Let's give credit where it's due.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry should be commended for taking steps to clear the toxic, hyper-partisan air that has paralyzed Congress for the past few years.

The conservative Republican from York County last week announced his participation in No Labels, a movement that includes Democrats, Republicans and independent lawmakers who want to heal the bitter divide between parties so more can be accomplished.

He's also a member of the bipartisan group's Problem Solvers, a collection of about 80 House and Senate members who meet regularly to build trust across the aisle.

"At the end of the day, there are some philosophical differences that we have and that's not going to change," Perry said. "But we need to sit down and talk about what we do agree on ... and figure out how we can move the ball forward on these things."

Again, kudos.

But let's not forget: That's how things are supposed to work in Washington.

The fact that members of Congress recently have put their party allegiance ahead of the work of the people is shameful -- and likely accounts for the body's dismal, 15 percent approval rating.

If No Labels members intend to change that, well ... it's a step in the right direction.

But actions speak louder than words, and the verdict on this group depends on what it's actually able to accomplish.


That, we believe, will depend on the members' willingness to compromise.

Problem Solvers last month unveiled its first legislative initiative, a bipartisan package that includes measures such as moving to a two-year budgeting process, stopping automatic spending increases and withholding pay from Congress if it can't pass a budget and all spending bills on time.

These, apparently, are the areas the bipartisan group's members can agree upon.

But what about the higher-hanging fruit -- actually approving a budget, reducing the deficit, reforming immigration or finally passing a farm bill?

These are the truly important issues that have stalled because of philosophical differences.

If members of Congress are going to hold firm to their ideology, as Perry predicts, some will at least need to bend if anything of substance is to be accomplished.

Otherwise, No Labels ends up being nothing more than a convenient way for politicians to call themselves bipartisan -- without actually having to do the hard work of earning that label.