A group of 15 Senate Democratic centrists formally announced the formation of a new coalition intended to increase their power in major policy debates.
Modeled after the House Democrats fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and dubbed the Moderate Dems Working Group, The groups goal is to work with the Senate leadership and the new administration to craft common-sense solutions to urgent national problems, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), a co-founder, said in a press release from the group.
The coalition plans to meet every other Tuesday prior to the regular weekly Democratic Conference policy luncheon. The group has met twice so far, and this weeks meeting was used to discuss the budget and the importance of passing a fiscally responsible spending plan in the Senate, the Bayh release said.
Along with Bayh, the group also is headed by Sens. Tom Carper (Del.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.).
The number of moderate Democrats has grown substantially in the past two Congresses and in America. We can play a constructive role in helping our leadership and the Obama administration get things done in this new Congress, Carper said in the statement. Now, more than ever, the Senate needs to put ideology aside, to find common ground on legislation, and to deliver results for the American people.
Other members of the group are Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) , Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Mark Warner (Va.).
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.