Problem Solvers Caucus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Problem
Solvers Caucus
Co-ChairsJosh Gottheimer (D)
Brian Fitzpatrick (R)
FoundedJanuary 23, 2017; 7 years ago (2017-01-23)
IdeologyCentrism[1]
Bipartisanship[2]
Big tent[3]
Political positionCenter[4]
Colors  Red and   Blue
Seats in House Democratic Caucus
32 / 212
Seats in House Republican Caucus
30 / 221
Seats in the House[a]
63 / 435
Website
problemsolverscaucus.house.gov

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a group in the United States House of Representatives that has included members equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, with the Caucus' stated goal of fostering bipartisan cooperation on key policy issues. The group was created in January 2017 as an outgrowth of meetings held by political organization No Labels as early as 2014.[5] It is co-chaired by Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) as of 2021.[6]

History[edit]

Problem Solvers Caucus hosting a press conference in 2020

The Problem Solvers Caucus developed over time as an outgrowth of informal meetings organized by group No Labels. No Labels spent years on Capitol Hill working to get members in a room to talk with colleagues from the other party. These informal "get to know you" meetings led to more substantive cooperation across the aisle, including the introduction of nine bipartisan bills to reduce government waste and inefficiency, and the introduction of the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013[7][8] and the Medicare "doc fix" in 2015.[citation needed]

Over time, No Labels continued to organize members into a more cohesive group and eventually branded the group the "Problem Solvers" and recruited its first two co-chairs, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR).[9] This group of members organized by No Labels also signed a resolution (H.R. 207) calling for both parties to unify behind a National Strategic Agenda with four goals: job creation, balancing the budget, securing Medicare and Social Security, and energy security.[10]

Then co-chairs Reed and Gottheimer said in 2017, "We all knew the partisanship in Washington had gotten out of control and felt the need to create a bipartisan group committed to getting to 'yes' on important issues. We have agreed to vote together for any policy proposal that garners the support of 75 percent of the entire Problem Solvers Caucus, as well as 51 percent of both the Democrats and Republicans in the caucus."[11][better source needed] To ensure party balance, a new member can only join the caucus when a member of the opposing party joins at the same time.[12]

Healthcare reform[edit]

During the week of August 4, 2017, the 43-member House Problem Solvers Caucus released a compromise to shore up the struggling insurance exchanges. The proposal focused on the skyrocketing cost of individual health insurance premiums. At the time, the Trump administration considered suspending cost-sharing payments that defray out-of-pocket payments like deductibles and co-payments, a move which insurers said could cause premiums to rise by 15 percent or more.[13]

The second part of the Problem Solvers plan would have provided relief to help states deal with the high cost of pre-existing and chronic conditions. The relief is provided through a dedicated stability fund that states could use to reduce premiums and limit losses for providing coverage for these high-cost patients. The third part of the plan provides relief to certain businesses from the mandate that they provide insurance to full-time employees. It also defines "full time" as a 40-hour workweek to discourage businesses from manipulating employees' weekly hours to skirt the mandate.[11]

The plan would have also eliminated the Medical Device Tax, an excise charge of 2.3 percent, which opponents claim is passed onto consumers and reduces funds for research and development.[13]

Congressional rules reform[edit]

After the 2018 Midterm elections, the Problem Solvers Caucus and House Democratic Leadership negotiated a package that reformed the rules of the House. The Washington Post's Editorial Board predicted that those new rules should "ease consideration of bipartisan amendments, create a 'consensus calendar' to reserve time for bills with wide bipartisan support and make it harder for extremists on the House’s wings to threaten to oust the speaker."[14] Some on the left argued against the changes saying they would essentially weaken Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats in the House.[15][16]

COVID-19 relief[edit]

In September 2020, the Problem Solvers released their "March to Common Ground" COVID-19 relief package, an outline for a Congressional bipartisan compromise that showed that members of both parties were willing to listen to each other in order to craft legislation.[17]

Capitol riot and reaction[edit]

On May 18, 2021, the Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed bipartisan legislation to investigate the attack on the Capitol.[18] However, the next day only 18 of 28 Republican Problem Solvers voted in support of creating a bipartisan commission to lead the investigation.[19]

Ousting of McCarthy[edit]

After the 2023 October Continuing Resolution was passed on September 30, 2023, Congressman Matt Gaetz presented the motion to vacate against Speaker Kevin McCarthy on October 3, in which all Democrats voted to vacate alongside eight Republicans. Republican members of the Problem Solvers Caucus criticized their Democratic counterparts for not defending McCarthy after he passed a bipartisan bill, considering it an undermining of bipartisanship credibility, although Nancy Mace, a Republican member of the Problem Solvers Caucus herself, also voted alongside Democrats to remove McCarthy.[20][21]

List of co-chairs[edit]

Start End Democratic Co-Chair Republican Co-Chair
2017 2019 Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) Tom Reed (R-NY)
2019 2021
2021 present Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

Membership[edit]

Problem Solvers Caucus in the 118th United States Congress:
  Democratic Problem Solvers caucus member
  Republican Problem Solvers caucus member

This group includes 63 members as of March 8, 2023: 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans.[22]

Democrats[edit]

Republicans[edit]

Former members[edit]

Democrats[edit]

In office[edit]
No longer in the House of Representatives[edit]

Republicans[edit]

In office[edit]
No longer in the House of Representatives[edit]

Media coverage[edit]

The New York Times reported in May 2023 that the Democratic wing of the caucus is in "open revolt" over No Labels' progress in pursuing a third-party presidential ticket for 2024.[49]

Tom Reed, former Republican co-chair said in 2019, "The Problem Solvers Caucus has been finding itself in the middle of several key battles and make common cause with its natural Senate allies".[50]

Mark Pocan, a former caucus member and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a left-leaning organization, said in 2018 that he was "duped" by No Labels and the PSC, saying that rather than "breaking gridlock", it was "a fast track for special interests and lobbyists."[51]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 2 members non-voting in the full house
  2. ^ New Progressive, caucuses with Republicans
  3. ^ a b Non-voting member of the full house

References[edit]

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  6. ^ "Our Co-Chairs". Problem Solvers Caucus. 5 June 2019. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
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