WASHINGTON – The 113th Congress won’t meet until 2013,but the 12 new senators are already jockeying for alliances at the Capitol.
“With the election behind us,we’re ready go get started,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,R-Ky.,said in his Capitol office to the three Republican senators-elect.
While the meeting with McConnell was closed to the press,Senator-elect Ted Cruz,R-Texas,said the group discussed how the Republicans plan to work with President Barack Obama on issues,including passing a new budget to avoid the automatic fiscal cliff cuts at the end of 2012.
“We talked about the challenges facing the new Congress. We talked about waiting to see if the president is serious about what he said on the campaign trail,” Cruz said. “The president said that he wanted to bring people together,that he wanted to get serious about solving the deficit and the debt and that he wanted to get people back to work. And if he’s serious with that,then I think and believe that Republicans are ready to work with him,” he said.
The other two new Republican senators-elect are Deb Fisher of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Senator-elect Angus King,I-Maine,who is filling the seat vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe,R,met with Sen. Susan Collins,R-Maine,to exchange gifts and messages of goodwill at Collins’s congressional office.
“People are really tired of the excessive partisanship and gridlock,and I look forward to welcoming Angus into the group of centrist senators who actually try and solve problems,rather than just score political points,” Collins said in her office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
King served as governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003. In the 1994 gubernatorial election,King ran against and defeated Collins.
“I’ve often said he was a very good governor,and I’m sure he’s going to be a very good senator – as long as he does what I tell him to do,” Collins joked.
“I also think that Angus’s theme of working together,reaching across the aisle,trying to actually come up with solutions to the problems facing our country,is one that really resonates not only with the people of Maine but also of this country,” she said.
Though the pair agreed that their political differences are behind them,King is expected to caucus with the Democrats.
King presented Collins with a tea maker,joking that he won’t be around every morning to prepare her morning tea.
“I think it’s important that the junior senator pay proper respect,” King said.
In turn,Collins gave King a pair of Senate cufflinks.
When the conversation turned to office arrangements,King said he’s likely to get an office in the basement of one of the Senate office buildings.
“It gets better,” Collins said. “When I was a freshman senator,you actually had to go through the loading dock to get to my office.”
The 113th Congress will convene Jan. 3.
Reach reporter Jory Heckman at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.