No Labels Helps Convince 182 Members of Congress to Participate in Bipartisan Seating at SOTU
No Labels Members Compelled Their Representatives to Cross the Aisle
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As of 11:00 a.m. ET today, 182 members of Congress have agreed to sit with a member from another party at President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, thanks in large part to an intensive e-mail and phone call campaign from No Labels members.
Building on the momentum of its bipartisan seating effort, No Labels will host a town hall teleconference tonight from 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET with current members of Congress and tens of thousands of supporters to discuss the proposals of its Make Congress Work! action plan (please email email@example.com for call-in details).
No Labels has made bipartisan seating at the State of the Union, and all joint meetings of Congress (including all Committees and Subcommittees), one of the 12 proposals in its Make Congress Work! action plan. No Labels has an updated tracker of members who have agreed to sit together at the State of the Union on its website and took out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Jan. 13 calling for bipartisan seating.
"Last year, when Senator Murkowski and I called on our colleagues to put aside partisanship and sit together during the State of the Union address, the idea resonated with people across the country because Americans are tired of the division in Washington," Udall said. "The overwhelming support for this idea proves that it's time to make bipartisan seating a permanent tradition. Let's show the American people that we all play for the red, white and blue team – not just the red and blue teams."
"By no stretch do Senator Udall and I believe this gesture will put an immediate halt to the argument culture rampant on Capitol Hill, but it is a step in the right direction when it comes to opening up the lines of communications," Murkowski said. "Republicans and Democrats have legitimate core differences of opinion on many issues, but party lines are not brick walls – there are areas of agreement and possible collaboration between the parties. Opportunities like sitting together at the State of the Union can do nothing but help identify common ground."
Last year's call for bipartisan seating was conceived by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in conjunction with the think tank Third Way. Last year No Labels also organized bipartisan SOTU parties across the country in support of bipartisan seating at the event; there were over 500 parties last year. This year the Ripon Society is also joining the SOTU effort and No Labels is encouraging all groups to support bipartisan seating at the SOTU and all joint sessions of Congress, in addition to on Senate and House Committees and Subcommittees.
For a full list of members who plan to sit with members of the opposite party, please visit: http://www.nolabels.org/blog/sotu-whos-who
No Labels is a group of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who want our government to work again. Our dozen proposals to make Congress work mostly don't require new laws or new spending, and don't favor any party or particular cause. These are simple, straightforward proposals to break gridlock, promote constructive discussion and reduce polarization in Congress. They can mostly be adopted all at once when the next Congress convenes in January 2013.
For more information on the Make Congress Work! action plan or to arrange an interview with a No Labels co-founder, please contact Sarah Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 588-1990. To learn more about No Labels, please visit www.NoLabels.org.
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