Who says Republican and Democratic congressmen can’t get along?
Reps. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, conducted field hearings of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity in Waterloo, Iowa, on Monday and Fort Wayne on Wednesday.
Stutzman, a freshman lawmaker, is chairman of the eight-member subcommittee. Braley, first elected in 2006, is the ranking Democrat on the panel. Their offices are next door in the Longworth House Office Building.
“I’m going to say something shocking: Chairman Stutzman and I are good friends,” Braley said at the close of Wednesday’s hearing at the downtown Allen County Public Library.
“He’s a Republican; I’m a Democrat,” the former trial attorney said. “When I found out I was going to have the honor of working with him on this committee, the first thing I said to him is, ‘What can I do to help you be successful?’ Because when it comes to serving our nation’s veterans, there is nothing that should be more non-partisan than helping our veterans in every way that we can. And that’s why I am so proud to serve with him.
“I like Marlin. I think he likes me,” Braley said, prompting laughter from the audience. “I think you rarely see that on TV these days, and it happens a lot more than you think.
“I think if we did more hearings like this, if we spent more time outside Washington talking to real people whose lives are impacted by the policies we set, we’d all be better off,” he said.
Stutzman responded: “I do like him. He and I both have an understanding that the challenges we face as Americans aren’t Republican problems or Democrat problems – they’re American problems. And we have to address them as Americans.”