WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King joined a bipartisan group of their colleagues, including Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), in calling on Senate leadership to schedule monthly lunches between their caucuses in the next Congressional session in the hope of building better and more productive relationships among all members of the Senate.
“We believe that regular bipartisan meetings like the one in July 2013 can help foster the kind of productive relationships that will be critical for the Senate to live up to its reputation as the world’s most deliberative body,” the senators wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “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 letter was led by Senators Flake and Heinrich, and was also signed by: Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader Republican Leader
United States Senate United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Leader Reid and Leader McConnell:
As both the Senate and the nation look toward the 114th Congress and beyond, we believe that better functioning relationships in this body will be a necessary prerequisite in order to meet our common challenges.
Last year, under your leadership, members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together and have a frank, open and fruitful discussion during the Joint Caucus meeting in the Old Senate Chamber. As you know, nearly half of the members of the Senate are currently serving their first term, a level not seen in 30 years. Soon more new members will join our ranks. We believe that regular bipartisan meetings like the one in July 2013 can help foster the kind of productive relationships that will be critical for the Senate to live up to its reputation as the world's most deliberative body.
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. Given that our caucuses already meet separately at least twice weekly, surely scheduling a bipartisan lunch just once a month would make for a workable option.
We appreciate your time and consideration.