The grassroots advocacy group No Labels on Monday threw more Washington muscle behind its bid to reform Washington.
Two years after launching as a centrist-minded counter to hyper-partisanship, No Labels is also shifting its focus away from ideology and toward a pragmatic agenda to get Washington leaders working together to solve problems. Partisan Democrats and Republicans, as well as independents, are now welcomed into No Labels.
Several hundred activists from across the country paid their way to attend the daylong convention in New York's Times Square. Joining them were two newly minted No Labels leaders: former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.
In addition, 24 members of Congress have joined the New Labels' "problem-solving caucus," committing themselves to the group's agenda. No Labels cofounder Mark McKinnon predicted the caucus will grow to 75 by year's end.
"If you get that kind of bloc, you're going to have a pretty powerful coalition in the Congress," he told activists squeezed into a hotel ballroom. "That's something you can do: ask your congressman why they're not part of the problem-solvers bloc."