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Bipartisanship in a Time of Crisis? How Members of Congress Can Heal The Wounds & Find Common Ground in a Biden Presidency

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 7:00pm

Virtual Event

In a polarized and now violent environment on Capitol Hill, join members of the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University for a vital discussion with representatives who are seeking civil discourse and compromise as we head into a new presidency.

Members of Congress expected to participate:

  • Rep. Tom Reed (R-New York, 23rd District); Co-Chair of Problem Solvers Caucus; Committee: Ways and Means
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey, 5th District); Co-Chair of Problem Solvers Caucus; Committee: Financial Services
  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington, 3rd District); Vice-Chair of Problem Solvers Caucus; Committees: Appropriations, Joint Economic Committee


  • Steve Israel, director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, Cornell University, former U.S. Representative (D-NY)



Tom Reed, the youngest of 12, was raised by a single mother on a social security check. His father, a decorated career military officer, died when he was 2 but Tom still learned from his legacy of service and loyalty.  

These ideals inspired Tom’s mission to help people in need. 

Before going to Congress, Tom was the mayor of Corning, the town where he was raised and still lives today with his wife Jean and their two children Autumn and Will, under the roof of the home his grandfather built.

As the mayor of his hometown, Tom learned potholes and parking tickets are not partisan issues and that is the approach he brings to Washington.

He co-chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus – a group of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats who meet weekly to solve some of the most contentious issues facing our country today.

Tom remains committed to being accessible and help anyone in need. He and his team have completed more than 13,000 constituent cases, resolving issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Veterans Administration (VA), Social Security Administration (SSA) and other federal agencies. He has also held more than 250 public town hall meetings to listen to the thoughts and concerns of his constituents, earning him recognition as one of the most accessible members of Congress.

A former All-American swimmer, Tom graduated from Alfred University in 1993 and from Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1996.

He currently serves on the influential House Ways and Means committee as the Republican Leader of the Social Security Subcommittee.

Josh Gottheimer represents New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District in the northernmost part of the state, which includes parts of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties. He was sworn in on January 3, 2017.

In Congress, Josh serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he works on three Subcommittees: National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee, the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee.

In February 2017, Josh was elected Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, where he works to bring the group of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans together across party lines to find areas of agreement on key issues including lowering taxes, cutting burdensome and unnecessary regulation, lowering health insurance premiums, and improving infrastructure to help the American people.

In March 2017, just months after being sworn in, Josh passed his first amendment in the House, which was later signed into law, to accelerate the hiring of post-9/11 veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In April 2018, Josh’s bipartisan FRA Safety Data Improvement Act passed the House by a unanimous vote. The Act brings consistency and the power of big data to help improve rail safety in North Jersey and across the country.

Josh is committed to lowering taxes and getting Fifth District residents a better return on the tax dollars they already send to Washington. Working with Fifth District mayors, councils, first responders, and towns, Josh has helped the Fifth District claw back $290 from Washington for every household in the Fifth District—a 16% increase from what the District has historically received. These dollars help first responders protect the community while offsetting the strain on local budgets and property tax bills.

For his support for pro-growth policies in Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded Josh its Spirit of Enterprise Award. For his consistent work on both sides of the aisle and as Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Josh was recognized as the most bipartisan Democratic freshman Member of Congress by the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

Josh was raised in North Caldwell, the son of a preschool teacher and a small business owner. Growing up, Josh worked in his father's store and, like your average New Jersey kid, treasured summer vacations at the Jersey Shore. His first concert was at the Meadowlands to see the one and only Bruce Springsteen!

Josh graduated from West Essex High School before attending the University of Pennsylvania, later becoming a Thouron Fellow at Oxford, and then paid his way through Harvard Law School.

After finishing college, Josh went on to work in the Clinton White House as one of the youngest presidential speechwriters in history. Josh wrote speeches on topics ranging from the global economy to technology and innovation to combating crime; he also helped draft two State of the Union Addresses.

After leaving the White House, Josh worked at the Ford Motor Company, where he helped rebuild the iconic auto company’s image and worked on the first American hybrid. Josh was also a Senior Advisor to the Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and published the book Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches.

Josh later served as Senior Counselor to the Chairman at the Federal Communications Commission. During his tenure, he was the first Director of Office of Public-Private Initiatives, partnering with private companies to break through roadblocks and solve national problems. These partnerships saved taxpayers money while helping law enforcement, boosting digital education, and creating jobs. Josh worked on cybersecurity, broadband adoption, combating cell phone theft, creating a new public safety emergency alert system, and expanding wireless spectrum. Josh used that experience to help create a nonprofit, JerseyOn, that has expanded access to high-speed internet for low-income New Jersey students to help them compete in the 21st Century economy.

Before running for Congress, Josh worked at Microsoft as General Manager for Corporate Strategy, where focused on the company’s expansion into the cloud, e-commerce, and privacy. He was also a member of both the Ridgewood and New Jersey Chambers of Commerce, the Rutgers Business School Advisory Board, and was a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology. He also taught history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Josh’s approach to public service is rooted in his experience in both the public and private sectors. During his time working with President Clinton, Senator Frank Lautenberg, and Speaker Thomas Foley, he saw that, by seeking common ground, it’s possible to find a bipartisan path forward without compromising your core values. Josh firmly believes that it doesn’t matter if an idea comes from the Democratic or Republican side of the aisle, only whether it will help the communities and people of the Fifth District.

Josh now lives in Wyckoff, New Jersey with Marla, his wife who was a federal prosecutor, and their two young children, Ellie and Ben.

Jaime Herrera Beutler was first elected to Congress at the age of 31 to represent Southwest Washington’s 3rd District. Both Democrat and Republican presidents have signed Jaime’s legislation into law, helping her earn the ranking as Washington state’s most effective Member of Congress[1]. She is also the first Hispanic in history to represent Washington state on the federal level.

Jaime grew up in Southwest Washington and brings an independent voice and a desire to serve her home community to Washington, D.C.  Jaime graduated from Prairie High School and was a member of Prairie’s women’s basketball team. She also participated in activities like 4-H, fishing at Battle Ground Lake on opening day, and swimming in the Lewis River. Jaime has a deep appreciation for what makes Southwest Washington special.

Protecting good-paying jobs and economic opportunity for Southwest Washington residents has been Jaime’s top priority since taking the oath of office. Jaime has authored and secured into law multiple legislative solutions to protect employers and create jobs in sectors across Southwest Washington including the fishing, manufacturing, and forest products industries. Each year, she hosts an annual jobs fairs where thousands of job-seekers have connected with hiring employers.

Jaime’s record of success comes from her ability to work productively with both Republicans and Democrats on solutions that protect our way of life in Southwest Washington. She was ranked the 15th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House by Georgetown University and the Lugar Center. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Jaime has successfully secured federal support for vital priorities in the Columbia Gorge and coastal communities including maintenance of the Columbia River, dredging for small ports along the coast, and resources for salmon recovery. Jaime also successfully wrote and championed landmark legislation that’s now law to prevent the extinction of whole runs of salmon and steelhead by lethally removing some sea lions from the Columbia River. Through hard work and cooperation, Jaime helped garner the support of every member of the Pacific Northwest delegation for this solution.

She also co-founded the bipartisan Maternity Care Caucus, the first of its kind in Congress, and has been a champion for maternal and child health. Most notably, Jaime successfully spearheaded legislation that was signed into law to address maternal mortality, the largest step Congress has taken to prevent moms from dying during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. When her bipartisan ACE Kids Act became law, it allowed more than 300,000 children with complex medical conditions to access life-saving treatment – regardless of their family’s income or their zip codes. And thanks to her leadership and advocacy through the caucus, the Food and Drug Administration made a critical change to help prevent fatal birth defects in Hispanic communities.

Jaime earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington. She worked on the congressional staff of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane), and then served as State Representative from Washington state’s 18th Legislative District from 2007 until being elected to Congress in 2010.

Jaime, her husband Daniel Beutler, and their children Abigail, Ethan and Isana, reside in Battle Ground.

The Institute of Politics and Global Affairs is a non-partisan institute dedicated to elevating public discourse and stimulating civic engagement.

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Government, Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, Global Cornell


govtcal, cascal, Global Cornell




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Emily Anderson


Rep. Tom Reed, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

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House of Representatives

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This event is open to current members of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs and the Cornell community. Non-Members may be considered based on availability.

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