At a time when Congress couldn’t appear more divided, it seems two freshman Congressmen may be on to something. And one of them is Delaware’s lone Representative, John Carney (D-DE).
Together with Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), the two freshmen are showing America that Democrats and Republicans can work together. This past spring, the two created what’s now referred to as a “Bipartisan Breakfast Club.”
“It’s the only way that I’ve been used to doing business,” said Congressman Carney, drawing from his many years in state government. “When I campaigned here in Delaware, during the 2010 election, I told people that I would bring the “Delaware way” to Congress, and that is a tradition of Democrats and Republicans working together.”
Members of the “Bipartisan Breakfast Club” include Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Larry Buchson (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), among others. In all, the 14-member group meets every week or so over bagels and coffee to get things done without all of the bickering.
“There are big differences among the members, philosophically, of the group, but we focus on trying to find out where our similarities are and where we can find common ground,” said Carney.
There are some ground rules. When the club meets, Carney says no idea is a bad idea and partisanship is checked at the door.
“We don’t come to the table as Republicans or Democrats. We come as Americans and that’s really been our focus,” Carney said.
And it seems to be working. The group has churned out three bills — one that gives tax breaks to first-time homebuyers, the second aims to get people back to work and finally a bill to encourage companies to reinvest domestically.