On Unity: Effective Lawmaking—Not an Oxymoron

From Bill Frist

"Probably one of the most important things I did was the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which injected prescription drugs into Medicare for the first time. It was amazing to me, but being the only doctor in the Senate, I knew that prescription drugs were important to seniors….I led on that bill, the expansion of Medicare, as a Republican, when most of my colleagues would say, 'don't be expanding Medicare.' But it was the right thing to do." 

- Dr. Bill Frist, former Senate majority leader and U.S. senator from Tennessee  

Friends and fellow citizens,  

 We are at the end of 2021 and facing another fight in Congress over debt limit funding. This down-to-the-wire, last-minute arguing happens nearly every year around our government's most basic function-funding itself. It doesn't have to be this way. 

 This week, the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy joined with the Center for Effective Lawmaking to discuss what makes an effective lawmaker. Former Senate Majority Leader and U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, M.D., shared his real-life experience as a highly effective senator, which center Co-Directors Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden confirmed.  

So, what sets Senator Frist and other effective lawmakers apart from the crowd? Understanding priorities is crucial, but so is having a strong sense of empathy and a commitment to listening-traits that are vital for bipartisanship. Tune in to hear how Frist worked with Senate giants of both parties to overcome partisan gridlock, expand Medicare and pass legislation that saved 20 million lives from a deadly disease. 


Gray Sasser  

Executive Director  
The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy