Weekly Column of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander August 12, 2007

“How We Should Work More Often”

Posted on August 10, 2007

This week President Bush signed the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act into law, authorizing $43 billion over three years to double funding for science initiatives. This is the prime model of bipartisan cooperation on a massively important issue to every citizen of our country. The America COMPETES Act is a direct response to the challenge our country faces in keeping our brainpower advantage so our good jobs don’t go overseas to places like India and China. The President, the Senate Republican and Democratic Leadership, and Tennessee Congressmen Bart Gordon and Zach Wamp have joined me every step of the way to advance this important bill. This is how we should work more often – together. Each Tuesday, Senator Lieberman of Connecticut and I host a bipartisan breakfast with no staff, no media, no policy positions adopted -- so that in the midst of each party’s team meetings attended by only Republicans or only Democrats we can have a session where we build relationships and talk about how we move the country ahead. We have had as many as 40 Senators at those breakfasts. When the Senate tries and when we focus on big issues, we are perfectly capable of acting the way the rest of the country would hope we would act. We compromise on our differences and come up with a result that benefits everyone. I think each of us in Congress hopes when we come here to get up every day and do a little something constructive and come back the next day and see if we can find something more to make a difference. If all of us participate in that way on other big issues like Iraq, education, energy, health care and clean air, the Senate will be a stronger institution and the country will be a better country.