Q&A with Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Josh Gottheimer
The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., is committed to bringing members together across party lines and finding areas of agreement on key issues facing our country. Read Rep. Tom Reed’s responses here.
What is your primary objective for the Problem Solvers Caucus during the 116th Congress?
Right now, the Caucus is working on making sure that first responders and other victims from 9/11 are being taken care by supporting bipartisan legislation to extend the Victim Compensation Fund. We are utilizing the new Consensus Calendar rule that the Problem Solvers Caucus helped create at the beginning of the Congress. The rules are meant to create more bills with a broad, bipartisan consensus, and I think that the country can agree that we should never forget 9/11 or its victims. We’re getting close. I’m also looking forward to working on an infrastructure package that both sides of the aisle can agree on.
This freshman class is the most diverse in history and certainly has some rising stars among its ranks. Who are new members you think we should keep an eye on?
From Virginia, Representatives Abigail Spanberger and Max Rose have quickly dug into their roles serving the people they represents and putting party aside. They joined me and other Problem Solvers at the White House to meet with the President during the shutdown. Many freshmen Democrats wouldn’t have done that, but they embody a problem solver mentality — they know that it’s their duty to talk with anyone in an attempt to help their district.
I’d also point to Representative Elaine Luria, who has been a leader not only in the Problem Solvers Caucus, but also as someone who has stood up as a leader during the period of anti-Semitism we saw earlier this year. She’s willing to take the time to do the hard work behind closed doors, making sure that every American knows that hate has no place in the halls of Congress.
What do you think should be the top policy objectives of Congress over the next two years?
Everyone in Congress agrees that passing an infrastructure package is a no-brainer. In New Jersey, our roads, tunnels, and bridges are crumbling. We urgently need to see an investment before something terrible happens. We expect one of the Hudson River Tunnels, which connects Amtrak and NJ Transit between New Jersey and New York, to fail in the next five years. What happens to the economy when the 200,000 people who commute on that route daily have to change their plans? I’m working on legislation right now to answer those questions. But Congress needs to also answer the broader question of how do we invest in these problems nation-wide.
Do you have a favorite 2020 presidential candidate?
I’m from New Jersey, so, of course, I’m supporting Senator Booker, a uniter, who will fight for all Americans. He also happens to be from my District, a son of New Jersey’s Fifth.
What do you do for fun outside of work when you are in Washington, DC?
I spend a lot of time with my family, my wife, son, and daughter, who I love dearly. When I’m not in DC, and I’m not meeting with and fighting for the people of the Fifth District, it’s an endless parade of soccer games, birthday parties, and school projects. To clear my mind, I’ll get up early and go to the gym. Even in DC, the gym is a good place where we set aside the politics of red and blue. The House’s bipartisan workout group, led by former professional MMA fighter Representative Markwayne Mullin, is one of my top recommendations to incoming freshmen.
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