Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight

Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight
© Kristoffer Tripplaar

House members from both parties Thursday discussed the importance of working together to address common threats and challenges in the midst of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE's impeachment trial. 

At an event sponsored by Philip Morris International, Burson Cohn Wolfe, The Governor’s Woods Foundation and No Labels, Michigan Reps. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonProgressives soaring after big primary night Michigan Rep. Fred Upton wins GOP primary The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks MORE (R) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellMichigan Rep. Debbie Dingell easily wins House primary Court orders release of Black Michigan teen who was jailed for missing schoolwork Lobbying world MORE (D) talked to The Hill Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons about the importance of finding common ground in a hyper-partisan environment.

"Fred's been my best friend here since I've come," said Dingell, noting Upton's relationship with her late husband, former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellCOVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell easily wins House primary Great American Outdoors Act will deliver critical investments to our national parks, forests MORE (D-Mich.), the longest-serving member of the House.

"We have a lot of the same values, we care about a lot of stuff, we watch out for each other, we really are like a brother and sister," she added.

"I got my stripes from Debbie's husband John. He was the dean of the House, he was just about the most powerful committee chair ever, you know, and he got things done," said Upton.

"We have divided government. Today, if you want to get things done, you gotta work together," he added.

Dingell and Upton, two Midwestern moderates with a personal relationship predating their service together in the House, underlined the need to parlay those connections into the political realm.

But for freshman Rep. Greg StantonGregory (Greg) John StantonArizona lawmaker warns Pence state may end coronavirus testing due to shortage Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday The Hill's Campaign Report: Centrists rush behind Biden to stop Sanders MORE (D-Ariz.), the walk across the aisle started at the airport.

"I have a great working relationship with Republicans, particularly from my state. We're friends, I like 'em. I like 'em on a personal level. We spend a lot of time at airports together hanging out with flights that are often delayed from Washington back to Phoenix," Stanton told The Hill Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Progress slow on coronavirus bill The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence MORE.

"We get to know each other on a personal level, and that's important. Personal relationships are important in politics," added Stanton.

Stanton cited a drought contingency plan and the North American trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), as examples of bipartisanship.

"We're going to fight on certain issues, as you'd expect — this is a partisan environment. But we're going to come together as needed to support Arizona issues in a bipartisan way," said Stanton.

Still, Trump's impeachment trial will loom over the State of the Union address, scheduled for next Tuesday.

Trump's speech to Congress will directly confront a president with his accusers from the House, amid a fraught election year that could reshape party structures for the foreseeable future.

Stanton said he put politics aside in his vote for impeachment, in favor of "doing the right thing."

"People ask me all the time, the politics of impeachment, does it help Democrats, does it hurt Democrats? I think my honest answer is: I don't know. I don't know," said Stanton.

And Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality Democrats hope clash resonates with key bloc: Women MORE (D-Texas), a freshman lawmaker who will deliver the Spanish-language response to Trump from El Paso, said this year's address will lack the celebratory tone of last year's, when Democrats were fresh off big gains in the 2018 elections.

"We're a year in, we've accomplished a lot together, we have a lot left to accomplish. It's election season, so it's a little bit different," said Escobar.

"Personally, last year I felt real frustration with the president's message. You know, he's dishonest. It's frustrating to sit and listen to someone attempt to gaslight an entire country," added Escobar.

-- Updates to change list of sponsors for the event