A question from Carl Silver of Sydney, Australia:
I understand that the House has been looking into the problem of civility in the House. Is too much being made out of this issue? Have either of the two members experienced incivility? Is the Congress of the United States not debating the issues of the day as strenuously due to the need to play nice?
Rep. Carson responds:
I think that civility is an issue, but not nearly as large as many of the issues that the Congress should be dealing with. Too much of the time, the idea of "civility" in Congress is confused with "partisanship." I believe that it is possible to be partisan on certain issues without becoming uncivil. I also believe that the reason we are stuck in what may seem to be a "do-nothing" Congress has to do more with the respective agendas of each party rather than an emphasis on civility. I know my party has an agressive agenda. I think the Republican side also has a similar agenda. The need to find bipartisan agreement on many of these issues is far more important. If members have not learned to be civil before they arrived here, I don't know what can be done now.
Rep. Gibbons responds:
When I served in the Nevada State Assembly, we prided ourselves in tackling the problems of our state in a bipartisan and productive manner. There has been a great deal of publicity about partisan politics. However, there is too much important work facing this Congress to allow itself to be hindered by such animosity. Less well publicized are efforts toward amity and bipartisanship being stressed by members of both parties. For example, there are quite a few bills reflecting bipartisan initiatives and sponsorship. Hopefully, cooperative efforts such as these will make this session of Congress a highly productive one.
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