How to Rise above Gridlock: Political and Policy Experts Show Pathway to Bipartisan Progress under Divided Government

Feb 2, 2023

Eight New Essays Bring Practical Advice for Congress and the Administration to address America’s Most Pressing Fiscal and Economic Challenges

NEW YORK — At a time when political battles seem to dominate Washington, the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation is releasing a set of eight new essays from respected policy leaders sharing insights on how our nation can make bipartisan progress under divided government. The eight authors, including economists, former high-ranking government officials, legislative experts and political pundits, draw on historical context and provide practical advice for lawmakers to rise above gridlock.

With diverse views from across the political spectrum, the authors outline across-the-aisle opportunities to address key policy goals, including combating high inflation, addressing our $31 trillion and growing national debt, raising the debt ceiling, stabilizing critical programs like Medicare and Social Security and achieving more widely shared economic opportunity.

“While razor thin majorities may present challenges, the truth is that divided government brings both a requirement and an opportunity work across the aisle,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation. "Our nation’s challenges are too important to let partisanship stand in the way of solutions. These eight new essays from respected leaders offer historical examples and real world advice for making meaningful bipartisan progress for the good of the nation’s fiscal and economic future.”

The following is a listing of the participants and essays, which are fully available here:

  • "Coming Together to Improve America's Health Care System — and our Fiscal Condition" by Lanhee J. Chen, David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies, at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University
  • “Debt & Divides: U.S. Short on Leadership, Not Ideas” by Heidi Heitkamp, former U.S. Senator (D-ND), current Director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, and founder of the One Country Project
  • “Does Fiscal Policy History Rhyme” by G. William Hoagland , Senior Vice President of Bipartisan Policy Center
  • “Divided Government — The Choice between Governing or Chaos” by Leon E. Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Chair of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy
  • “Bipartisan Opportunities in a Fragile Economy” by Brian Riedl, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
  • “Opportunities for Bipartisan Fiscal Policy in 2023” by Ben Ritz, Director of the Center for Funding America’s Future at Progressive Policy Institute
  • “Rising above the Gridlock to Govern” by Michael Steele, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and former Lt. Governor of Maryland
  • “Rebuilding Trust is Key for Policymakers to Rise above Partisan Differences” by Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan

This set of essays is the third in a series of the Peterson Foundation’s Expert Views initiative, which launched in 2021 to convene respected voices from across the political spectrum to share ideas, analysis and solutions to our nation’s most pressing fiscal and economic challenges. Previous iterations have included essays on the best path forward for America’s economy in the wake of the pandemic, as well as how policymakers should approach rising inflation against the backdrop of our unsustainable national debt.

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