Leonard Lance likes to tout his membership in the Congressional “Problem Solvers Caucus,” a bipartisan group he claims will have more influence in the next Congress. He talks about the Problem Solvers Caucus…a lot.
But as Tom Malinowski pointed out in a recent NJTV Debate, the “problems solvers” already have enough Republican members to overrule the House leadership and bring bipartisan legislation forward in the House. If they were willing to fight for the bipartisan policies and rules they claim to support, they could come together with Democrats, use the discharge petition, and pass a bill. Now. We would suggest restoring the SALT deduction. Or universal background checks for gun purchases. Or ending the separation of children from parents seeking asylum.
But they won’t, because Lance’s Problem Solvers argument is a headfake. Under its current leadership, this Congress is about winning at all costs, no matter the collateral damage, and when his party’s leaders call, Lance does everything he can to set them up for a win: partisan when they need him, and independent when they don’t.
If Lance truly believed we needed to save the Affordable Care Act, he would have fought its repeal in committee where his ‘No’ vote mattered. Instead he sent it to the floor where he knew it would pass with or without him. If he truly wanted to restore the SALT deduction, he would not have voted to block amendments to the bill making its elimination permanent.
Even after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, he proudly ran for reelection on his 100% rating from the NRA, and voted to make it easier for the mentally ill to buy a weapon. To this day he has not signed onto the federal assault weapons ban. He even tried to repeal the New Jersey Assault Weapons Ban while in the legislature.
Leonard Lance may like to talk about the Problem Solvers Caucus a lot, but he is no problem solver. He is culpable, complicit, and every bit the partisan he derides.