Political Compromise: Can it happen?

By KBJR News 1

February 28, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 7:24 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - We've all become familiar with terms such as 'fiscal cliff' and 'sequester', but there's another term floating around when it comes to Congress – frustration.

"Compromise is really kind of a dirty word in Washington," said UMD Assistant Professor of Political Science, Tony Hill, "Most of the Democrats are very far to the left and most Republicans are very far to the right. In fact I shouldn't even say most, it's almost all of them. There are hardly any people in the middle anymore."

Hill says party organizations, which can influence who gets elected to Congress, push for people who lean strongly to a particular political side, leaving little room for people in the middle and apparently not leaving much room for compromise either.

Minnesota elected officials seem to agree that Congress doesn't often agree.

"I trust the judgment of the American people, because they see a lot of fighting and they want to see something get done and I agree with them," said Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Stillwater.

"It'd be better if we could sort of step away from, 'it's your fault' to 'what are we going to do to fix this thing?' And that's what we're trying to get at," said Republican Rep. John Kline of Lakeville.

The looming Sequester seems to be the latest battle of party politics, one that comes with deep spending cuts.

"This is a product of broken politics," said U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL), "The people don't like this and they don't want us lurching from one crisis to another, which are just self–made crises."

Hill says that adding to the problem is the lack of time members spend with each other outside of Congress. He says most go back home during time off, leaving little time to get to know other members. Something that he says could help greatly when it comes to making decisions.

"It's easier to make a deal with someone you're friends with than someone you only know as a political opponent in a political battle," Hill said.

Hill says the political divide started to become greater in the 1980's during the Reagan era. He says he isn't optimistic that it will turn back around.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.