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117th Congress: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) & Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) join Washington Post Live on Friday, June 4 (Video: Washington Post Live)

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). It has been involved in recent negotiations on issues from infrastructure to police reform. The co-chairs join Jacqueline Alemany, congressional reporter and author of the “Power Up” newsletter, to discuss the role of the group, its legislative priorities and backing for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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The Representative said his support for a compromise floated by President Biden of a 15% minimum tax on corporations depends on what is packaged with the tax. “That depends on what it’s packaged with… Standalone with nothing else… it’s got to be the product of a compromise. So, if that’s what’s necessary in exchange for making this more of a true infrastructure bill, physical, traditional infrastructure, that’s over a reasonable period of time that’s going to invest the right amounts in the right buckets–for example on broadband–that are going to allow us to be competitive with China, you gotta look at the whole package. It’s impossible to answer any of these questions standalone.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Gottheimer said the Problem Solvers Caucus is growing because more and more members of Congress want to govern and make change in a bipartisan way. “We’re trying to fix years of division here, and I’m not going to blame any side for it, I’m just going to say there’s been years of fear of partisanship that we’re battling against. And now, after a few really tough years, we’re very focused on rebuilding the muscles of bipartisanship… I’ll tell you this, there’s a reason why the Problem Solvers Caucus is growing and not shrinking, There are more members who actually want to govern in a bipartisan way that I’m hearing from than ever before, because they’ve had it with the way it is… We’ve got a lot of good eggs in Congress right now who actually want to do the right thing and put country first.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Acknowledging the current state of political polarization, Rep. Fitzpatrick said Congress currently has the largest block of centrists that he’s seen in his lifetime. “I think two things are simultaneously true…. We do have, at least in my lifetime, the most divisive political climate and perhaps the most divisive Congress, but I will also say that we also have the largest block of centrists that I’ve seen, at least in a long time.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Despite the Caucus working on immigration for years, Rep. Gottheimer was optimistic about passing reform but gave no timeline. “We need to have tough borders to protect our country, but also live up to our values. There’s a way to do this, but it’s going to take reform. It’s going to take us all actually doing the hard stuff. We’ve been working on this as a Caucus for years… So I think we’re going to have to look at real, comprehensive reform, obviously protect our DREAMers, obviously have tough borders, but then solve… how do you deal with where the intake is and have due process so you protect the people who need protecting…It’s a very tough thing that we’ve got to grapple with, and I think Brian and I and a group of us can really come up with some answers here, but it’s going to take patience and political courage… But I think we can do it and we’re both very committed to tackling it.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)

Provided by the Problem Solvers Caucus.

For 14 years prior to representing his hometown of Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, Brian Fitzpatrick served our nation both as an FBI Special Agent and Federal Prosecutor, fighting both domestic and international political corruption, and supporting global counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts – including being embedded with U.S. Special Forces as part Operation Iraqi Freedom. Working to promote freedom and democracy at home and abroad, Brian also served as National Director for the FBI’s Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program and as a National Supervisor for the FBI’s Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters, where he was recognized as an expert in restoring integrity to governmental institutions. In the 117th Congress, Brian was elected Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, having previously served as Vice-Chair. Brian is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment, and Cyber, and he was appointed by House leadership to currently serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and as a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Additionally, Brian serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and he is the Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. Brian is a licensed attorney, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a Certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)

Provided by the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Josh Gottheimer represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District in the northern part of the state, which includes parts of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties. In Congress, Gottheimer serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he works on three Subcommittees: National Security, Capital Markets, and Diversity and Inclusion. Gottheimer serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, where he works across party lines to find areas of agreement on key issues.