If it's hump day, budding coalition builder Sen. Joe Manchin III is probably breaking bread with members of his slowly widening circle of fellow comity seekers.
Aides to the West Virginia Democrat confirmed the self-styled troubleshooter has taken to gathering together colleagues for friendly visits, as often as the hectic congressional schedule permits.
“He likes to have bipartisan lunches,” Team Manchin told HOH, stressing that the semi-regular get-togethers — which appear to flow from a fairly fluid guest list — lean more toward informal discussions than issue-specific strategy sessions. According to a tipster, Manchin was able to assemble several like-minded lawmakers Wednesday for just such a huddle. The latest group of would-be problem solvers included Sens. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Angus King, I-Maine.
Per Team Manchin, King and Kirk are regular dining companions. Others cycle in and out according to their availability.
“I don’t think that there’s any set list that he’s working off of,” Team Manchin said of the evolving lunch bunch.
Aides noted, however, that these mealtime meetings are independent of his work as co-chairman of the coordinated No Labels initiative.