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Reed’s first priority is bipartisan 'Problem Solvers,' but with Dems’ House win, caucus may weaken

Celia Clarke
WSKG Public Media

CORNING, NY (WSKG) –The ballroom of a Corning hotel was filled with supporters and family to celebrate Reed’s re-election.

As the votes were reported, campaign staff shared the tally on a spreadsheet projected on large screen in the room. Reed won all counties in the district except Tompkins where the majority of voters are registered Democrats.

He says his first new business is with the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bi-partisan group he co-chairs, that proposed a set of changes to how legislation is debated. The intention is to take away power from party leadership and put it back in the hands of committees.

“The Problem Solvers Caucus,” he said. “Depends on where the majority is, but we’re gonna get these rules reformed, so we get away from this top down driven organization… and then we’re gonna take on America’s big issues: infrastructure, healthcare. Immigration is something I think we can reach across the aisle and find a solution to. So, those are just the beginnings.”

The caucus has over forty members evenly divided between both parties. They have yet to solve any significant problems. However, they are building a voting bloc to influence who the next Speaker of the House will be.

But some political experts don’t think the Democrats in the Problem Solvers are likely to withhold their vote for a House Speaker, like several others, including Reed.

“I doubt that that caucus will stay together in terms of any leadership question because the Democrats who are members of that caucus, their bread is going to be buttered by whoever becomes Speaker,” said Jim Twombly, professor of political science at Elmira College.