When President Obama comes to Capitol Hill in two weeks to deliver the State of the Union address, what are the chances that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will heed the call of Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO, to sit together, rather than divided by party?
Simply put: unlikely.
Udall is asking other members of Congress to join him in signing a letter to House and Senate leadership proposing that both parties should scrap the tradition of sitting on separate sides of the House chamber during the Joint Session of Congress Jan. 25.
“I know that more unites us than divides us, and now – more than ever – we need to find ways to dial down the political rhetoric and set a positive example for all Americans,” Udall said in a statement Wednesday. “Our country has been talking about changing the way Washington works, and now it’s time to take action by crossing the aisle and sitting together.”
“It’s a simple step, but an important one that will go a long way in bridging our political divide,” Udall added.
But asked if House Republican leadership was giving any serious consideration to the idea, an aide replied bluntly, “Nope.”
Members of Congress, however, can sit wherever they want, on a first-come, first-serve basis, so this is not a situation where members have to agree en masse to Udall’s idea. If certain members choose to cross the aisle and sit with the other party, then that is a personal decision that they are free to make, according to a Senate aide.
Will any lawmakers elect to share a bipartisan moment come Jan. 25? Time will tell.