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 TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 UptonOvernight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran House passes .3 billion measure to fight coronavirus MORE (R) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Coronavirus stimulus package shouldn't leave out older Americans 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 DingellThe Memo: Trump tests limits of fiery attacks during crisis Overwhelming majority of voters say civility is needed in politics Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight 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.

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"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 Facebook - Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast Hill's Editor-In-Chief: Is Washington establishment failing the test of this crisis? Democrat: Lawmakers need to approach opioid crisis as 'a chronic situation' MORE.

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"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 EscobarTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging 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