I look forward to continuing bipartisan work with the Problem Solvers Caucus and my friend Rep Josh Gottheimer.–Rep. Tom Reed, facebook 4/26/2018
Bipartisan: cooperation of two political parties that usually oppose each other’s policies.
Nonpartisan: not biased or partisan, especially toward any particular political group.
“Bipartisan” is no big deal. A unanimous vote to rename a post office is bipartisan. In our current congress, Republican leaders prefer to pass partisan bills with only Republican votes, following the Hastert Rule. When there aren’t enough Republican votes to pass a must-pass bill, then a bipartisan compromise is necessary. The compromise isn’t necessarily a good thing–a bad bill may be sweetened with goodies for the minority party.
When Tom Reed voted against the latest omnibus budget bill, he wasn’t being bipartisan–he wasn’t uniting with Democrats who also opposed the bill, but with far right Republicans who did as well.
Nonpartisan scarcely exists in today’s Congress–to be nonpartisan, one would need to be unaligned with any political party. Even independents in Congress lean toward one party or the other. Foreign policy was once said to be nonpartisan or at least bipartisan, but no more.
Tom Reed directs our attention to his score for bipartisanship from the Lugar Center. Here’s what the scores given by the Lugar Center’s Bi-Partisan Index are based on. “The Bipartisan Index measures the frequency with which a Member co-sponsors a bill introduced by the opposite party and the frequency with which a Member’s own bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party.” Clearly this is a meaningless measure:
- One would need to know which bills figured in the score. Were they important and likely to pass by a narrow margin with bipartisan support?
- One could easily manipulate one’s score by choosing bills to cosponsor. Deciding to cosponsor a bill is a relatively meaningless gesture–one could cosponsor a bill with no chance of passage.
Tom Reed’s voting record–votes with his party more than 90% of the time–shows that in spite of his campaign claims, he is not much bipartisan and nonpartisan not at all.