Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, was in New York Monday for the kickoff of a movement called “No Labels.” “It’s an attempt to bring people together from around the country and across the political spectrum to talk about how we can have a more respectful conversation about the tough issues we face in this country and how we go about solving them,” Braley says. Braley says he drew from his own background in talking about the issue.
Braley says he started out by explaining that he grew up in a “No Labels household and a No Labels town,” as his dad was a Republican and his mom was a Democrat. “And that I grew up in a town that if you had a problem, nobody asked what party you belonged to, they asked for your help and they got it, and that got a significant amount of applause from the audience,” Braley says. The party that loses power, as Braley’s has in the House, often calls for more partisanship. But Braley says he has tried to be nonpartisan even before the election.
Braley says they went through it in the many town hall meetings they had on the health care reform bill, as they started the meeting telling the audience it was not about whether they respected him, but it was about whether they respected their neighbors and their right to express their viewpoint as part of an ongoing conversation. “And I think we need more of that in politics and more of that in dealing that as elected officials, not less,” Braley said. The tax cut proposal in the Senate is a current issue that has both parties divided.
Braley is among Democrats who are against extending the cuts to everyone. Braley says “many of us” have concerns about giving a $135,000 tax break to millionaires, while at the same time raising taxes on 25 to 50-million Americans who earn less than $40,000 a year. Braley says he wants to see the final tax bill before he makes a decision on how he’d vote on it.
Braley says one of the things they will be talking about is the “whole sense of fairness” and how that should be reflected in our tax policy. “You can have that conversation and you can have very strong opinions about it, but we need to have that conversation in an environment that is respectful because its an important topic for all Americans,” Braley says. Iowa students representing college Democrats and Republicans spoke on a panel following Braley on the program.