WASHINGTON, D.C. — With a federal budget deadline looming later this month, Rep. Tom Reed is crediting the work of the Problem Solvers Caucus for pushing Republican and Democratic lawmakers to forge agreements that would put an end to short-term deals to keep the government running.
“We want to have a full-year spending bill,” said Reed, R-23 of Corning, in his weekly call with reporters this past week. “We need to get this running appropriately.”
Reed pointed to an agreement by appropriations committee members in the House and Senate on allocations for 12 spending bills that could pave the way for negotiations on a budget accord by the Dec. 20 deadline.
“That is a very big deal,” said Reed. “Hopefully our statement broke the gridlock.”
On Nov. 21, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced the following position:
“Governing by continuing resolutions and government shutdowns are no way to run our country and hurts the people we were sent to Washington to represent. This is why the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus is calling on Democratic and Republican congressional leadership to put forward a bipartisan spending bill to fully fund our government through the end of this fiscal year.”
Reed is co-chair of the 48-member caucus with New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer. It consists of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats. The caucus issued the following statement as part of the group’s release of its position on federal budget stalemates:
“The American people want Congress to do their job, put politics aside, and pass a long term spending bill. Congress must stop putting politics first and focus on good policy because these two- and three-week spending bills are no way to run a country and does nothing but deliver uncertainty for our hardworking federal workers, puts our national security at risk and makes long-term strategic decisions extremely difficult for our essential government agencies.”
The region’s other House member, Republican John Katko, R-24 of Camillus, also is a member of the caucus. He released the following statement:
“This week, I joined the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in supporting a spending bill to avoid a costly government shutdown. While I am pleased this bipartisan government funding measure passed, I believe it is unsustainable to continue governing from crisis to crisis. We must have the foresight to deliver a funding package that provides long-term certainty. Congress must now work across party lines and cut through partisan gridlock to achieve this goal.”
Reed said the current short-term budget deals are “no way to fund a government,” and that there is “growing sentiment” among both parties that the process needs changing. The Corning Republican said both sides need to “take the 80 percent” of what they like in budget negotiations and move on.
Reed said the budget breakthrough by Democrats and Republicans gives him hope that a long-term deal is possible.
“I’m more optimistic now than I was before,” he said.