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Cramer: Supporting Center Is Key to Breaking Gridlock

Over the past several years, partisan bickering has hamstrung Washington. The extremes of both parties have turned “compromise” into a bad word, attacking any and all Members who dare to reach across party lines to engage in honest and thoughtful debate on the issues facing Americans today.

Unfortunately, we have a political system that reinforces this type of hyper-partisan rhetoric, rewarding Members who do nothing but move to their respective ideological corners and throw bombs at the opposing party.

Our country faces great challenges in the years ahead. The debt. High unemployment. Energy independence. Tax and entitlement reform. These are neither Republican nor Democratic issues, and finding long-term solutions will require the type of meaningful reform that is possible only when Republicans and Democrats have the courage to come together in an honest debate of the issues. The courage to compromise.

In my experience, neither party has a monopoly on good ideas. The moderates provide a necessary insurance policy against the parties in control of Congress and the White House, preventing both sides from straying too far to the extreme.

This is why Center Forward is an organization dedicated to taking a practical approach to addressing the partisan gridlock in Congress. Self-identified moderates and independents are growing by the millions every presidential election year; it’s time they have an advocate in Washington, D.C.

Center Forward is not only working to provide a forum for reasonable cross-party dialogue in Washington, but we are committed to putting considerable resources behind candidates who are willing to reach across the aisle in the best interest of the country.

We recently announced $1.25 million in television ads supporting Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are willing to work across party lines to cut the deficit in a responsible manner. The ads are running in eight districts across the country and promote the organization’s primary purpose of facilitating constructive dialogue in Washington.

This is no easy task, but we have always been and always will be a centrist nation. Elected officials and decision-makers in Washington have a responsibility to the American people to work together to confront our challenges head on. Center Forward will be sure to hold them to task.

Bud Cramer, chairman of Center Forward, is a former Democratic Member of Congress from Alabama.

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