Bipartisan spirit key to future action in Congress

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a measure strongly supported by pro-life groups.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- in December 2009.

And Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, well, let's just say the former Saturday Night Live writer and performer, and author of "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations" and other New York Times best sellers, won't be invited to speak at a Tea Party rally any time soon.

Meanwhile, Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska continues to land endorsements from pr0-life and fiscally conservative groups as one of the most conservative members of Congress.

What could they all possibly have in common?

Well, all represent states with significant rural populations, and they all see a role for federal government in seeing to it that their constituents aren't penalized for living where they do, and have good access to the best in broadband Internet and wireless access.

"I believe that promoting a 21st century infrastructure is a core duty of the federal government," Sen. Fischer said in this week's column, "which is why I have been working with my colleagues across the aisle to address ongoing communications challenges impacting Nebraskans."

She worked with Johnson and Klobuchar on a bipartisan resolution urging the FCC to resolve call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers.

Fischer also worked with Franken on a successful amendment that set broadband infrastructure as a priority for the federal government as it considers deficit-neutral investments for the coming fiscal year.

Both in her time in the Nebraska Legislature and the U.S. Senate, Fischer has opposed new taxes on Internet access, as well as "multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."

We're sure she'll part ways with the colleagues mentioned above on many issues.

But it's a fact of life that getting things done in Washington involves cooperation with senators and congressmen with whom we disagree on the majority of issues.

That leaves one vulnerable to shallow, dishonest attacks in the next election by opponents appealing to voters with only limited understanding of the political process.

Unless a true spirit of bipartisanship prevails, and yes, that involves compromise, gridlock will continue in our nation's capital.

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