Vol. 48, No. 4

In this edition

According to the latest polls, trust in government is at an all-time low. Depending on who you talk to, this may either be a good thing or a bad thing. For some on the right, it may be a good thing because it is consistent with their core belief that government has gotten too big […]

“We cannot achieve great things alone.”

We need to bridge the ever-growing chasm between the American people and their elected leaders – a rift that has been exacerbated by the Administration’s flagrant executive overreach, a loss of opportunity for middle-class Americans, and a lack of transparency that pervades the federal government.

“Republicans need to show that we can deliver.”

American voters were spectacularly supportive of Republican candidates in this year’s elections. We have 54 Republican Senators and we’ll have more Republicans in the House than at any point since Harry Truman was President. And, it could all be for nothing if we as a Party squander the opportunity we have been given by failing […]

“We can restore the trust and confidence by coming together to find common ground.”

If there is one thing that members on both sides of the aisle can agree on, it is that our country is divided politically. Members of Congress approach issues from different perspectives and come to different conclusions about the best solutions to the problems we face.

“Washington needs to be recalibrated so that it is smaller, less intrusive, and more accountable.”

While it will take substantial time to reverse the problems described above and to restore our country’s exceptionalism, we need to first focus on creating an environment for economic growth. Every piece of legislation and every federal regulation should be judged by its impact on an overarching goal of creating “more jobs and better paychecks […]

Q&A with Michael Dimock

The President of the Pew Research Center discusses the low-level of trust Americans have toward the federal government and how it compares to past years. “The perception of dysfunction in Washington, along with a persistent sense of economic insecurity, is clearly weighing down views of government. And just as with interpersonal relationships, trust in government […]

Want to Improve Trust in Government?

“Should we be surprised that so many Americans hold Congress in such low regard?” The veteran political strategist and former House leadership aide says the public’s view of government is not surprising given the vitriol they are exposed to during political campaigns.

Restore Regular Order

Regular order is Congress doing the basic work of legislating which includes deliberating in committees, engaging with stakeholders, offering and voting on amendments and ultimately passing or rejecting legislative proposals. These cornerstones of the democratic process were not hallmarks of the 113th Congress.

The Michigan Example on Immigration

Our country needs a long-term, comprehensive solution to an immigration policy that everyone knows is broken and continues to hold back our economy. It’s essential that the White House and Congress work together on an innovative approach that will address our country’s present needs as well as those long into the future.

Where Consensus Exists

Was the end of this election the beginning of a period committed to governance or merely the beginning of the 2016 campaign season, with all of the gridlock and divisiveness that implies? More to the point, can the Congress and the White House earn back the trust our citizens deserve to have in their government?

Frontrunners, Dark Horses, and the Presidential Nomination Contest

Frontrunners don’t always win, but presidential nomination contests are rarely wide-open races. Dark horses don’t emerge from the back of the pack. The 2008 winners were in second place in their respective party’s poll.


If there are wise men left in Washington, then Bill Frenzel was most assuredly one of them. He was both a scholar and a statesman who served his country in many important ways.

Ripon Profile of Mia Love

“I ran for Congress because I believe this country is in real trouble, and it’s up to We the People to fix things before it’s too late. The people of America want a government that is transparent. Our citizens deserve to know and understand the ‘hows and whys’ for decisions made at every level of […]

Where Consensus Exists

CollinsOn November 4, 2014, the American people sent a powerful statement, one that resonated from Washington to state capitals around the country.  In the marketplace of ideas, our Republican values of freedom, personal responsibility, and a strong national defense, of government that is less expensive and intrusive, yet more effective and accountable, carried the day.

Now, the American people are wondering.  Can we deliver?  With a new Republican majority in the Senate and an even stronger representation in the House, will the next Congress work together to address issues that truly concern our citizens?

Obviously, the Republican House certainly will find a Republican Senate to be a more willing legislative partner.  That comity will be to no avail, however, if we in the Senate continually find ourselves unable to muster the needed Democratic votes to bring cloture, or if Congress passes legislation only to find it blocked by a presidential veto.

So, the real question is this: Was the end of this election the beginning of a period committed to governance or merely the beginning of the 2016 campaign season, with all of the gridlock and divisiveness that implies?  More to the point, can the Congress and the White House earn back the trust our citizens deserve to have in their government?

Restoring that trust must be our highest priority.  That can only be done if we in Washington work together to get something done.  Our first initiatives in the New Year must produce actual results, not bickering and hyper-partisanship.

Our first initiatives in the New Year must produce actual results, not bickering and hyper-partisanship.

In order to do so, we should concentrate on one broad issue that is of great concern to the American people and that transcends party – jobs.   With unemployment still too high and with a record number of Americans having withdrawn from the labor market, this is one area in which Republicans and Democrats should come together quickly.  I suggest that we focus on three measures which would help create an environment that fosters economic growth and job creation.

One of those measures should be job training.  Robust workforce development, ensuring that American workers get the education and training they need to compete in the 21st Century, must be a top priority.  I have met with business owners in my home state of Maine who have jobs available but cannot find qualified and trained workers to fill these vacant positions.  It is estimated that one-third of the U.S. unemployment rate is due to the imbalance between workers’ skills and open jobs.  The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act I cosponsored, which became law in July, encourages public-private partnerships that include institutions of higher education, employers, and workforce boards to build customized training solutions for specific industries.  Further expanding these reforms will help align America’s workforce with the needs of our employers to promote a robust and growing economy.

A second is further investments in biomedical research.  These investments improve the health and longevity of Americans, and they provide ongoing benefits to our economy as well.  According to multiple economic analyses, there is roughly a 2:1 return on investment for federal support of biomedical research.  Investments in National Institutes of Health research spur job creation and are also critical to America’s competitiveness in the global research environment.  We see this in Maine, where the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and the Jackson Laboratory are conducting world-class research to prevent, treat, and cure devastating diseases.  With the assistance of federal funding, such facilities bring hope to humanity and distinction to our State and others, while they create the high-tech jobs of the 21st Century.

We should concentrate on one broad issue that is of great concern to the American people and that transcends party – jobs.

Finally, the Congress and the White House should be able to come together to improve our transportation systems.  Rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges, and improving such critical infrastructure as airports, seaports, and railways, create immediate construction jobs and set the stage for ongoing economic growth.  As the Ranking Member, and likely incoming Chairman, of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I have ensured continued investment in the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) grant program for highway, bridge, port, and rail projects.

Access to affordable, high-quality broadband is also critical to our nation’s future.  Congress should come together on policies to spur investment in rural broadband and continue to insist that laws affecting the Internet encourage robust investment in broadband in rural areas.

These are important matters on which real and immediate progress is possible.  Before the new Congress takes on many contentious issues, we would be wise to first demonstrate to the American people that we can act with civility and in a spirit of compromise.  Otherwise, we will only demonstrate why the American people are justified in holding Congress in such low esteem.

I am optimistic that we will succeed.  Shortly after the election, I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues calling on Senate leaders to schedule monthly lunches between the two caucuses during the 114th Congress in the hope of building more productive relationships among all members of the Senate.  It is encouraging that Sen. Mitch McConnell, in preparing to take over as Majority Leader, vowed to return the Senate to “regular order” so that budgets and spending bills are given thorough deliberation to avoid the threat of a government shutdown.

2014 was a great year for Republicans, but we would be overly confident to assume that the results signal a permanent shift in the electorate.  The mercurial results of national elections going back decades signal deep dissatisfaction with both parties.  As Senate Republicans transition from minority to majority, we must listen to what our citizens have said: this is not a license to get even, but a mandate to get going.

Susan M. Collins represents the State of Maine in the United States Senate.