Jan. 4—Like many others, I've been fascinated by the tumultuous process unfolding in the U.S. House of Representatives as members struggle to agree upon a speaker.
I write this in the second day of balloting where the forces seem entrenched in separate foxholes, with the majority of Republicans saying only U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy can lead, while 10 percent of the Republicans vow to withhold support.
It seems to be one of those moments about what happens when an immovable object is hit by an unstoppable force.
I started poking around to see if there wasn't any solution around that would honor what I believe the vast majority of the American public wants — a functioning government in Washington, D.C. that elevates the good of the nation above political one-upmanship.
Turns out there is such a group, and I'm wondering why nobody on the national scene is even mentioning it. Perhaps, like me, they didn't know it existed.
It's call the Problem Solvers Caucus.
In January 2021, the caucus had 56 members, 28 Democrats and 28 Republicans. The caucus was started in 2017 as an independent, member-driven group vowing to work across the aisle to find common ground on key issues.
It's website states: "The aim is to create a durable bloc that champions ideas the appeal to a broad spectrum of the American People. It is a group united in the idea that there are commonsense solutions to many of the country's toughest challenges. Only when we work together as Americans can we successfully break through the gridlock of today's politics."
Last year, the group agreed to find bipartisan solutions on the following issues: Coronavirus recovery and contingency planning; infrastructure; health care; immigration; criminal justice reform; rules reform, gun and school safety.
Some of the names of those serving on the committee would be familiar to those who closely follow national news, but most are rank-and-file members of Congress who haven't had much press outside their own districts.
With the uncertainty surrounding what's going to select a Speaker of the House, it seems the Problem Solvers Caucus could easily add another item to its list.
With 48 members, perhaps this group could come up with a consensus member to support for speaker who would be acceptable to 218 House members.
This sounds a lot more productive than holding an unlimited number of House votes and bringing any business before the U.S. government to a standstill, including swearing in its new members.