As the government shutdown dragged on, U.S. Rep. Max Rose and a bipartisan group of House members went to the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Donald Trump to try and reach a compromise to reopen federal agencies.
The meeting did not produce an agreement between the lawmakers and the Republican president to end the shutdown, but Rose said he’s glad the group took the chance to reach across the divide and sit down with Trump.
“I was elected to solve problems. You have to make the effort. I want to end this shutdown as quickly as possible,” Rose told this newspaper in a phone interview a short time after returning to Capitol Hill from the White House meeting.
Rose, a Democrat representing southwest Brooklyn and Staten Island, is a member of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 48 moderate Democrats and Republicans who have now joined forces to seek an end to the impasse between Trump and Democratic lawmakers. The caucus originally formed in 2017 to work together to try and reach consensus on key issues facing the country.
“I’m tremendously honored to be part of that group,” Rose told this newspaper.
The White House visit took place during a busy week for Rose, who appears to be comfortably settling into his new role as a lawmaker. He defeated Republican Dan Donovan in November. It was Rose’s first time running for public office.
On Thursday, it was announced that Rose, an Afghanistan combat veteran who earned a Purple Heart in 2013, had been named a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
“I’m honored by the opportunity to serve on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where I’ll fight to make sure our veterans get the care and benefits they deserve, including standing firm against any efforts to privatize or eliminate the services veterans depend on,” Rose said in a statement. “When it comes to the VA and our broader healthcare system, I’ve experienced firsthand what we do well and what we need to do better, and I look forward to working with the VA nationally and in New York, to continue investing and innovating.”
Rose, who served as an infantry captain in the U.S. Army, continues to serve in the Army National Guard.
The Brooklyn Veterans Hospital, part of the Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Health Care System, is located at 800 Poly Place in the Bay Ridge part of Rose’s district.
The U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton is also within Rose’s district.
Rose pledged to protect Fort Hamilton should the historic military base ever wind up on a federal base closure list. “That would happen over my dead body. That base is an insurance policy for New York City, not just in the event of a terrorist attack but in case of natural disasters,” he said.
The fort, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101st Street, is part of Rose’s personal history.
“That’s where I signed up for the military. It’s where I had my physical and where I said goodbye to my family,” he recalled.
Rose was asked about a recent New York Times report about the Veterans Administration planning to transfer billions of dollars from veterans’ hospitals to private health care providers. The new system would make it easier for veterans to seek health care at private facilities rather than endure long waits for care at veterans hospitals, the Times reported.
Rose said he would be in favor of a plan that would give veterans quicker access to care but expressed concern over the possible ramifications of shifting large amount of funding away from veterans hospitals.
“With the VA, you have to walk a fine line. We cannot starve our current system of funds. When I talk to my fellow veterans, they always tell me they want the VA health system to run better but that they also want to the VA hospital to stay open,” Rose said.