To understand the bonds among Texas representatives, you have to understand Texas. But you also have to understand another thing: lunch.
Every week, Texas House members gather with their colleagues to share a meal and discuss their issues. The Democrats meet on Wednesdays — a tradition that apparently dates back to former Speaker Sam Rayburn, D-Texas. But while Democrats supply their own lunch for their meeting, the real fun — the real bonding — it seems, happens on Thursdays with the Republicans.
Ever since 1985, when the so-called Texas six-pack came to Congress, Texas Republicans have met on Thursday afternoons for a meal that the dean of the delegation, Joe L. Barton, described as “one of the highlights of the week.”
Barton unofficially leads the Republican lunch, or “kinda kicks things off,” as Rep. Randy Weber put it. (“We pretty much have a roundtable discussion,” Weber said.)
Texas is not the only delegation to meet every week. Many do. The entire Nebraska delegation, for instance, meets every Wednesday morning. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., told CQ Roll Call the Cornhuskers thought it was necessary because they’re a small delegation. “And so a large delegation like Texas, if they do it, that’s a pretty big deal,” Terry said. “For us to do it, that’s just survival.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.