Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Need proof that bipartisanship exists in Congress? Here are 3 examples from this week.

President Biden and members of Congress

President Joe Biden announced this week he and a bipartisan group of senators have reached a deal on infrastructure.

Demetrius Freeman/Getty Images

While dysfunction is a common occurrence in Congress, this week finished with announcements on three bipartisan agreements.

Efforts to advance sweeping election reforms are stalled for now, but lawmakers have reached across the aisle to make progress on several other issues.

Here are three examples of recent bipartisan collaborations in Congress:


On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced he and a bipartisan group of senators had reached an agreement on an infrastructure package. While this is welcome progress after weeks of negotiations, the legislation still faces a long and arduous road ahead.

The deal would invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure over eight years — a slimmed down version of Biden's original $2 trillion plan. The new framework includes $109 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for rail, $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for water infrastructure and $49 billion for public transit.

However, this infrastructure deal has one major string attached: a much more expensive investment in health care, child care, higher education and climate change programs. And it will be much harder to convince Republicans to support these progressive priorities.

"If this is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it. It's in tandem," Biden said of the infrastructure deal.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Senate Democrats may be able to persuade 10 Republicans to join them on the infrastructure deal, but the other bill will likely only have a chance at passing through reconciliation.

Military sexual assault prevention

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together on two pieces of legislation aimed at combatting sexual assault and harassment in the military.

In the Senate, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa are leading the effort on a bill entitled the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act. It would remove prosecutorial decisions for serious crimes out of the military chain of command and instead put it under the purview of appointed prosecutors. The measure would also bolster training and education on sexual assault prevention. In addition to the two co-sponsors, 44 Democrats and 20 Republicans are signed on to the bill.

In the House, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California and GOP Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio are collaborating on a bill named after Vanessa Guillén, a specialist in the U.S. Army who over a year ago was killed after reporting two instances of sexual assault at Fort Hood in Texas. Her death sparked calls for reform, like this legislation in Congress.

Police reform

More than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, a trio of Black lawmakers have reached the framework of an agreement on a law enforcement reform bill.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California announced their agreement on Thursday, but the details of the plan are not yet available.

"After months of working in good faith, we have reached an agreement on a framework addressing the major issues for bipartisan police reform," the three lawmakers said in a joint statement. "There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. Over the next few weeks we look forward to continuing our work toward getting a finalized proposal across the finish line."

This legislation could be a catalyst for police reform at the federal level after the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was passed by House Democrats in March, stalled in the evenly split Senate.

Read More

Podcast: How do police feel about gun control?

Podcast: How do police feel about gun control?

Jesus "Eddie" Campa, former Chief Deputy of the El Paso County Sheriff's Department and former Chief of Police for Marshall Texas, discusses the recent school shooting in Uvalde and how loose restrictions on gun ownership complicate the lives of law enforcement on this episode of YDHTY.

Listen now

Podcast: Why conspiracy theories thrive in both democracies and autocracies

Podcast: Why conspiracy theories thrive in both democracies and autocracies

There's something natural and organic about perceiving that the people in power are out to advance their own interests. It's in part because it’s often true. Governments actually do keep secrets from the public. Politicians engage in scandals. There often is corruption at high levels. So, we don't want citizens in a democracy to be too trusting of their politicians. It's healthy to be skeptical of the state and its real abuses and tendencies towards secrecy. The danger is when this distrust gets redirected, not toward the state, but targets innocent people who are not actually responsible for people's problems.

On this episode of "Democracy Paradox" Scott Radnitz explains why conspiracy theories thrive in both democracies and autocracies.

Your Take:  The Price of Freedom

Your Take: The Price of Freedom

Our question about the price of freedom received a light response. We asked:

What price have you, your friends or your family paid for the freedom we enjoy? And what price would you willingly pay?

It was a question born out of the horror of images from Ukraine. We hope that the news about the Jan. 6 commission and Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination was so riveting that this question was overlooked. We considered another possibility that the images were so traumatic, that our readers didn’t want to consider the question for themselves. We saw the price Ukrainians paid.

One response came from a veteran who noted that being willing to pay the ultimate price for one’s country and surviving was a gift that was repaid over and over throughout his life. “I know exactly what it is like to accept that you are a dead man,” he said. What most closely mirrored my own experience was a respondent who noted her lack of payment in blood, sweat or tears, yet chose to volunteer in helping others exercise their freedom.

Personally, my price includes service to our nation, too. The price I paid was the loss of my former life, which included a husband, a home and a seemingly secure job to enter the political fray with a message of partisan healing and hope for the future. This work isn’t risking my life, but it’s the price I’ve paid.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Given the earnest question we asked, and the meager responses, I am also left wondering if we think at all about the price of freedom? Or have we all become so entitled to our freedom that we fail to defend freedom for others? Or was the question poorly timed?

I read another respondent’s words as an indicator of his pacifism. And another veteran who simply stated his years of service. And that was it. Four responses to a question that lives in my heart every day. We look forward to hearing Your Take on other topics. Feel free to share questions to which you’d like to respond.

Keep ReadingShow less
No, autocracies don't make economies great

libre de droit/Getty Images

No, autocracies don't make economies great

Tom G. Palmer has been involved in the advance of democratic free-market policies and reforms around the globe for more than three decades. He is executive vice president for international programs at Atlas Network and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

One argument frequently advanced for abandoning the messy business of democratic deliberation is that all those checks and balances, hearings and debates, judicial review and individual rights get in the way of development. What’s needed is action, not more empty debate or selfish individualism!

In the words of European autocrat Viktor Orbán, “No policy-specific debates are needed now, the alternatives in front of us are obvious…[W]e need to understand that for rebuilding the economy it is not theories that are needed but rather thirty robust lads who start working to implement what we all know needs to be done.” See! Just thirty robust lads and one far-sighted overseer and you’re on the way to a great economy!

Keep ReadingShow less
Podcast: A right-wing perspective on Jan. 6th and the 2020 election

Podcast: A right-wing perspective on Jan. 6th and the 2020 election

Peter Wood is an anthropologist and president of the National Association of Scholars. He believes—like many Americans on the right—that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and the January 6th riots were incited by the left in collusion with the FBI. He’s also the author of a new book called Wrath: America Enraged, which wrestles with our politics of anger and counsels conservatives on how to respond to perceived aggression.

Where does America go from here? In this episode, Peter joins Ciaran O’Connor for a frank conversation about the role of anger in our politics as well as the nature of truth, trust, and conspiracy theories.

Keep ReadingShow less