Expert Views: Bipartisan Policymaking under Divided Government | Peter G. Peterson Foundation


Expert Views

Bipartisan Policymaking
under Divided Government

As Washington faces closely divided government, the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation is convening respected policy experts to help break the gridlock. This set of eight new essays highlights a range of ideas on how to make progress on key fiscal and economic goals. The authors include leaders from across the political spectrum, offering historical context and practical advice to help lawmakers rise above the politics to make bipartisan progress.

The Fiscal and Economic Experts

Lanhee J. Chen

David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies

Hoover Institution at Stanford University

Coming Together to Improve America’s Health Care System — and Our Fiscal Condition

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Heidi Heitkamp

Former U.S. Senator and Director of Institute of Politics

University of Chicago

Debt and Divides: U.S. Short on Leadership, Not Ideas

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G. William Hoagland

Senior Vice President

Bipartisan Policy Center

Does Fiscal Policy History Rhyme?

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Leon E. Panetta

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Chair

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy

Divided Government — the Choice Between Governing or Chaos

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Brian Riedl

Senior Fellow

Manhattan Institute

Bipartisan Opportunities in a Fragile Economy

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Ben Ritz

Director, Center for Funding America’s Future

Progressive Policy Institute

Opportunities for Bipartisan Fiscal Policy in 2023

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Michael Steele

Former RNC Chairman and Former Lt. Governor of Maryland

Rising above the Gridlock to Govern

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Betsey Stevenson

Professor of Public Policy

University of Michigan

Rebuilding Trust Is Key for Policymakers to Rise above Partisan Differences

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Questions for the Experts

We asked each expert to respond to the same set of questions, encouraging them to focus on areas of expertise, and what they viewed as the most important parts of the policy discussion.

The questions are:

What is your advice for the Administration and Congress on how policymakers can rise above gridlock, and work across party lines to make progress on America’s pressing fiscal and economic challenges?

  1. What opportunities exist to address key economic policy goals, including combating high inflation while avoiding a recession, addressing our $31 trillion and growing national debt, stabilizing critical programs like Medicare and Social Security, and achieving more widely shared economic opportunity?
  2. What are the potential areas for lawmakers to find common ground and avoid economic damage from self-inflicted political crises?
  3. What lessons can be learned from previous instances of divided government about policy tradeoffs by each side to achieve durable legislation that improves our fiscal and economic future?

A note from Michael Peterson

Chairman and CEO of the Peterson Foundation

While some may look at the razor thin majorities in the House and Senate and predict endless gridlock, the truth is that divided government brings both a requirement and an opportunity to work across the aisle.

In fact, there are many historical examples where meaningful progress has been made under similar circumstances for the good of the country.

With our national debt exceeding $31 trillion, critical programs approaching their insolvency dates and continued economic uncertainty, there’s no shortage of urgent areas for our leaders to focus on in the months ahead.

To help provide guidance, ideas and inspiration, we convened eight respected experts to offer their perspective on the opportunities to achieve bipartisan legislation in the 118th Congress. We hope the insights in these eight essays help illuminate a pathway to break gridlock and develop common sense bipartisan legislation for our nation’s future.

Read the essays from past Expert Views