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An early draft of this letter urged Pelosi, McCarthy, McConnell and Schumer to resign in shame over their inability to address the shutdown. Knowing that won’t happen, I think we-the-public should insist they at least start trying some creative approaches to problem solving.

For instance, if they can’t solve the riddle, why not assign a neutral, senior statesperson to conduct shuttle diplomacy between the sides to formulate a deal (think Kissinger in the Middle East)? Or, why not consider having the House and Senate each nominate their six people most knowledgeable about immigration (three from each party), then shut them in a room for round-the-clock negotiations until they develop a proposal on which House and Senate leaders agree to hold a vote?

Or, why not have multi-day House and Senate working sessions in which all the members are divided into problem-solving teams and then make public heroes of the teams with the best ideas? Finally, how about simply offering some creative bargains, e.g., if a permanent solution to DACA is a non-starter for Republicans, how about trading 100 miles of wall (for Republicans) for prescription drug price reform (for Democrats)?

Sadly, we’ve come to accept the dysfunction of Congress as the only possible state of affairs. Our leaders are failing to meet the challenges of our times. There are lots of alternative approaches to problem solving; so far, our leaders aren’t trying any of them. Readers, please call their offices to insist they get ambitious and creative.

ROBERT VANE

Flagstaff

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