Bayh announces 'working group' of centrist Senate Dems

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) announced a working group of centrist Democrats Wednesday morning that will continue to act together on fiscal legislation in the Senate.

Bayh said that roughly 15 Democratic senators have begun to preliminarily meet and discuss a number of issues.

"We wanted to start within the Democratic Party because the majority is so large," Bayh said during an appearance on "Morning Joe" Wednesday morning. "We felt it was important to coalesce within our own group, and then reach out to others."

The group would try to avoid having pieces of priority legislation "handed down" to them.

The bloc of centrist senators could prove a stumbling block for the Obama administration and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who enjoy a large Democratic majority in the Senate, but depend on centrist Democrats to push through legislation over Republican objections.

Still, Bayh said that the new group -- which has no official name, but he labeled the "Practicality Caucus" -- has tentative support from the White House and Reid.

"I called Rahm Emanuel...and the first thing he said was, 'I'd like to attend this meeting,'" Bayh asserted. "So I think we have an ally in the White House."

Bayh said Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) were members of the group, among others.

"There are about 12 to 13 of us in the press release, and about another two or three in the Witness Protection Program," Bayh joked.

In the House, Blue Dog Democrats serve a similar purpose, representing a bloc of fiscally conservative Democrats who emphasize attention to budgetary issues.

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