Politics & Government

Senate GOP, Dems to leadership: Let’s do lunch

A group of Republican and Democratic senators are urging the chamber’s leadership to hold monthly bipartisan lunches in an effort to improve relations among lawmakers.

Thirty senators signed and sent letters Friday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., imploring them to hold bipartisan meetings like the one they held in the Old Senate Chamber in July 2013 on a regular basis. Reid and McConnel will reverse roles when a Republican-controlled Senate is sworn-in in January.

‘As you know, nearly half of the members of the Senate are currently serving their first term, a level not seen in 30 years,’ the letter, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., stated. ‘Soon more new members will join our ranks. We believe that regular bipartisan meetings like the one in July 2013 can help foster the kind of productive relationships that will be critical for the Senate to live up to its reputation as the world’s most deliberative body.’

The senators added that ‘we believe that monthly bipartisan lunches would serve this goal. Given that our caucuses already meet separately at least twice weekly, surely scheduling a bipartisan lunch just once a month would make for a workable option.’

Other senators who signed the letter included: Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).