In the aftermath of a brutal 2012 election, there had been some optimism a year ago that 2013 might be a year of compromise. But as the year unfolded, on issue after issue, from gun control to a Farm Bill, from immigration to tax reform, the year has proven a high water mark for gridlock. YNN's Bill Carey says if you talk to federal lawmakers, there is still hope that things can change.
UNITED STATES -- New York's senior U.S. Senator has often played a key role when lawmakers from both sides come together to try to reach a bi-partisan agreement. But Charles Schumer admits it's been a tough 12 months.
"You can't just each go off in your corner and say, unless I get it done my way, only my way, I'm not going to let anything happen," Schumer said.
There is already plenty of finger-pointing underway on the unproductive year. In the GOP controlled House, a familiar theme is sounded.
"We've done our work. When you look at the number of bills passed by the House and the paltry number of bills passed by the Senate, you can see where the problem is," said Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Democrats say Boehner has it wrong. That it's the republicans in the House stalling action. Everywhere there is talk of a need for finding a middle ground.
"We have to learn to take our differences and that's fine, agree to disagree, but then move past those and on things we do agree on, move forward," said Representative Dan Maffei.
Charles Schumer's colleague from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, says there is still a chance to turn things around before year's end. She points to growing indications that a special panel of lawmakers is close to a new budget deal.
"It's a modest deal. But my view is, take a step forward. One foot in front of the other. Do something positive to get something done and the next good thing will fall from that," Gillibrand said.
And Gillibrand says there is still time to save the year.
Gillibrand said, "I'm hopeful that in the last few days of this year there will be a sense of urgency amongst all members of Congress that it's time to come together. Work together. Focus on what we have in common and have the good will that it takes to do good things for our constituents."
Schumer isn't quite as optimistic about 2013, saying progress may have to wait for next year.
"I think it will be more successful, because I think there's more and more people in both parties saying, this gridlock is bad for America and bad for both political parties. Let's come together and get some things done," Schumer said.