In light of calls for more civility in American political discourse, leaders in the House and Senate are embracing the idea of lawmakers sitting together without regard to party when they meet on January 25 for the State of the Union address.
Proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, the new seating arrangement would end more than 200 years of tradition in which lawmakers are almost exclusively seated with members of their own party.
The idea originated from a moderate Democratic policy group, the Third Way, in an open letter last week to members of Congress. The group proposed mixed bipartisan seating in order to avoid the unattractive spectacle of “one side jumping up to applaud and the other sitting glumly.”
The latest pols to sign on the plan are John McCain and Joe Lieberman.
(READ more in the NY Times)