Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Ami Bera (D-CA) Deliver "No Labels" SOTU Response


REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Hi, I'm Ami Bera.

REP. CHRIS GIBSON (R-NY): And I'm Chris Gibson.

BERA: Chris is a Republican from New York, and I'm a Democrat from California.

GIBSON: But we're both proud to be here tonight representing No Labels.

BERA: Tonight, President Obama called for a year of action. We agree. This should be a year of action. But in our democracy, no one branch of government can act alone, nor should they. The president needs to work together with both parties in Congress, and we're ready to work with him.

GIBSON: Our constitution was designed to put the people in charge, separating powers among the respective branches of government, requiring them to forge consensus after listening to our constituents. We need to stay faithful to that process and work together to create a national agenda.

BERA: If we want our country to work again, we don't just need a year of action. We need a government of collaboration.

GIBSON: This is why No Labels is starting a three-year campaign to create a national strategic agenda for America, an agenda based around common goals.

BERA: Tonight, there were over 70 members of Congress wearing these orange pins in support of this campaign because they know it's time to change the way we do business in this town. It's time to stop fighting and start working to fix problems.

GIBSON: Of course, political leaders have been calling for this sort of culture change in Washington for a long time. Everyone says we need uniters, not dividers, but they never say how we're going to do it.

BERA: The No Labels campaign for a governing vision is a formula for how to get our leaders in Washington to start solving problems together again. By finding consensus where we need to go at the beginning of the governing process, each side can give a little, take a little and find a way to get there together.

GIBSON: This isn't a new idea. Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton understood that this approach can work, even in Washington that's bitterly divided.

BERA: President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich didn't agree on much, but when they agreed on the shared goal of a balanced budget, both parties were able to come together and achieve that common objective. When Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill agreed on a common goal of tax reform, the parties came together around the most sweeping tax reform in our history. These were proud moments for our country, and we need that same sense of purpose today.

GIBSON: To make this new governing vision into a reality, the hard work of forging consensus must be done before the speech. That way the State of the Union will be more than just a partisan laundry list followed by an opposition speech with more partisan laundry lists.

BERA: Over the next year, No Labels will work with leaders inside and outside of government to forge consensus around national goals we can all support.

GIBSON: It's time for real leadership that provides purpose, motivation and direction, that unites these states of America. Hopefully next year, the president can come forward, and he'll have this consensus, and on that common ground, members can rally.

BERA: The current state of our union may be one of division, but we firmly believe that it doesn't have to be that way.

GIBSON: Tonight, the president said he was committed to making Washington work better and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. We should all be committed to this cause. It starts with uniting the country to forge a better future, so let's get to work, and let's get it done.

BERA: Thank you.

GIBSON: Thank you.

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