Q&A with Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Tom Reed
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. Josh Gottheimer’s responses here.
What is your primary objective for the Caucus during the 116th Congress?
We’re incredibly proud of the progress the Problem Solvers Caucus has made by working together. It’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve been a part of in Congress.
At the beginning of this year we achieved a significant victory when we stood strong in the face of extreme pressure and successfully supported the Rules package to organize the House of Representatives. The Rules package included commonsense changes proposed by the Problem Solvers Caucus, marking the first time in nearly two decades that the Rules package received bipartisan support.
These changes are already helping “Break the Gridlock” in Congress and enabling progress on much-needed legislation to move the country forward. The Problem Solvers Caucus recently amended HR 1 by utilizing a new rule from the package. The amendment was given preference because at least 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans cosponsored it, per the rules changes. The Problem Solvers Caucus is stepping up and developing the muscle memory through the rule changes to achieve bipartisan victories.
What do you think should be the top policy objectives of Congress over the next two years?
One area where we’re confident we can reach common ground is infrastructure. We all want safe bridges and roads in our communities – this is not a partisan issue. And yet we haven’t been able to solve this problem for the American people because of the loud voices of the extremes on the left and right.
Our broken immigration system is also an area where we should focus. Our southern border is a weakness that needs to be addressed and the time to act is now. Unfortunately the rhetoric coming from both sides makes it difficult to negotiate. If we all just sat down and listened to one another, we believe could find common ground to get this issue fixed.
What do you do for fun outside of work when you are in Washington, DC?
DC is an amazing city and I’m fortunate to work here on behalf of the American people. But Corning, NY is my home and that’s where you will find me every weekend with my wife Jean. We still live in the home that my grandfather built – the home where my 11 older siblings and I were raised by our mom after our dad died when I was 2.
On the weekends, my son Will and I enjoy fishing and hunting. During the summer, Jean, my daughter Autumn, Will and I spend our time in the Finger Lakes – a true treasure in our backyards.
I’m also a hospice volunteer in my personal time. When my mother became sick, there was nothing I wouldn’t have done to cure her, but she taught me that what truly mattered to her was comfort and time spent with her family. Surrounded by a wonderful team of hospice care providers, we watched as her wishes were met. That experience inspired me to give back to others in similar situations.
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