08/05/2014 01:05 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

Restoring the Promise of the American Dream

We applaud the new Majority Leader's message calling for civility and bipartisanship in Congress.

Kevin McCarthy, the new Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, calls for civility and a functioning committee process in an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post. In it, Congressman McCarthy offers that the House will work to restore the promise of the American Dream. And there is no idea more central to Americans' than the dream to believe that hard work and the freedom to pursue one's destiny will lead to success and provide better opportunities for our children. But the financial crisis, the housing bust and the recession have combined to put that dream on hold for many Americans and a Congress too gridlocked to take action on major issues has compounded the problem.

Another dream for America is one where our elected officials work across the aisle for the American people, where our elected officials listen to the concerns of the people and work to solve problems. Where gridlock and dysfunction are replaced by effective negotiation and cross-party collaboration. It is encouraging to read the new Majority Leader's vision. He writes: "In Congress, committees act as idea factories for policies from both sides, and as a majority leader I will commit to the committee process and regular order. Yet even positive debate is challenging in today's political environment. To help restore civility, I spend a lot of time building relationships with anyone willing to work with me... Friendships alone won't break Washington's logjam but a sense of mutual respect is necessary for constructive dialogue."

The new Majority Leader's words are a promising message for the path ahead as we prepare for a new Congress. The National Institute for Civil Discourse is privileged to be working with a bipartisan group of congressmen and congresswomen committed to promoting comity and restoring regular order -- the processes that facilitate democratic deliberation among legislators -- in key congressional committees. The goal is problem-solving and legislation in service to the American people.

We are hopeful the Majority Leader's words will lead to action on the part of House leadership and members on both sides of the aisle. Then Congress will be able to take action on the major issues facing our county.