As students from across the country prepare to march on Saturday, the Problem Solvers Caucus today announced that they are continuing to work together to find bipartisan consensus on meaningful legislation to reduce gun violence in our communities. The caucus reached agreement on commonsense measures to improve school safety and fund mental illness research, which successfully passed the House of Representatives and Senate in the omnibus funding agreement.
The forty-eight member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Tom Reed (NY-23) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), launched a Working Group in response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, to find common ground between Republicans and Democrats. The Working Group, co-chaired by Reps. Fred Upton (MI-06) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12), has partnered with key stakeholders and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to find consensus for sensible policy on preventing gun violence and ensuring school safety. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) also serve on the Problem Solvers Caucus Working Group.
The Problem Solvers Caucus agreed to support H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017; H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018; H.R. 4811, the Securing Our Schools Act of 2018; and appropriations to fund mental health programs established in the 21st Century Cures Act, all of which were passed by the House of Representatives and Senate and recently signed into law. The Caucus also agreed to support H.R. 3999, legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” and similar devices, and H.R. 4471, the NICS Denial Notification Act of 2017.
“We must work together to find a comprehensive solution to violence in our schools, which is what the Problem Solvers Caucus looks to achieve. We have to focus on the full picture by addressing mental illness, funding School Resource Officers, and enhancing the background check system. It’s time we ensure that when our kids leave for school in the morning, that they will be safe and protected,” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Tom Reed.
“America’s teachers and students deserve better to prevent violence in our schools. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to end gun violence and ensure that our children are safe in school. I’m proud that, after Parkland, our caucus has overcome the traditional partisan divide on this issue and took the first steps to deliver a plan to keep our kids and families safe.” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer.
“Looking forward, we urge our leadership and colleagues to join us in fair, full, and thoughtful debate on solutions to tragic gun violence. The students converging on Washington and those that we are joining in Michigan are pleading for action. We owe it to them to deliver. There is plenty of blame to go around for past tragedies, but what can Congress do now to prevent more? We have made progress on a host of fronts – but we are not done. Our discussions continue on developing common-sense ‘Red Flag’ legislation, banning Bump Stocks, and stricter background checks to include new domestic violence protections. There are plenty of areas we can find agreement but it will take commitment, courage, and consensus. Our bipartisan work continues.” – Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06)
“The work of the Problem Solvers Caucus is just beginning. We have a responsibility to keep our children and communities safe, and with thousands of children marching in Washington and across the country this weekend, it is critical that we give them hope. Congressman Upton and I remain committed to working with our colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – toward meaningful legislation to ensure our kids can go to school and feel safe, including measures to improve and strengthen the background check system, expand “Red Flag” laws, and close loopholes that allow domestic abusers access to guns. The time to act is now, and we must all have the courage and conviction to advance meaningful solutions that will save lives.”– Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
“Gun violence has touched far too many families, including my own, and it is time that Congress take substantive action to reduce gun deaths in our country. While no one piece of legislation is the panacea, we must continue to work together to pass reasonable measures like those included in this bipartisan package.” – Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
“The proposed measures that are being put forward by the Problem Solver’s Caucus today, I believe are a good starting point in this national conversation, and will ensure that our schools, teachers and our law enforcement partners have the necessary tools to begin addressing some of the systematic problems that currently exist.” – Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06)
“Finding a way to keep our children and communities safe is unquestionably a top priority for Americans across our country. To do so, we must stop fighting over our differences and, instead, work together on policy proposals that will improve school safety and on which we can find agreement. This is how I continue to work towards solutions in the San Joaquin Valley, and this is what we are doing in the Problem Solvers Caucus.” – Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16)
“While there is no single or easy solution to end gun violence, it is long past time for Congress to take the first steps. It’s what our families deserve and demand,” said Crist. “These common-sense reforms have the support of a majority of Americans — Republicans and Democrats alike. Saving lives and keeping children safe isn’t a partisan issue, it’s about doing what’s right for the people.” – Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13)
“For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats. This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights. I’m grateful for the Problem Solvers Caucus’ support and hope that paired with the activism of Americans across the nation we can build enough momentum to stir even more of my colleagues to join us in supporting policies that could mitigate and prevent similar gun violence tragedies in the future.” – Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
“As we pray as a nation for all the victims and families devastated by the Parkland school shooting, we must not allow yet another tragedy to go unanswered. It is incumbent upon all of us to identify the root causes of this senseless violence and move to address it immediately. All options must be on the table, including comprehensive background checks, a bump stock ban, prohibiting the sale of military assault weapons and full funding for gun violence research in a comprehensive manner that could have prevented tragedies like this. This Congress can, and must, take meaningful action to put aside partisanship and work toward solutions.” – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
“Today, the Problem Solvers Caucus is taking an important step in endorsing multiple bills addressing gun violence. I’m proud of the Caucus’ role in building bipartisan support for solutions to the tough issues of the day, because bipartisan ideas have the best chance to make it into law and endure over time.” – Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
“We have to collaborate now – Republicans and Democrats – to finally and effectively address the nationwide public health crisis of gun violence. We can’t wait for the political tides to change because by then we will have lost more lives to senseless acts, and that is why I am proud to have worked with the bipartisan Problem Solver Caucus’s on several gun safety bills.” – Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02)
“Our children deserve to feel safe and secure in the places where they learn. The commonsense legislation endorsed by the Problem Solvers Caucus represents an important first step in our work to improve student safety and reduce gun violence in our communities, and I’ll be working with my colleagues to build on this bipartisan progress in the days ahead through responsible reform of our gun laws. I’m particularly proud that the bipartisan provision I introduced to help schools install panic buttons in the classroom has earned the support of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and was glad to see the measure included in the omnibus passed by the House and Senate this week.” – Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)
The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprising of 48 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).