Former congressman Vern Ehlers says the key to solving political stalemates like the fiscal cliff is compromise.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - During his 26 years as a state and federal lawmaker, retired Grand Rapids congressman Vern Ehlers says he saw many political stalemates that seemed as hopeless as the looming fiscal cliff crisis.
"I regard much of the battle as unnecessary, but I've been in the middle of these confrontations a number of times," he says.
And somehow, during his 16 years in Congress, the
Grand Rapids Republican says the stalemates were almost always resolved. Ehlers says compromise was the key.
"I was generally the peacemaker," he recalls. "I'm not the person who digs in his heels and says, 'You are a bunch of idiots and I'm not going to deal with you'. I don't know who is going to emerge as the one who is going to bring them together, but I'm confident its going to happen."
If Congress doesn't act, the law that takes effect January 1 will raise taxes on almost everyone and cut federal spending so much, experts say the combination could push the economy into recession.