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.