Charlie Dent Floats the “Pennsylvania Compromise”


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Lehigh County’s Charlie Dent has been increasingly visible as a Congressman on the national level, and I have my theories on why. Either way, he is what passes as a Republican moderate these days in Congress, a Republican who votes with his party over 85% of the time in Congress. That’s reasonable in Washington in 2015.

Charlie Dent was the one Republican talking sense yesterday though. He was talking about working across the aisle to pass legislation. He then floated something that seems absolutely crazy to most of official Washington- a compromise Speaker. Dent’s idea was a collaboration of the moderates in both parties electing a Speaker, and getting things done. It has serious appeal.

Dent didn’t come up with this idea out of thin air, obviously. He’s from here in Pennsylvania, and we recently saw this in our state house. After the 2006 election produced a 102-101 Democratic Majority. Unable to elect the Majority Leader as Speaker, a Philadelphia Republican was elected to fill the job. Dent had moved on just two years earlier from Harrisburg, but he still has a lot of contacts in Harrisburg. He knew quite a bit of the people involved in that deal.

I don’t think Congressman Dent’s idea will happen though. Democrats have no reason to rescue the Republicans from this mess right now unless the new Republican Speaker agrees to have votes on immigration reform, the minimum wage, and gun safety reforms. That won’t happen. With that in mind, Congressman Dent had a nice idea, but I doubt he’ll push to make it happen.

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