In a roundtable discussion moderated by 2019 Chairman Greg Ugalde during the NAHB Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas, Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) expressed support for working together on a bipartisan basis to advance housing issues.
Reed and Gottheimer are the co-chairs of the influential Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 24 Republican and 24 Democratic lawmakers dedicated to finding common ground and breaking the partisan gridlock in Congress.
"We’re the only bipartisan group in Washington, D.C. that is organized," said Gottheimer. "We will vote as a block when we get to a consensus position and we are making a difference."
When asked by Ugalde what issues the Problem Solvers Caucus would be willing tackle, Reed responded: "Housing affordability is a very important issue." He called for removing red tape on zoning and working to create economic opportunities for builders on the ground.
"Housing is a great issue that we will certainly look at to see what can be done there," added Gottheimer. "We can be a great testing ground for this issue."
The lawmakers are open to growing the ranks of their caucus, but want to make sure they find the right representatives who are willing to work across the political aisle to get things done.
"We talk to a lot of folks about joining, but want people who are willing to ‘walk the walk,’" said Gottheimer. "On any given issue we can be a swing vote. That’s what matters and why we are at the table."
Infrastructure, stabilizing the health care market under the Affordable Care Act and prescription drug prices are other areas the Problem Solvers Caucus may look to address, said Reed.
Summing up the group’s philosophy, Reed said: "We’re living in a time where there is obstructionism. We put country first."