2013 saw Congressional approval ratings plummet to record lows: 73% of Americans now say lawmakers have done nothing to address the nation’s problems. As we look ahead to the coming year, our biggest challenge is finding better ways to make our democracy work the way it should.

There is cause for hope. Evidence abounds that the public is less polarized than the Congress, and more willing to hear both sides, come to agreement and solve problems. But the people’s voice is not getting through.

What Congress needs are better ways to bring the informed voice of the people to bear, using new methods and today’s technology, to counter the polarizing effects of partisanship and special interests.

That’s where Voice Of the People has something truly exciting to offer in 2014!

In the coming months, we will begin building out our innovative Citizen Cabinet model in a few selected states and congressional districts. Soon those Members of Congress will have an impartial, highly accurate and fully transparent, new way to tap into the informed voice of the people, on a range of issues coming before Congress in the New Year.

We hope to show conclusively that “We the People” really do have something to offer, to help Congress cut through the ‘noise’ of competing special interests, and make better decisions that reflect the common good. And every American will be able to use these new tools, to put ourselves in the policymakers shoes, learn more about the tough issues and tradeoffs Members of Congress face, and more effectively engage with our representatives.

A better-working Congress, a more informed and engaged citizenry: Not bad goals to shoot for in the New Year. But we’ll need your help to expand this effort into more states and districts.

Fixing our democracy is a big task, but it starts with a few small steps: Make your first New Year’s resolution to sign our petition and make an online donation to give the American people a greater voice. Let’s get started. Help us spread the word today!

And have a very Happy New Year.

The bi-partisan budget approved today by the U.S. Senate pushes back the short-term threat of another costly government shutdown. That’s the good news. The bad news is, it also pushes back any serious effort to break the gridlock in Washington and reach common ground on a longer-term fiscal solution, and it fails to address a host of other big issues that remain unresolved:

  • A long-term plan to address the budget deficit
  • The Social Security funding shortfall
  • The Medicare deficit
  • Fiscal solvency of the U.S. Postal Service
  • The Farm Bill
  • Immigration reform
  • Decaying transportation facilities and other public infrastructure
  • Tax reform
  • Energy and environmental policies
  • Privacy and government surveillance issues
  • Good governance and political reform initiatives

As long as special interests and narrow partisan agendas continue to dominate the debate in Washington, little progress can be expected on any of these fronts.

We need to bring a new voice to the table – the only legitimate source of power in a democratic republic like ours – the informed voice of the people. The American people are less polarized than Congress and CAN help break the gridlock on all of these issues. But their voice isn’t getting through today.

Congress needs some new tools in their toolbox – tools that can’t be manipulated or drowned out by special interests – to give the people a greater voice and help Congress make better decisions.

That’s what Voice Of the People is all about – and our innovative Citizen Cabinet model can do just that. Now is the time to make it happen: Sign our petition today.

Let’s not find ourselves looking at this same laundry list of unresolved issues at this time next year, and the next, and the next….

As Congress continues to wrestle with contentious fiscal and policy issues, U.S. leaders can take a lesson from the surprising results of a new study released by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC), affiliated with the University of Maryland. Working with Israelis and Palestinians, and using ‘policymaking simulations’ similar to those proposed by Voice Of the People, PPC found majorities of Israelis and Palestinians can reach broad agreement on key elements of a comprehensive peace deal.

Voice Of the People (VOP) is seeking to apply similar online “public consultation” methods to help Congress deal with some of the tough issues facing US policymakers, by creating “Citizen Cabinets” in various states and, ultimately, the country as a whole. These will be representative samples of citizens who are briefed on an issue, evaluate opposing arguments, and then weigh in on key issues Congress is facing, all through an interactive, fully transparent online process.

Studies show the American people are far less polarized than Congress, so bringing their voice to the table in this way can help break the gridlock in Washington.

If these new methods can help Israelis and Palestinians find common ground, perhaps we can apply them here, to bring Democrats and Republicans together and give the common sense of the people a greater voice.

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