Evan Bayh Forming Conservative "Blue Dog" Caucus In Senate

Evan Bayh Forming Conservative "Blue Dog" Caucus In Senate

Via Open Left, Roll Call reports:

Bayh, who has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about his initiative, said he is trying to create a faction of moderate Senators who will gather on a weekly basis ahead of the usual Tuesday Democratic Caucus meetings.

Additionally, Bayh envisions inviting outside speakers to address the group, which would also work in concert with third parties that have similar viewpoints, like the Third Way, a nonpartisan progressive think tank.

A Reid spokesman said the Majority Leader was similarly upbeat about the idea.

"Nearly a decade of Republican fiscal irresponsibility has contributed to our current economic crisis," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an e-mail statement. "That is why Sen. Reid welcomes Sen. Bayh's decision to form this group. For we know that Sen. Bayh, like all Democrats, is committed to restoring our nation's fiscal and economic health."

Over the past three weeks, Bayh and his staff have reached out to Senators to judge the appetite for such a group.

"I've had some expressions of interest," Bayh said. "I'm going to continue to meet and talk to my colleagues."

Likely targets for Bayh would include moderate Democrats like Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Sen.-elect Mark Warner (Va.).

Steve Benen adds:

In the House, the Blue Dogs are not only overly cozy with corporate lobbyists, this is a coalition reluctant to embrace a progressive vision on issues like climate change, and committed to a financial plan focused on spending reductions and balanced budgets -- precisely when the federal government needs to be doing the opposite.

That Bayh wants a similar group working in the Senate is discouraging, to put it mildly.

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