Leaders of a group billing itself as the House's largest coalition of centrist Democrats met with President Barack Obama this week. Wisconsin congressman Ron Kind is Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition , which met with the president this week.
"We are a group of moderate, centrist elected officials from around the country, who believe in supporting pro-growth policies," says Kind . "The president indicated he's comfortable with us, he believes that we're going to be the intellectual gravity of his policies and agenda as it works through Congress. We're looking forward to that working relationship with him and his economic team"
Despite the rumblings of some conservatives, the La Crosse Democrat says Barack Obama is no socialist. "Referring to President Obama as a Socialist couldn't be further from the truth," says Kind. "I think what we have right now is a president who's intellectually curious. He's a good listener, he wants to hear the best ideas and thoughts as we move forward as a nation, getting the economy back on track while laying the foundation for sustained economic growth."
Kind said NDC leadership focused on several policy issues during the meeting: health care reform, fiscal responsibility, regulatory reform and trade. Kind says the NDC will continue advocating for use of improved information technology to hasten health care reform, for fiscal responsibility and efficiency in government, reform of financial regulation, and will work with the Administration to forge a new trade agenda that maintains U.S. engagement and a competitive edge in global commerce.
Kind says the conversation with the president also touched on the issue of earmark reform, the day before Obama introduced his proposals for reforming the pork laden earmarking process. "This is a bipartisan problem that's going to require a bipartisan solution," says Kind. "It's not like earmarks were created overnight here with the Democratic Congress. In fact, they exploded under Republican watch."
"This president get's it, and he's going to be challenging leadership in Congress to continue down the road of further earmark reform," says Kind. "I'm a big believer in earmark reform, that's why I'm not requesting any."