WASHINGTON – A diverse group of 15 Senate Democrats today announced the formation of a new moderate coalition that will meet regularly to shape public policy. The group’s goal is to work with the Senate leadership and the new administration to craft common-sense solutions to urgent national problems.
The Moderate Dems Working Group will meet every other Tuesday before the Democratic Caucus lunch to discuss legislative strategies and ideas. The Moderate Dems held their second meeting Tuesday to focus on the upcoming budget negotiations and the importance of passing a fiscally responsible spending plan in the Senate.
Leading the new group are Democratic Senators Evan Bayh of Indiana, Tom Carper of Delaware and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Both Senators Bayh and Carper were successful governors before coming to the Senate. Senators Lincoln and Carper bring bicameral experience to the group as former members of the House of Representatives. All three leaders are honorary co-chairs of Third Way, a progressive Democratic policy group, and Senators Bayh and Carper have led the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.
At the working group meeting, Senator Bayh acknowledged that such a large group was unlikely to agree on all major issues before the Senate. Yet the Moderate Dems are joined by a shared commitment to pursue pragmatic, fiscally sustainable policies across a range of issues, such as deficit containment, health care reform, the housing crisis, educational reform, energy policy and climate change.
In addition to Senators Bayh, Carper and Lincoln, others joining the group are Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Warner of Virginia.
“We have a wonderful opportunity to break gridlock in Washington and accomplish big things for the American people,” Senator Bayh said. “But with that opportunity, comes the responsibility to embrace sensible solutions that will work. We seek to work collaboratively with the Obama administration and Senate leadership tomake sure legislation is crafted in a practical way that will actually solve people’s problems. It’s going to take all of us working together in the Senate to get the 60 votes necessary to deliver the change the American people deserve.”
“The number of moderate Democrats has grown substantially in the past two Congresses – and in America. We can play a constructive role in helping our leadership and the Obama administration get things done in this new Congress,” Senator Carper said. “Now, more than ever, the Senate needs to put ideology aside, to find common ground on legislation, and to deliver results for the American people.”
“Arkansans are pragmatic and expect results from their leaders in Congress,” Senator Lincoln said. “I’m proud to play a constructive role as we work with the administration and Senate leadership to help reach consensus on important issues and serve as a voice for fiscal responsibility.”