Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly MORE (R-Maine) are the easiest senators to work with, while Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyHollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party The Hill's 12:30 Report Lawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March MORE (D-Vt.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) are the most partisan members of the upper chamber, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.
The Hill asked all 99 seated senators which member of the opposing party they most enjoyed partnering with on legislation. The senators were also quizzed (on a not-for-attribution basis) about their least favorite.
After Kennedy, the most bipartisan Democrats are Sens. Tom CarperTom CarperDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March What to know about Trump's national monuments executive order Dems probe claims of religious bias in DHS 'trusted traveler' program MORE (Del.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Evan Bayh (Ind.) and Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (Iowa).
Following Collins on the GOP side are Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchWhen political opportunity knocked, Jason Chaffetz never failed to cash in Ginsburg pines for more collegial court confirmations Senate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' MORE (Utah), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and John McCainJohn McCainEx-Bush aide Nicolle Wallace to host MSNBC show Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' Top commander: Don't bet on China reining in North Korea MORE (Ariz.).
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) did not make the top five despite voting for President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Collins and Snowe were the only other Republicans in Congress to back that bill.
Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.) regularly buck their party, but neither cracked the top five.
Obama has vowed to change the tone of Congress, urging members of both parties to put “childish” politics aside. The president’s call for bipartisanship has generated mixed results, with partisanship flaring during the recent budget debates in the House and Senate.
Working across the aisle sometimes depends on ideology, but not in every case. For example, New York Democrat Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer: NYC should refuse to pay for Trump’s security Reagan's 'voodoo economics' are precisely what America needs When political opportunity knocked, Jason Chaffetz never failed to cash in MORE will, at times, join forces with South Carolina Republican Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTop admiral: North Korea crisis is 'worst I've seen' Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record MORE. And staunch conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said he misses working with Obama in the Senate.
Kennedy’s affability was cited by some of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans, including Hatch, Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsNew chief selected for Justice Department unit overseeing Russia probe Sessions: Some judges ‘using the law to advance an agenda’ Sessions on Flynn: ‘You don’t catch everything’ MORE (Ala.) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.).
“I’d love to co-sponsor every piece of legislation with Ted Kennedy,” said Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrTrump voter who cast ballot illegally won’t be charged Burr: US in new Cold War with Russia Senator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation MORE (R-N.C.). “When Ted says he’s going to do something, he’s committed to it.”
Democrats hailed the two centrist senators from Maine.
“They are Republicans who want to get something done,” said Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.).
“She’s reasonable, principled and doesn’t get scared off by peer pressure,” Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillFive takeaways from the Georgia special election Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Potential McCaskill challenger has .7M: report MORE (D-Mo.) said of Collins.
Discussing Snowe, Landrieu said, “She’s strong in her opinions and she’s not easily swayed, but she is sway-able, which makes her open-minded.” Landrieu and Snowe are the top members of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Leahy attracted widespread criticism from GOP senators. Vice President Cheney famously told Leahy “to go f—- yourself” in 2004.
Aside from Leahy, the other Democratic senators deemed the hardest to work with are Schumer, Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget MORE (Ill.) and Dodd (Conn.).
“They’re guys that like to wield their positions,” said one GOP senator.
Dodd was the only senator who made both the bipartisan and partisan lists. Sen. John KerryJohn KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' MORE (D-Mass.) is the fifth most partisan Democrat, according to the survey.
Democrats singled out Bunning, David VitterDavid VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (La.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (Okla.) and DeMint as the most difficult. One Democratic senator called them “a bunch of 4-year-olds.”
Several Democrats said Bunning in particular is so irascible that they don’t even try to speak to the Hall of Fame pitcher unless it’s about baseball.
“Jim just makes it difficult,” said one Democrat. “Sometimes you have a sense of where your bipartisan outreach maybe won’t be successful, so you tend to not even engage.”
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Overnight Healthcare: New GOP health bill on life support | ObamaCare insurer threatens to leave over subsidies Trump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee MORE is the fifth most partisan GOP member, according to The Hill’s survey. However, several Democrats praised the Tennessee lawmaker as a cooperative legislative partner.
Many senators said working well with a member of the opposing party often depends on reasons outside their control — committee assignments that pair a chairman with a ranking member, for example, or the fact that a home-state colleague may be from the other side of the aisle.
But many also pointed to personality.
“There are some members of the Senate that you may disagree with 90 percent of the time, but they’re looking for that 10 percent and so are you,” said Graham. “Part of it is attitude. Some senators have a better attitude about finding that 10 or 20 percent than others.”
Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownTrump talks big on trade, but workers need action Dems crowd primaries to challenge GOP reps Battle begins over Wall Street rules MORE (D-Ohio), who was elected in 2006, said, “It’s partly about, ‘Who wants to work together?’ instead of ‘Who’s likely to agree with you on issues?’ That’s why some are easier than others.”
Brown revealed he keeps track of all the Republicans with whom he works: “I keep a notebook that I don’t share with anybody, and I mark in there who I’ve worked with. I have a goal of working with almost every Republican on a major issue.”
The chamber’s two leaders named each other as their across-the-aisle favorite. Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) said he works best with Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) — “because I have to” — and McConnell said much the same of Reid. Kansas Republican Pat RobertsPat RobertsUSDA to ease school meal standards Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments MORE said Reid was a favorite of his when both men led the Ethics Committee. Durbin named several centrist Republicans but said he is trying to work with more members of the GOP.
“At the end of the day, if I give a great Democratic speech and end up with 58 votes, I don’t win,” Durbin said. “So I try to find some way to leave the door open for Republicans to join me.”
“There’s an old saying about the Senate: ‘There’s no permanent friends, just permanent issues,’ ” Ensign said. “You have to work across the aisle if you’re ever going to get anything done.”
Among the surprise findings from the poll: Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Optimism rising for infrastructure deal Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Okla.) has struck up a friendship with Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.). Burris, meanwhile, is a fan of Hatch’s wardrobe.
Conservative Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) misses the late liberal Sen. Paul Wellstone (Minn.) — “one of the funniest guys I’ve worked with.”
He added, “He was just passionate. We’d call each other names for a little while and then we’d go work with each other … He was once upset at some ranking that had just come out that said he was the second most liberal senator here. He said, ‘You did this to me! I was the most liberal one here, and because I’ve been working with you I’m now in second place.’ ”
Click here to read the Republicans' responses and here for Democrats' responses.
THE MOST, AND LEAST BIPARTISAN MEMBERS OF THE SENATE
Who’s the easiest senator to work with across the aisle? Who’s the toughest? The Hill asked all 99 seated senators about their colleagues’ bipartisanship, and the following names — arranged by frequency, from top to bottom — were cited the most.
1. Edward Kennedy (Mass.)
2. Tom Carper (Del.)
3. Chris Dodd (Conn.)
4. (tied) Evan Bayh (Ind.)
4. (tied) Tom Harkin (Iowa)
1. Susan Collins (Maine)
2. Olympia Snowe (Maine)
3. Orrin Hatch (Utah)
4. (tied) Richard Lugar (Ind.)
4. (tied) John McCain (Ariz.)
1. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
2. Charles Schumer (N.Y.)
3. Chris Dodd (Conn.)
4. Dick Durbin (Ill.)
5. John Kerry (Mass.)
1. Jim Bunning (Ky.)
2. David Vitter (La.)
3. Tom Coburn (Okla.)
4. Jim DeMint (S.C.)
5. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)