Policy Matters Blog

Compromise: The Pathway to Progress

Compromise: An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

On Saturday, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, the first federal comprehensive gun safety legislation since 1994. This legislation happened because of compromise, a much-needed solution for progress. Those of us living in the advocacy world these last several years have experienced frustration because the loudest voices on the fringes of the political continuum have held DC in gridlock. We have been building relationships across that continuum and aligning with stakeholders to raise awareness about the importance of increasing access to school mental health services. In the light of tragedy after tragedy, NASP has sounded the alarm to legislators about school violence, provided solutions that include preventive interventions and direct interventions, sought assistance to solve our shortages crisis, and contributed data and stories about the negative effects of school hardening. Because of our collective advocacy, NASP was at the small table of voices making recommendations for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Certainly, this bill is by no means perfect, but the legislation includes funding and policy that will be good for kids and keep our communities and schools safer.

We compromised, just like the Senators and Representatives that crafted and voted on this legislation. If we waited for a perfect piece of legislation without making compromise, we would be stuck in the gridlock again. Instead, the middle ground was found resulting in bipartisan support and passage. We can finally say we received more than thoughts and prayers. We can celebrate that we finally received action, thanks to compromise. Don’t worry, our work is not finished, and this is only the beginning.

The best place to find compromise in Congress is the Problem Solvers Caucus | (house.gov), which is cochaired by my congressman, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and his colleague, Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). The Caucus works under the “Noah’s Ark” rule, meaning there is always an even number of Republican and Democrat caucus members. The group is “committed to finding common ground on many of the key issues facing the nation.” Their mission is to develop commonsense solutions for the major needs and issues confronting our country. A list of additional members can be found here: Featured Members | Problem Solvers Caucus (house.gov). If you see your representative on this list, here is an easy advocacy step: Contact their office and thank them for being a member of the Problem Solver Caucus and reaching across the aisle. While you are on the phone or writing your email, invite them to reach out to learn more about school psychology—problem solving is practically our middle name!