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Hope on the Hill?
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At last there’s a hint of hope from Washington -- a tiny but palpable sign that just maybe, lawmakers are getting the message that people are weary of the logjam which prevents decent legislation from being passed. Democratic and Republican members of the Joint Select Committee On Deficit Reduction have agreed to name a longtime Senate staffer to assume the job of running the panel. The man they’ve chosen is Mark Prater, chief counsel for Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee. We’re glad to see him named not because he’s a member of the GOP but because senators from both sides of the aisle seem to believe he can bring them together with reasonable proposals.

That’s an encouraging sign, because the people named to that committee have been pretty partisan in the past, including Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. As a whole, they aren’t a group that normally would be very tolerant of those who might disagree with them. But news reports indicate that Prater has earned the respect and trust of members of both parties because of his common-sense approach to budget problems. The leaders of the committee, representing opposing parties, have both noted that Prater has helped win passage of “numerous pieces of bipartisan economic growth, tax, health care and employment legislation,” one newspaper noted.

Americans are tired of deadlock. The country is facing a budget crisis with its unlimited deficits. We hope this move will signal that finally, Democratic and Republican leaders will work together to move the country forward.