Bipartisan group of House members discuss compromise at Ripon Society breakfast meeting

A bipartisan group of Representatives spoke on Oct. 24 at a Ripon Society breakfast meeting, in partnership with the Franklin Center, about putting politics aside and working together to find common ground.

Reps. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), John Delany (D-Md.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.) are members of a group that meets regularly to discuss and develop legislation that both sides of the aisle can agree on because they share common ground.

“In the first two years, we introduced five pieces of legislation and actually got something through last year, which was reforming the unemployment insurance part of the big payroll tax extension,” Renacci said. “So we were able to work together, and we’re still meeting.”

Kelly said an interest in bipartisanship and background in business drive the members of the group.

“I cannot run my business without negotiating and without compromising and without having a common goal,” Kelly said. “And I think sometimes it’s so polarized right now. I think that we’re not really Democrats versus Republicans, or vice versa. We’re two parties doing the best thing for this country.”

Delaney said working with people on the other side of the aisle comes naturally to people with a background in business.

“I think that we have moved from a world where principles used to matter to a world where ideology matters,” Delaney said. “Traditionally speaking, great things have always been done at the intersection of principle and compromise. The problem is when you move from principle to ideology, you almost definitionally lose the ability to compromise because it’s never a fact-based discussion.”