dinner in Washington that will mark Concord’s 20th anniversary. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), who introduced the legislation, will accept the award on behalf of the entire group.Cooper-LaTourette was the only budget plan to receive bipartisan support in the House this year. Although a House majority later approved a less balanced plan that has no chance of Senate passage, Cooper-LaTourette remains a model for the sort of political compromise that will eventually be required.“We are honoring Republican and Democratic House members who this year put the national interest above political partisanship,” says Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Instead of pursuing narrow agendas, they put everything on the table, made tough choices and called for shared sacrifice.”He also praised the 38 honorees for their courage in voting for the plan despite strong opposition from many colleagues and powerful special interests.