A movement for bipartisan seating in the traditionally polarized State of the Union Address is gaining traction among members of Congress. Several key Republicans and Democrats have already signed on to the idea, which would literally intersperse Dems and GOP members for the President’s annual speech. Get the more on this story, with pictures and video, below!
Spearheaded by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.), above, the movement already has the support of two dozen congress members. Murkowski says the new idea should set a positive mood for cooperation in the 112th congress.
She said in a statement:
“Congressional reaction to the president’s State of the Union address has increasingly come to symbolize the sharp partisan divide in Congress. So we think a good first step towards greater civility would be for senators and congressmen, Republicans and Democrats, to sit together in the House chamber on Jan. 25 when President Obama addresses a joint session.”
With the January 25th State of the Union Address rapidly approaching, it’s unclear how the Senators’ bipartisan seating plans will be implemented. Despite the seemingly organized seating in Congress that sits Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left, official policy states that there is no assigned seating in the forum. Therefore it will be left up to individual members to cross the aisle on Jan. 25. Murkowski and Udall wrote in an open letter to their colleagues stressing the importance of making the effort.
“The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room – while the other side sits – is unbecoming of a serious institution,” they wrote. “And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two.”
Udall has taken to twitter to keep his followers up to date on the movement’s growing support, tweeting Friday, “bipartisan seating at the #SOTU is catching on. GOP’s #3 leader, Kevin McCarthy, just said he’s open to it.”
With Americans gearing up for an epic clash of wills in congress over the controversial Health Care Reform and impending vote on the national debt ceiling, seeing even a paltry effort at bipartisanship is encouraging. Still, united seating at the State of the Union Address certainly doesn’t translate into a cooperative and productive 112th Congress. But it is a step in the right direction. What do you think of the proposed SOTU seating? Would mixed seating be an improvement over previous years? Or is it an empty gesture? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section after you check out the pictures and video below!
Photos: www.wenn.com/Carrie Devorah