Longer Listen

LaHood: Bipartisanship Needed To Solve Big Problems

Ray LaHood being sworn in as Transportation Secretary January 23, 2009

Ray LaHood, second from left, being sworn in as Transportation Secretary, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, during a ceremony at the Transportation Department in Washington. From left: his son Sam; LaHood; his wife Kathy; Linda Washington, assistant secretary for Administration; and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. (AP Photo/Transportation Department)

Former Republican Congressman and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is pushing for more bipartisanship in Washington, D.C.  He spoke with Illinois Public Media's Brian Moline about the need for bipartisanship and other national topics.

LaHood's new book, "Seeking Bipartisanship," is available now from Cambria Press.  As someone who served both as a Republican Congressman, and as the Secretary of Transportation under a Democratic President, LaHood says he has seen how bipartisanship can solve some of the country's biggest problems.

"Did Speaker Gingrich and President Clinton agree on much?" LaHood asked.  "Well, what they agreed on is that the government has a role to play in solving big issues.  We passed three balanced budgets.  We finally passed welfare reform.  After President Clinton vetoed it twice, we finally passed a bill."

LaHood pulled no punches when assigning blame for the lack of bipartisanship he currently sees in Washington, D.C.

"I think what you have in Washington today are 40 members in the House of Representatives who call themselves Tea Party members who don't believe in government, vote 'no' on everything, are not afraid to shut the government down," LaHood said. 

"In the Senate, maybe five to ten senators, who call themselves Tea Party members, don't call themselves Republican, disparage their own leadership, and this is what has caused the inability of America to move forward on immigration reform, infrastructure reform, tax reform, and any number of other big issues."

LaHood also said that he thinks Paul Ryan is a good choice for Speaker of the House, and that he currently supports Jeb Bush in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.