'Opposites Attract': Reps. Reed and Gottheimer talk bipartisanship

Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) talk about how they teamed up to create a congressional caucus devoted to reaching across the aisle.
18:12 | 03/15/18

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Transcript for 'Opposites Attract': Reps. Reed and Gottheimer talk bipartisanship
Everyone thanks for watching this is opposites attract where bipartisanship is never a dirty word. I'm how he wrote and we are here at tortilla coast this is a Capitol Hill institution if these walls could talk they would need to sign a nondisclosure agreement. I hear it kind decent and Josh Scott Gardiner of New Jersey a Democrat. And read a new York and Republican. These skies are he co chairs of the congressional problem solvers caucus and asked him about. What exactly are problem solvers who remember this show is all about highlighting the bipartisan work that it's happening on the hill every single day. And I'm curious. This caucus is very bipartisan it's sort of half and half Democrats and Republicans. What gave you this idea to begin his pockets and get everywhere. Together with expressed purposes finding bipartisan solutions mrs. Tomlin while I appreciate that makes for having a sign and we'll prompt Zobrist caucus evolved out of wasn't a group of us that essentially said enough is enough we join with the American. People's frustrations that what we need out of Washington DC it. People that are proud of where they come from out of what they believe in proud and their philosophy but are willing to be pragmatic and have a conversation because it in the day when you bring people together. You solve problems for people back home as opposed to what happens here in DC options that we get caught up in the DC beltway. You know go to our hands and despite. All day long and that's is not productive. And so we got together as a group where up to 48 from one or Democrats point four Republicans we get to a consensus position the senate members will vote as a block. And that bloc of votes in tea how important it is in Washington DC when you can deliver 48 votes on the floor of the house. You can influence the agenda and that's what we've been able to do with leadership from Italy. The site. You know and I think we both believe Fenn thank you for having us Sele and I tell my both. Believe that the extremism. Is really what people are so frustrated that they want people to actually govern and work together and the I just got elected this this term. And in the business well I was before he used to sit at tables and can get everything you wanted to be an 80% what you want didn't move forward. I think that's exactly should we should be doing government right he should be willing to actually talk to each other figure out how is Tom white says how we get to yes. Set a figure out where we disagree but where we actually find that agreement. And move things forward for the country and preventing the people you represent back home. There say it's interesting to me that there has to be caught yes. Designed for bipartisanship and you compare then to some of the other. Big congressional groups here we've got the freedom caucus you've got the Republican study group. Is it almost as if you are forming this caucus that is its own. Party and I mean you were just talking about you can influence the debate and I just wasn't a surprise for you guys that you had to come up with a group. Specifically. Members of congress that want to. My. We did you know and when I found is getting here is that people. To the it in that place is not built these days for people actually talked to haven't worked together on one goes home as soon as the last vote hits in. And and and when you're here you know usually near the separate camps are doing your thing and people don't actually have the chance to. To really develop the relationships and everything's about a relation Fred we get to know and and then figuring out what what matters for them back home so you can actually get something done to place right now isn't built for that in fact. You know because of the extremists on both sides what happens is it's it's really discouraged not encouraged and so actually do need a place in my. Point Utecht to come together and really get to know each other and then figure out ways to work together and where can you what where you're doing a piece of legislation and Tom I disagree I'm planning but what we developed is as great relationship where I can pick up phony phone call me and we say that a lot of our members do this. He also explained you know what what's your issue on this one half we figure out a way around your issue or my issue so that we can help his legislation and don't get. Then there are a lot of policy issues that you guys have weighed in on and put out recommendations on some of them the most one and it really Rick interesting recent ones. Was your recommendation on the docket issued basis those. One million plus children who are at risk of being deported if they do not have permanent protections. I'm. You guys put up his proposal it had a pathway to citizenship for these are recipients also contained border funding. Now a prison term saying in recent this is in the last 24 hours that he might be willing to sign onto some sort of agreement that. Separates those two issues that immigrants and the pathway to citizenship and border while. And gets rid of those sort of peripheral issues that were there including. Diversity visa and Stanley based migration. That seems to me like it's a bit less than what you guys were offering in your proposal. What do you make of the president's apparent willingness you. Consider this pared down plan do you think that's a way forward or should he go back to that problem solvers proposal. Well you a tape which we've been heavily involved with the administration. Both on the prompt cover up it's also our office individually on the Republican side. It is clear enemy that's what the president is trying to do is to brokered deal he's trying to put the deal together that he added. Helped it sign into law and you know we've been gone back and forth on this in the prompts however caucus in opposite position. Which was after months months of hard work late nights rolled up our sleeves numbered a number. To get to the point to show the folks in what we were I think most impact one. As we shall we could get to a solution on a bipartisan basis. And it would be enough plus degrees 80% as a victory out of defeat of the positions we were taking. And what that has allowed us to do is influence what when I'm in the senate we were having meetings with. Leaders in the senate on a regular basis to earn a point in time. And now hopefully that foundational work will become part of the solution that ultimately gets signed an outlaw and I think that's the BAC we're also. Problems I was caucuses a group of members. Who really don't care about who gets credit for getting something done and it is amazing which you can accomplish when you have really good men and women. Who put aside there ego and say let's get together solve the problem because that's what the people who elected us sent us to do. And Washington DC and we know solutions get absorbed in a fearless legislation. It's about time worried about Jessica I'm about the American people. What in the debt. I find I'm on immigration reform what fact we we and that's something we are meeting night after night to try to figure this out if you remember that appears time I kept. The pendulum could swing back and forth first we thought it was going to be docket border security way to path to citizenship for dreamers and width. Border security than other issues came onto it and that was you know so it is the really the ground shifted quite a bit I remember we met in this restaurant. Rats is group us from the government shutdown. It's sitting downstairs were like thirty of us right you know over and over some taco beard. Just trying to figure out exactly where is that where's that sweet spot that both sides could agree on. And we hope that wasn't everything that I wanted but it was a lot of what I wanted in the pathway forward. Now I listed if the president's path if if we can now get back to. Doing stock and borders cadets in the issues I think of the great way forward and we have to we have to move forward on this issue. And and and so we'll see what the next line up with an ally. On a point to one of the ideas that we flooded we came together as a caucus to send a message our leadership has said this is have a good ol' fashioned debate on the floor. And what we call the queen of the hill process here inside Washington DC. Put all the proposals out there and then go through the proposals. And the and the proposal that gets the biggest number of votes and can pass is the vote but it is what we move through the house and get over to the senate. On that was our idea and that's gaining traction amongst not only problem solvers pockets but other members of the caucus. That is now driving potentially the conversation to force them mechanism to get this issue on the floor and out of the house into the senate. And I as the president has indicated I think he's willing to sign but we sent over to. Diets to Tom's axle went there that. What's so interest thing and and and being new here Youkilis amazes me me me if you can develop -- we had we had a bipartisan deal on health care. One infrastructure when we got 75% or caucus working hours to get there as tough. And then you can't we pass actually had people in the senate on health care you know patty Moore and Wallace and Iran but we have proposed on healthcare on and tubby stabilize individual marketplace. And and you can't get these things actually did go to the border known for a vote and that I didn't mean truly understand this is well what you get until you get into. Andrea excuse when you get here at its heart you you could have a great that you could have the votes reading you can't actually bring it before it voted on in and I note and the fact that. That our group actually on immigration said wrote a letter to the speaker saying please let's bring with got. Six proposals out there let's bring them on before us have a debate let's vote on these things and let's see which one we can get across the finish. Let me ask you then about the speaker who I think actually used to be sweeter richer and more pink etc. are well known folder to yes. This place again authors of history here but I'm. Isn't a question the speaker's leadership what you think of the job he's done on the issue is you on other issues what would you like to see from him going up. Well I can haven't worked for the speaker since I got here on ways and means back in 2011. I've known him very well work with a very closely and I what's. His leadership. Is something that I think people underestimate in the sensitive if there's criticisms. His critics that are out there. He knows policy. He knows numbers he knows how to lead. Her say it's just what I think is happening. To Josh just point one of the frustrations that we we have as members that we Sheridan people is the extremism. On the left and the right. Are driving the parties further further left and right and it's just impossible. Almost half of that conversation to get people together. And it doesn't matter who the later it's. On their it's it's it's a reflection of that polarization that is out there and the and the best thing we are dealing. I believe in the proms are Spock is showing the country's showing leadership that no kidding. As Democrats and Republicans we can get together. And we can have a conversation with him and honest conversation and we can come to an agreement and we're doing it not just by talking about it but actually walking the walk in delivering on it and that is something I think is catching fire. We left wing that we got this win meeting in the caucus this morning deadlocked over together yeah. And getting. And we met on infrastructure and chairman Shuster from the committee was there in you'll. That's an area where there's clear bipartisanship brightly where you have the details are always. Worry you you've got to figure out that sweet spot but really there's a there's a real desire to get this done the country I come from place and from New Jersey. Where in the rookie about a third of our. Bridges are considered unsafe around it forth for as the country we need and and Tom from New York is that that's similar that's a large county government got we've got to deal with this. And this and that clearly a will. And enough of that in the Q you went out just talked to the for a 35 members of congress and said how many wanna do this is clearly a will that now we gotta figure out how to actually move forward on. As his it seems to be a disconnect between the will to do something and that will among leadership. And potentially the president to really comment call us. Yeah I think it but at these Bayard and. Because the extremism on both sides controls a lot of how the parties operate how the place operates. And and it forces has its own internal political fact. And what happens when when that occurs as it it's really a DC beltway type of phenomenon to a large degree. Is did people just cannot get out of their seats they're just beholden to that inside DC that political. Politics of extremism and they are now they're not willing to step into the fray and have the debate on the ideas and that's where. We congress that you are becoming. That's exactly counseling right if you've got freedom caucus say you know on you know was saint leadership pay. There's thirty Boston if you do that there's no chance we're gonna support it that's a tough spot. To put the speaker and then what we're doing a showing up and saying. Hey they're there 24 Democrats it's one of Republicans we can give you democratic support here a group of us a block of us who really. One do this issue and we'll help you drive forward on it let's just do something that's common sense problem solving you know and we'll go let's get together on it and and that's. That's exactly why I think we exist because people want us to actually. Fix the problem not just obstruct everything get away. Let me ask you will market policy question witches and guns are huge issue right now school safety. What do you think can be done on that issue in a bipartisan way there doesn't seem again to be that will as a as a whole until congress. She passed one. Shortly idiotic story. I don't know I think lets this has been an incredibly frustrating issue for a lot of folks and right including me in and you know and I think yesterday just. We if showed you that. Younger people like that practices this is not just a Washington issue people or two Mets it's around the country and a walk out it's just. M I think really ethic somebody last night. Back on the set of there was just how inspired they were by yesterday. And so I think we have to do something on our caucus and I'll tell you when Tom difference what I like but there's one less thing for we look at southern said. We think we've to got health care and to an immigration writing these are that some of the toughest issues to actually find. Our partnership on but you know an incumbent on the phone with a bunch members called us forgot that organically right to run caucus right after. Mark what happened instead we got it we have to try to do something here I know it's tough we have to try and we need to we get we've been working on it for weeks now. The pack weren't. In the middle deciding which you know which FISA legislation our caucus can get behind. And we've had a meeting after meeting on it and you know I'm really hopeful though wool will get that we'll get somewhere that we happy that we met on agree again is one of the things can agree in everything. But I found at their plenty of places already where we can fine. And what we're doing through the process that brought to the prophecy of thing get that's in fact is a consensus as we speak. But it allows us as Democrats Republicans. Who believe and where we come from. Like on the Second Amendment issues like that we can have an honest conversation because we know each other we trust each other now. The other problem in Washington DC or announcers don't trust people don't get together and Democrat Republican sides get to know people. I consider job one of my best fronts here and Washington DC. And you don't have many friends in Washington DC and he's on that list because I know him. I can trust him and we have a dialogue we have a debate and always act to throw me under the bus because we're having an honest conversation with each other and that's the issue I'm. I don't know after violently on the phone again we're talking a mental health issues and write in and I'm very passionate very passionate so mine you know and we. We are talking about what can we look we do their red flags and in other areas there. And Toms Thomas implicate. The government sure that we can we got to address this issue with there's a way to talk about this because you know become at this way. No gets people certain people's back up but we'll never get anything done and you know and and and you really bet that's why you learn fertility don't actually. Talk to each other and and listen to one another and just go to your respective camps to actually never. Ran away for hours like anything like him and I gotta take his talking about the issues almost just as important developing the policy on the issue because. Democratic talking points Republican talking when people use language interchangeably. And they think they're covering the issue and they're not they're talking you know language at the other side that's just in nature rejects or accepts and that that is to me some critical that were learned from other stuff. And and sent Tellme and real quick as we brings in for cleaning with one thing you learn from. One of the things I've learned is you know in his position that's democratic member sometimes I assume he's gonna take this position for that for this reason. And what I have learned through this experience in the deep relationship that we have oppressed album out which options that. Don't assume anything and it's a lesson for everybody out there don't assume that the other side believes XYZ. And also don't assume. That they're not going to be want to have a conversation with you. Open your mind. Open to the debate and when you do that he sincerely respect each other. As American citizens that's where we fundamentally have a relationship that's allowed us to learn from each other in a strong deep west. You know house listening very excellent throughout the community and and time has B comic book really really dear Frontline you know and and somebody that I. You know even though weren't from parties clinic atrocity gives me honest advice and honest read on something's been what has been around for long I have here and and so. I have found when. Have an idea or someone brings an anti us and says and we should try this way. I'll always you know -- idea but but if you wanna get this done here's really hyped talk with us are really this is the way to do it we've seen this prop. We've been here before it's not the unit and we this doesn't work for this reason. And that's actually incredibly important that we are fine if I talked nevertheless that would topsy do all the time he just might not get that perspective and it's it's critical. I think it's all members credit and it's critical do you actually develop relationships across the aisle and you and you get to know one another because that's how. That as really hate cigarette I used to be released this in this restaurant right in and Baku and sit down talk to each other it's OK let's get something done. And and and it always Tom points there's always something that you just I always so I'll read in the paper that. Something about what the Republican view on this is accidental Shelton's they want to know if we did this way he pot be okay to. That's actually not the issue at all that's fine by me it's this and and that is and that the if you want everything is about getting something done moving forward and solving a problem. Right so the question is are you willing to do it and that's what it takes it's very easy to say no. Very easy to obstruct the hard part is actually getting did it mean anything yet that's the point. I think we can teach the American people it is easy for elected officials in Washington local and stay level just say no. Because you can defend a no vote any time of the day. Getting to yes his heart and that's what we're shown you can do and hopefully other people are catching on took an organ of the same feedback this is something there. Support of up to want to see more up and numbers or spend look at us now. We want to be part of what you guys are offered. Well congressman read congressman and thank you so much for joining me today this is what this conversation is all about it showing that these bipartisan conversations are happening on the hill. It is not. Always is the polarization that we so frequently see highlight it up here I'm Alan wrote and thanks so much for watching keep checking on ABC live. Face Matt Twitter for more updates have a great time. So.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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