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Reed to sit with New Hampshire Republican at State of the Union address

January 18, 2012

As part of an effort to move past hyper-partisanship in Washington, Senator Jack Reed plans to sit with Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, during President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address.

Here’s a related release from No Labels, a group promoting the effort to thaw partisan relations:

As of noon on Wednesday, Jan. 18, over 120 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have agreed to sit in a bipartisan fashion at President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 24. The call for bipartisan seating was initially conceived last year by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in conjunction with the think tank Third Way. No Labels has made bipartisan seating at the State of the Union, and all joint meetings of Congress one of the 12 proposals in its Make Congress Work! action plan.

No Labels has an updated tracker of members who have agreed to sit together at the State of the Union on its website and took out a full-page ad in The New York Times last Friday calling for bipartisan seating.

“Last year, when Senator Murkowski and I called on our colleagues to put aside partisanship and sit together during the State of the Union address, the idea resonated with people across the country because Americans are tired of the division in Washington,” Udall said. “The overwhelming support for this idea proves that it’s time to make bipartisan seating a permanent tradition. Let’s show the American people that we all play for the red, white and blue team – not just the red and blue teams.”

“By no stretch do Senator Udall and I believe this gesture will put an immediate halt to the argument culture rampant on Capitol Hill, but it is a step in the right direction when it comes to opening up the lines of communications,” Murkowski said. “Republicans and Democrats have legitimate core differences of opinion on many issues, but party lines are not brick walls – there are areas of agreement and possible collaboration between the parties.  Opportunities like sitting together at the State of the Union can do nothing but help identify common ground.”

“The first step is sitting together, the next is speaking together, and the third is working together. It’s a long road back to genuine civility and effectiveness for this Congress, but every journey begins with a single step.” said Third Way President Jon Cowan.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 19, 2012 1:25 am

    So, there is to be a reprieve – even if only for a few hours. Thanks for passing this along, Ian. I look forward to your posts.

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