New Jersey congressmen say working across the aisle what’s best for country
Two New Jersey congressmen from opposite parties say that a historic division on Capitol Hill is hurting the country, and they say they are trying to fight it by working together.
Freshman Democrat New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer unseated a long-term New Jersey Republican in the recent election.
"Sometimes I know people in my own party don't like that I'm sitting and talking to Republicans," he says. "But we're not going to get anything done unless you sit at the table. You can't do it by yourself."
Gottheimer is chairing the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group dedicated to finding compromise in Congress. He says he hears concerns from constituents every day, and when he's home in New Jersey, he meets them in diners face to face.
"I think people are clearly frustrated. They have a lot on their minds. They're frustrated about a lot of things coming out of this administration and I understand. There's a bunch of things that I'm really frustrated about," the congressman says.
Some of those frustrations have caused some Republicans to avoid face-to-face time with their constituents.
Republican New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur says that he has put his town hall meetings back home in Ocean County on hold for the time being.
"What's happening across the country is small groups of very loud agitators, in some cases from even outside the district, are making it difficult to have any kind of civil discourse," MacArthur says.
MacArthur says that he also votes across the aisle at times and also chairs a bipartisan group. He was one of nine Republicans who voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act until the GOP has a replacement plan.
He says he wants to continue holding the town halls as he did last term.
"I like having them with people who disagree with me. I think that makes me a better representative, when I can hear, not just what I think. I know what I think. I want to hear from people who see things differently," says MacArthur.
The two congressmen have plans to meet with one another Friday morning.