Members of Congress Search for Bipartisan SOTU Dates

By John R Parkinson

Jan 25, 2011 1:12pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports: 

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said he’s made a proposal for some of the House leadership to sit together, but would not reveal any of the specifics of his pitch because it has not been accepted by the House GOP leadership yet. 

“The State of the Union is a serious effort, a serious time in American politics in any given year. For the President of the United States, the chief executive elected by the American people to manage their national polity, to tell us where he thinks the nation is and where he thinks he ought to go and how we ought to get there,” Hoyer said. “The American public hopes that we will work together on this issue.” 

Hoyer said it is his expectation that he will likely sit next to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and that if his proposal works out, others in the House Democratic Leadership such as Democratic Assistant Leader James Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson and Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra would sit next to a Republican counterpart in the House GOP leadership. 

“When I talked to Mr. McCarthy about it, he was very positive in terms of what he thought that would do and I think if that happens you will think it was a good way to do it,” Hoyer said. “In a way, that indicates that we want to come together in a symbolic way, which is easy. In a much more difficult way, hopefully we’ll be able to come together in a substantive way to reach compromises on how we get from where we are to where we want to be — and that’s growing jobs and getting our financial house in order.” 

Last night, Larson told ABC News that he planned to sit with House GOP conference chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. Among other members of the House who have announced they’ll sit with colleague from the other party, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, says he’ll sit with Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona. The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, has also announced he will sit with the ranking member of the committee – Rep. Ed Towns, D-New York. Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Peter King, R-New York, and Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, have also agreed to sit together at tonight’s address. 

Pelosi sent out a tweet on Twitter Tuesday afternoon announcing that she is declining Cantor's invitation and will instead sit with Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Maryland.

"I thank @GOPLeader for his #SOTU offer, but I invited my friend Rep. Bartlett from MD yesterday & am pleased he accepted," Pelosi tweeted.

Numerous members of the Senate have also pledged to sit with a colleague from the other party. 

Members of the Arizona delegation will also sit mostly as a group, and will leave an empty seat for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. 

Members of Congress will also wear black and white ribbons – white for peace, black for those who died – the same as what many in Tucson have been wearing, including at President Obama’s speech at the memorial service after the shooting.

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