WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Tom Carper today encouraged Senator Jim Jeffords to leave the Republican Party and join a "new, Democratic majority." "I have enjoyed working across the aisle with Senator Jeffords on issues like improving education and expanding health care coverage. But I will enjoy working with him even more as a Democrat or Independent," Carper said. "I welcomed Senator Jeffords yesterday when he left his party to vote for my bill on expanding investments in education. It must have been some welcome, because he may have decided to stay." If today's news reports are correct, Senator Jeffords would, upon leaving the Republican party, become the new Chairman of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Carper is a member of that committee and looks forward to working with his new Chair. Carper and Jeffords are prime co-sponsors of a bill that reduces by millions the number of Americans without health insurance by providing tax credits towards the purchase of coverage.