Updated 12:23 p.m. | On Wednesday, senators will gather for a most unusual bipartisan Senate lunch.
Senators will gather in the Russell Office Building's Kennedy Caucus Room for a feast featuring Maine lobster and Virginia ham, a source familiar with the menu told CQ Roll Call. Not surprisingly, Republican Susan Collins of Maine is behind the lobster salad and Democrat Mark Warner will bring the ham.
Collins, in hosting, will provide Maine-themed offerings including Maine blueberry pie and Gifford's ice cream. There will also be chips sourced from Maine potatoes, according to her office.
The New York Times first reported on the plan for the lunch coming to fruition, saying it was put together by Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 in the Democratic leadership structure. Sources confirmed the lunch plan.
Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., led the call for such bipartisan gatherings shortly after November's elections.
"It is our hope that our respective leadership teams take concrete steps to broaden the relationships and deepen the rapport among members. Specifically, we believe that monthly bipartisan lunches would serve this goal," the group of 30 senators led by Flake and Heinrich wrote in that letter to the Senate's leaders.
Flake and Heinrich have a far closer relationship than most senators from opposite sides of the aisle, having spent part of their last August recess on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific as part of a reality TV special .
"We believe that regular bipartisan gatherings, such as the one scheduled for Wednesday, can help foster the productive relationships necessary for the Senate to be effective again. These gatherings may not be a cure-all, but they're a start," Heinrich and Flake said in a joint statement. "We are grateful to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid for agreeing to place these meetings on the Senate calendar."
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