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.”
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.