LAS VEGAS (KLAS) –– Gridlock in Washington has an effect on business and the economy but it’s not too late to bridge the partisan divide. That’s the message coming out of the first annual MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute Symposium at UNLV which was held at the Bellagio.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former House Speaker John Boehner co-chair the institute.
As a very prominent divide between Republicans and Democrats surfaced during the Obama administration, the two key figures from opposite sides say compared to now, they were unlikely partners.
“Working with Harry, we did get a lot of things done, some of them were up against a deadline, a lot of them weren’t,” Boehner said.
The former Republican House Speaker joining former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for a discussion moderated by Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.
Reid says there is common ground for the two parties in congress to pass laws that benefit all Americans.
“I do not accept the fact that things are too much in turmoil that we can’t get things done,” Reid said.
Former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, was used as an example of building consensus to tackle issues regardless of the politics.
“We worked together, and I think everybody recognized that we had to do better for our kids, we had to do better for our families, we had to do better for our state,” Sandoval said.
From a business perspective, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren told the audience, companies like his run into roadblocks as they try to grow in existing communities or expand into new ones.
“Too often, partisan politics and mutual distrust derail these efforts,” he said.
Both Murren and acting UNLV President Dr. Marta Meana say at a time of hyper-partisanship solutions are out there to ensure tomorrow’s generation is better than the last.
“This institute is well-positioned to advance research that supports actionable programs that help the American workforce adapt and thrive,” she said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s event. He stressed the importance of investing in education as the key to moving the country forward.