August 17, 2017

Introducing… The Problem Solvers Caucus

Charlie Black

Shortly before the 2016 election, I wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal – The Upside to an Unpopular President – in which I predicted that the next president would work across party lines to accomplish legislative reforms. Sitting here during the August recess, most observers will say that I was wrong, as attempts to legislate on major issues have been partisan and ineffective.

But, hold your horses!

Lack of results so far in this Congress will likely now lead to a bipartisan approach. The biggest issue of the year to date, reforming Obamacare, has not resulted in legislation. As I write, bipartisan activity to revise the Affordable Care Act is underway in both houses of Congress.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray are actively talking about a bipartisan plan and will begin hearings, through Regular Order, immediately after Labor Day.

An impressive bipartisan coalition in the House, the Problem Solvers Caucus, initiated by No Labels, has produced a plan to fix The Affordable Care Act. The Problem Solvers Caucus has 43 members, about half Republicans and half Democrats, who are committed to vote for this plan. When that many Members band together, victory can be achieved on the House Floor. Led by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), this caucus has the potential to be influential long term in accomplishing bipartisan reform.

So, stay tuned.

In September, Congress will adopt the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. If bipartisan healthcare reform follows, a trend could be underway.


Charlie Black

Charles R. Black is Chairman of Prime Policy Group, and was the founder of the firm’s predecessor, BKSH & Associates Worldwide. Charlie is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading public affairs professionals. Serving as a principal legislative and public affairs advisor to several Fortune 500 companies and trade associations, he also leads Prime Policy Group client teams in several public policy disciplines.