Freshman Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) can’t stand the vitriol that’s become the common parlance of Congress. So they’re hoping to kill like-minded Members with kindness.
The idealistic duo is launching the Common Ground Caucus at 7 p.m. today at Top of the Hill, an informal gathering designed to bring together politicians who genuinely want to get to know colleagues from across the aisle.
“In the Common Ground Caucus, members will not necessarily agree on the issues, but we will join together to cultivate relationships off the floor and out of the committee room that will help us work together and work towards a more bipartisan institution, built upon mutual respect,” the pair proposes in their exploratory “Dear Colleague” letter.
The only prerequisite: You gotta bring along a Member from the opposing side to join.
Because they’re the proverbial new kids on the block and theoretically lack the psychological baggage of rancorous legislative standoffs, Cicilline feels that he and Hayworth have got the right stuff to lead this charge.
“As freshmen, we come to this work without a lot of [scar] tissue ... so maybe we are [in] a better position to lead this effort,” he says.
At press time, a Hayworth aide projected that around a half-dozen Congressional pairs had RSVP’ed to attend the inaugural get-together. Those who don’t will miss out on all kinds of fraternizing fun, including potential plans to “go to dinner, go to a Nationals game, go bowling. Whatever,” Cicilline says.
Here’s to plus-oneing our way to a more amicable end of session.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.