Meet the Members of the “Mod Squad”
Nine Democratic members of the House are still shocking the Washington establishment with their announcement that they will not support movement on a $3.5 trillion social spending and climate package unless Speaker Pelosi calls a clean vote on the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill as soon as possible -- which they reiterated Sunday night.
Their bold defiance of their party’s congressional leadership has thrown Speaker Pelosi’s calculations into disarray -- and has won them both praise and scorn. But just who are these nine brave legislators?
· Problem Solver Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA) is a former college professor who founded the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University. She was elected to her seat in a traditionally Republican district on her second try in 2020, having lost her first-ever run for office in 2018 by fewer than 500 votes.
· After a long career in state and federal politics, Problem Solver Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) retired from Congress in 2007 but returned in 2018 after a decade in the private sector. Before coming to Washington, he briefly spent time working on a sheep station in Australia.
· Problem Solver Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) was the youngest member of the California legislature when elected in 1978, and has been in Congress since 2005. He is a third-generation family farmer.
· Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) is the son of migrant laborers. He worked his way through school washing dishes, opened his own law firm, and served in the Texas legislature before becoming the most recent Democrat to serve as Texas secretary of state -- appointed by a Republican governor. Two schools in Laredo are named after him.
· Problem Solver Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) left college after 9/11 to join the Marines and serve combat tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After returning home, he finished college, served in the state legislature, and was elected to Congress in 2018.
· Problem Solver Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) went from being a high school dropout to a holder of a Juris Doctorate degree and a member of the House. As an attorney, he won praise for recovering tens of millions of dollars for plaintiffs nationwide through the firm he founded.
· Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) became co-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus in his first days in the House. He became a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton at age 23, before going on to serve stints with Ford and Microsoft and as an adviser on several presidential campaigns.
· Problem Solver Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) began his career as a veterinarian and organic farmer in Oregon. He spent more than a decade in the state legislature before being elected to the House in 2008.
· Rep. Filemón Vela (D-TX) is the first and only person to represent Texas’ 34th District, which was created after the 2010 census. His ancestors established the first citrus orchard in Hidalgo County, Texas, and his mother served as the first female mayor of Brownsville. His wife is a former Republican state judge.
This is a group of committed pragmatists who come from all parts of the nation, from all walks of life. They show just how broad the support is for two-party solutions, and for immediate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.