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National view: The need to save children more important than party politics

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., accomplished what few members of Congress have been capable of in recent months: bipartisan, bicameral support for a common-sense bill that has been signed into law.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr.

Joe Lieberman

Klobuchar’s bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act will allow state and local law-enforcement agencies, previously unable to glean information from the IRS, to access relevant tax records to assist in the investigations of missing and exploited children.

Klobuchar’s approach is noteworthy: She managed to quietly and diligently wrangle support for a common-sense measure. Her co-sponsors included Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, a fellow Minnesotan who led the bill in the House.

A relatively smooth process, the collaboration and commitment across parties and chambers — two qualities often forgotten in Congress — prevailed, enabling this legislation to more effectively address the more than 200,000 missing and exploited children cases in the U.S. each year.

This bill is an encouraging reminder that our political process does work when national, rather than political, interests are pursued. This bill is a reminder that our national leaders are capable of working together. And this bill is emblematic of successful governing: When our national leaders commit to the process, they get things done.

It is an example that should be remembered and emulated after the presidential election.

A recent USA Today/Suffolk public opinion poll found that 61 percent of Americans feel “alarmed” about this presidential election. More than half the nation is already alarmed, and a new president has not even taken office. All signs point to a dirty, war-like campaign that will leave in its wake a battle-weary, disillusioned American public come Nov. 8. And so it is encouraging to see that at least some of our nation’s leaders know how to work together to solve problems, to address needs and to create solutions to protect our nation’s most vulnerable, our children.

After the election, it will be imperative that our leaders work together to overcome differences that are sure to be exacerbated by intense campaign rhetoric. It will take the vision that Sen. Klobuchar had when approaching this legislation (What can we do to get this done?) and a commitment from members of all parties to work together for the good of the nation.

At a time when Americans are losing faith in their political process, it is important to highlight the achievements of those leaders who are working together, diligently and quietly. The bill from Sens. Klobuchar, Enzi and Casey and Rep. Paulsen is an example of the good work that can be accomplished when leaders put the nation above party politics.

We commend these lawmakers not only for helping to remove obstacles so law-enforcement officials can recover missing children, but for the concerted effort to rally support from both parties in the House and Senate. True leadership recognizes there is strength in numbers and that, united, we can achieve so much more.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. was governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009.

Joe Lieberman represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1989 through 2013. The two are now national co-chairmen of No Labels (nolabels.org), a national nonprofit movement toward problem-solving free of party labels. Huntsman and Lieberman wrote this for the News Tribune.

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