About the Problem Solvers Caucus

Many current members of the Problem Solvers Caucus had previously signed a resolution in the 114th Congress (H.R. 207) calling for both parties to unify behind a new National Strategic Agenda centered on four goals:

  • Create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years
  • Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years
  • Balance the Budget by 2030
  • Make America energy secure by 2024

Beginning in 2017, the Problem Solvers Caucus became an independent member-driven House Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) featuring robust standards of conduct for members. These standards include a promise not to campaign against any other member of the Caucus and an agreement 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. The Caucus has cleared this 75 percent threshold on several occasions including when the members:

  • Supported and voted into law a “clean” continuing resolution—free of any ideological riders—to avert a government shutdown (April 2017)
  • Released the first and only bipartisan health care proposal in the 115th Congress, which served as the framework for a similar proposal subsequently released in the Senate by HELP Committee Chairs, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Released a comprehensive bipartisan proposal to rebuild American infrastructure (January 2018)
  • Released the first bipartisan immigration proposal in the House; pairing a long-term solution for the Dreamers with investments in border security (January 2018)
  • Supported the long-term budget deal that averted another government shutdown and could not have passed without the Problem Solvers’ bipartisan votes (February 2018)
  • Released a proposal to enhance gun safety and prevent episodes of mass violence (March 2018)

Frustrated by the refusal of House leadership to seriously consider these proposals, No Labels, in June 2018, announced The Speaker Project, a reform plan that proposes using the election of a new speaker of the House as leverage to make rules changes that would give bipartisan ideas a fair hearing and a fighting chance in the next Congress. On July 25, the Problem Solvers Caucus released Break the Gridlock, which has the same goals and echoes many of the same proposals originally offered in The Speaker Project. Twenty Caucus members later commit to only vote for a House speaker who supports these rule reforms

Shortly after the November 2018 midterm elections, the Problem Solvers deliver. On November 28, nine Democratic members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus announce they had reached agreement with likely speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership on an ambitious rules reform package that will create a rare opening for bipartisan legislation in the next Congress.

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