Two dozen House Republicans formed a “mainstream conservative” group Wednesday in hopes of building bridges with conservative Democrats and ending partisan roadblocks in Congress.
“I’ve thought for a long time that we need more reaching out here,” said Rep. Bill Emerson, R-Mo., one of three co-chairmen of the GOP Mainstream Conservative Alliance. “We need more of that - trying to find common ground.”
If they can agree on issues with a Democratic group called The Coalition - also known as Blue Dog Democrats - the two groups would become a solid bloc of about 50 votes that could have major influence in the 435-member House.
“When we can put these two groups together, we can reach critical mass,” said a member of the Democratic group, Rep. Pat Danner of Missouri. “That moderate group in the center is beginning to expand in numbers.”
At a news conference, Emerson and other Republican lawmakers said they are not dissatisfied with the legislative priorities of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other GOP leaders. But they are concerned that partisan politics and ill will are blocking progress toward solving the country’s problems.