Heard on the Hill

Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes

Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke completed the trip from Texas

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, walk up the House steps at the Capitol just in time for votes on on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forty minutes before a House vote on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Republican Rep. Will Hurd pulled up to the House steps, making the completion of their bipartisan road trip.

The two Texas congressmen decided to road trip together from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., after the East Coast’s winter storm caused flight cancellations earlier in the week. The more than 24-hour trip, which included several stops and a few hours for sleep, ended with a tight arrival to work.

[Reps. Hurd and O’Rourke Make Bipartisan Buddy Movie]

House votes on Wednesday were scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Hurd and O’Rourke pulled up at 5:50 p.m.

Will and Beto’s Excellent Adventure

Supporters were standing at the Capitol steps to cheer them on, with one group waving a Texas flag. They parked their Chevrolet rental car right at the bottom of the steps, where members aren’t supposed to park, and quickly expressed how cold it was in D.C. (30 degrees, compared to 71 degrees back in San Antonio).

Hurd and O’Rourke livestreamed their road trip on Facebook Live, with only a few short breaks. Viewers could ask real-time questions which gave the trip a virtual town hall component. They traded off driving and took several questions — on everything from policy issues to hamburger toppings — from viewers commenting on the feed.

The two Texans talked briefly to the press before walking up the Capitol steps and into the House. After about a minute — realizing they’d left the rental car lights on — they came back out to move it.

Earlier around noon on Wednesday, the congressmen said they were cutting it close with their arrival time because they were still six and a half hours from Washington and just crossing into Virginia.

They got lunch from a Chick-fil-A drive-thru and otherwise made stops only to use the bathroom.

The two started the second day of the trip heading toward Knoxville after sleeping at a Fairfield Inn in Rep. Steve Cohen’s district in Tennessee, according to Hurd.

On Wednesday, they received calls from Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, and Henry Cuellar of Texas, among others.

“Look forward to seeing you at 6:30 when we get to votes,” Hurd said on a call with Republican Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee.

On Day One, they drove 970 miles in 20 hours before calling it a night.

Throughout the trip, the two suggested that other members take an annual bipartisan road trip.

“Literally, they will be trapped like Will and I have been trapped together,” O’Rourke said.

King said he would like to take a bipartisan road trip with South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham and several viewers suggested Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert take a road trip with different liberal members.

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