After some partisan drama on the House floor on July 9, some members of Congress spent the evening learning about how to get along from their predecessors, while simultaneously snacking on some finger foods.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., hosted an event at her Capitol Hill digs to bring attention to, "The Partisan Divide," a book written by two former congressional adversaries: Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va., and Martin Frost, D-Texas, along with journalist Richard E. Cohen. “Martin Frost and Tom Davis are very good friends," Maloney told HOH. "And they were both giants in their party. The fact that they came together to write this book on how we can work better, how we can get things done, reasons for the partisan divide. I think it’s very meaningful."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., were on hand at the party, which took place at Maloney's home just a few blocks from the Capitol.
"They may have been on other teams, but after the game was over, they came together and acted and worked in [the] best interest of our country,” Hoyer told the politicians gathered in Maloney's living room. Later, as Davis was describing the book and explaining one of their recommendations, to bring back earmarks, Hoyer chimed in, “Did I tell you what a great guy Tom Davis is?"
The earmarks recommendation drew applause from the crowd of mainly Democrats, with Pelosi clarifying they are "congressionally designated priorities."
At least one Republican lawmaker was at the party. House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., caught up with Davis as he balanced a plate of appetizers on his copy of "The Partisan Divide."
The books were laid out on a table toward the front of the living room, and Davis and Frost obliged a few partygoers by signing copies. For Maloney, the event was a way to help her friends get some publicity for their work.
"And having written a book myself, I know it’s hard to get an audience," Maloney said.
Maloney also noted Congress would be wise to heed their advice, given gridlock and low approval ratings. Davis and Frost looked at some of the causes of the paralyzing partisanship, such as gerrymandering, a polarizing media, money in politics and the role of interest groups.
And it's actually their partisanship that brought Davis and Frost together. As former chairmen of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee respectively, the two were often tapped to face off on talk shows. Though they opposed each other on the air, they learned they had similar ideas about the causes of polarization.
"Well, we were thrown at each other. We started comparing notes and said, 'Let’s write a book,'" Davis told HOH. "If Martin wrote it, nobody’d read it. If I wrote it, nobody’d read it. But if you get an NRCC and a DCCC chairman writing, it’s kind of a down-the-middle book. But we don’t agree on everything.”
Davis said it was great to see members he served with in Congress, as well as new ones. One of the freshmen he spoke with at the party was Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., who lives in the house with Maloney and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
"[Maloney] is constantly having events. She opens up her home for other people to use this fabulous place, to do events that make a difference," Rice said. "She’s an amazing workhorse and I’m lucky to live here, to have access to her advice and counsel and to take part in events like this.”
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.