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Different Congress, Same Problems?

<P>24 hours after Election Day, many fear a new congress may have the same problems, but what do your locally elected officials think?</P>

There are a few seat changes here or there, but Republicans still have a majority in the House of Representatives, as do the Democrats in the Senate, and President Obama, is still in the White House.

We asked local politicians why we should expect anything different from this congress, and
found that working across the aisle is time sensitive, and the clock is ticking.

US Congressman Glenn Thompson just got elected to his third term in the House of Representatives, we asked him to name one bill sponsored by a Democrat that he's pushing for compromise from his Republican colleagues. He wouldn't commit to taxes or healthcare, but he says he wants to help solve a Helium shortage.

"I'm reaching out as we speak across the aisle to my Democratic colleagues that are on the Natural Resource Committee, that are folks that I almost never vote the same, but this is something that I think we can find some common ground."


Congressman Thompson was here speaking to Penn State students at their Agriculture, Science and Industries building, and while he's in the majority in the House of Representatives at the federal level, when it comes to working on bipartisan legislation, being in the minority, makes it tougher, even at the state level.

Representative Scott Conklin's a Democrat and a minority in the state House of Representatives; he says he's constantly fighting an uphill battle, to get bills passed.

"It's rough sometimes, many times you have to go out, and at the end of the day, you have to decide again, is it your name on that bill that's important to you? Or is it important getting a bill which you want for your constituency through?"

Rep. Conklin says that there's little time for true work across the aisle, before campaigning starts again, and the timer's started.

"That window is usually about 6-18 months; after a President is elected before the true political game begins to be played."

But given the country's circumstances, Rep. Conklin has hope that bipartisan bills can be passed.

"Not just the optimist in me, but the practical person in me feels that they're at least going to get the very minimum done, over the next couple months because I don't believe they have a choice..."

Congressman Thompson says it's now or never, and he's willing.

"I think the consequences are real and I think it's so real and so critical that hopefully it's going to motivate everyone to come to the table, I'm already there."

At least one thing both sides can agree on.

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