SOTU: Who's With Who?
Point No. 10 of No Labels' Make Congress Work! action plan is bipartisan seating. It happened last year, when elected officials crossed the aisle to demonstrate support for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) who had been tragically shot just a few days previously. It was a wonderful gesture. But the next day things went back to hyper-partisan business as usual.
It shouldn't take a tragedy for Congress to sit together — so this year No Labels is joining Third Way's call for every member of Congress to sit with a colleague from the other party. Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sparked the call to action within the Congress — and a number of members have already joined them. Read on to find out who will be sitting with who at this year's State of the Union. And click here to tell your senators and representatives to sit next to someone from the other party on Jan. 24.
Find out which members of Congress support bipartisan seating on the following lists:
And check out which members have already decided who they will sit with below:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
This isn't the first time Sens. Udall and Murkowski have sat together at a speech. In September they sat together at Obama's jobs speech. Udall and Murkowski spearheaded the call for bipartisan seating for last year's State of the Union.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sens. Landrieu and Shelby worked together on a bipartisan bill called the RESTORE Act over the summer to restore the Gulf Coast in the wake of the BP oil spill. Now, they'll find themselves sitting next to one another at the State of the Union.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Sens. Kirk and Manchin are no strangers to one another — they have lunch together every Thursday, a rare instance of bipartisanship on the Washington social scene.
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
As congressmen from the Rust Belt, Reps. Donnelly and Latta serve together on the Congressional Steel Caucus.
Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) and Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
Reps. Johnson and Carnahan serve together on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The duo co-chairs the Congressional Center Aisle Caucus.
The Colorado congressional delegation chose to sit together at last year's State of the Union and will follow suit this year. The four Democrats (Reps. Diana Degette, Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet), and three of the four Republicans (Reps. Scott Tipton, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman) also have a monthly bipartisan breakfast.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sens. Lieberman and Collins worked together last year to bring an end to the Army’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy. They have also worked together on multiple pieces of national security legislation in the past as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) disagree with each other on many policy issues, but that isn't going to stop Pennsylvania's two senators from sitting together. Nor did it stop them last year from working together to fill judicial appointments.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Sen. Mikulski is the longest-serving female senator in the Democratic party. Sen. Hutchison is the longest-serving female senator from the Republican party. At this year's State of the Union, these senior senators — and members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations — will put party labels aside and sit together.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)
Having just gotten back from a learning tour in Liberia and Ghana where they were able to see the current humanitarian situation in western Africa firsthand, Reps. Tom Marino and Hank Johnson have decided to extend their time learning with and from each other by sitting together at the State of the Union
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sens. Begich and Snowe are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. They are also honorary co-chairs of the Congressional Oceans Caucus.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Reps. Sanchez and Grimm serve as two of the four co-chairs of the Congressional Morocco Caucus.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Tom Bishop (D-NY)
Reps. Bishop and Shimkus are members of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinsons Disease. The congressmen also oppose each other on different baseball teams. They'll put this rivalry aside when they sit down at the State of the Union.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Sens. Reed and Ayotte hail from New England and serve together on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Sens. McCaskill and Roberts are from neighboring states in the Midwest and serve together on the Senate Aerospace Caucus.
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN)
Reps. Guthrie, Yarmuth and Young all come from the Louisville metropolitan area. They may disagree on many issues, but they will come together at the State of the Union and put those differences aside in favor of local solidarity.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)
Reps. Ross and Womack are Arkansas representatives who have served on the International Conservation Caucus. They will be sitting together during the State of the Union this year, as they did last year.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Wilson are two Miami-Dade representatives who work in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Both recently worked together with other Florida representatives from both parties to try to increase the number of visas available for Haitian immigrants.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Rep. John Barrow (D-GA)
Reps. Barrow and Kingston are two Savannah congressmen who worked together recently to deepen the Savannah Harbor.
Upstate New York Delegation
Last year, a bipartisan group of upstate New York representatives gathered to sit together at the State of the Union address.This year, Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Bill Owens (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Kathy Hochul (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) are reassembling to do it again. Many of these representatives worked together last year to increase home-heating assistance to poor families.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Reps. Gohmert and Maloney are members of the International Conservation Caucus and on the congressional board of the Armed Forces Foundation.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Reps. McCaul and Matsui co-chair the Congressional High-Tech Caucus, which focuses on creating a bipartisan forum where legislators can discuss how policy can affect the innovation sector of the U.S. economy.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
Reps. Cooper and Fincher are from neighboring districts in Tennessee. After this year's redistricting, Cooper’s district will absorb Dickson County from Fincher’s district. The two of them will come together during the State of the Union in a show of unity.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
Reps. Reichert and Kind both serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means. Last year, they collaborated on the SAVE Act, a bill to help small business employees prepare for retirement.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Reps. Meehan and Speier serve together on the House Committee on Homeland Security. Meehan is also the chairman on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, where Speier serves as the ranking member.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sens. Nelson and Rubio aren't just from separate parties; they're from separate generations. Nelson is an old political hand who began serving in the Florida legislature back in 1972. Rubio is a relative newcomer who was elected to Congress in 2010 and was first elected to the Florida legislature in 2000.
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Reps. Schrader and Ribble serve together on the House Committee on Agriculture and two of its subcommittees. They have found common cause in the past around reducing the federal budget deficit in a responsible fashion, and even hosted a joint colloquy on the subject last year.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Sens. Shaheen and Portman serve together on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Last year, they began working together on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, a bill that encourages the use of energy-efficient technology through economic incentives.
Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Reps. Bass and Matheson serve together on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as its Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. They are currently working on companion legislation to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act that Sens. Shaheen and Portman have been pushing through the Senate.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
Reps. Hayworth and Cicilline founded the Congressional Common Ground Caucus, dedicated to building relationships between representatives from different sides of the aisle.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Reps. Bono Mack, a Republican Main Street Partnership member, and Cuellar, a Blue Dog Democrat, will sit together at the State of the Union.
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Reps. Biggert and Gutierrez serve on the House Financial Services Committee. They are part of the Subcommittee on Housing, Insurance, and Community Opportunity, where Biggert is the Chair, and Gutierrez is the ranking member.
Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)
Reps. Kissell and Coble are two North Carolina congressmen who represent neighboring districts. Come the State of the Union, they plan to represent their home state in a unified manner.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. Randy Hulgren (R-IL)
Reps. Hultgren and Lipinski are two Illinois representatives who serve on the House Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as its subcommittees on Aviation and Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-WY) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sens. Merkley and Lee entered the Senate relatively recently (Merkley in 2008 and Lee in 2010). They both came together last year to hasten the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Bipartisan Working Group
The Bipartisan Working Group is a group of Democrats and Republicans who have come together to forge legislation across the aisle. Their members, including the founders, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and John Carney (D-DE) (pictured above), as well as Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Pat Meehan (R-PA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Jim Himes (D-CT), and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)
Sens. Carper and Brown serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, as well as on the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security, where Carper is the chairman, and Brown is the ranking member.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Sens. McCain and Hagan serve together on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, where McCain is the ranking member, as well as the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Last year, the two collaborated on the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act, a measure to help corporations to repatriate profits gained abroad back into the U.S. economy.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Before moving to California, Rep. Nancy Pelosi hailed from Maryland, and she maintains contacts within the Maryland delegation, including Rep. Bartlett. Reps. Bartlett and Chu serve together on the House Committee on Small Business, as well as its Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade. This year, like last year, they will sit together at the State of the Union.
Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI)
Reps. Costello and Petri serve in the House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure in which Petri serves as the chair of the Subcommitee on Aviation while Costello is the ranking member. Both cooperated to craft a bill opposing the European Union's emission tax on U.S. airlines and carriers.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Roger WIcker (R-MS)
Sens. Cardin and Wicker sponsored legislation in 2011 called "Hotels for Heroes." The program would allow Americans to donate hotel reward points to members of the Armed Forces who are traveling to receive care through the military health system and their families.
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Reps. Hirono and Young are representatives from states that contrast politically and geographically. However, perhaps due to their states' shared distance from the mainland, they have come together in the past to sponsor multiple pieces of legislation, including the Federal Native Hawaiian Home Ownership Bill (a bill to continue providing support for low income Hawaiian homeownership) and the Continuum of Learning Act (an act to integrate lessons from research on early childhood education into the public school system).
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
After the Tucson shooting, Rep. Giffords' seat was left vacant last year between Reps. Flake and Grijalva while she recovered. This year, she will take her place at the State of the Union in a bipartisan fashion.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sens. Boxer and Inhofe are the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Sens. Akaka and Inhofe serve together on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, as well as its subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
Sens. Coons and Isakson serve on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as well as its Subcommittee on African Affairs, where Coons is the chair, and Isakson is the ranking member.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY)
Reps. Courtney and Turner took a trip to Afghanistan last year to find out how the troops were doing. Each one is in a committee to which the Afghanistan situation is relevant – for Courtney, the Armed Services Committee, and for Turner, the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Veterans Committees.
Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Reps. Wasserman Schultz and Webster have agreed to put partisan labels aside for an evening and sit together to jointly represent their home state of Florida at the State of the Union.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sens. Klobuchar and Sessions serve on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, as well as its Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, where Klobuchar is the chair, and Sessions is the ranking member. Klobuchar and Sen. Hoeven serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, as well as its Subcommittees on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation and on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Reps. Manzullo and Capps serve in the International Conservation Caucus, the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, and the Congressional Wine Caucus.
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Reps. Braley and Dent are both members of the Childhood Cancer Caucus.