Amid bitter partisanship in the capital, rampant inflation across the country and a war raging in Ukraine, nearly two dozen women senators broke bread Tuesday night — and, Axios has learned, politics was decidedly off the menu.
Why it matters: The bipartisan chicken dinner in the Capitol — organized by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — was a throwback to the kind of camaraderie whose loss is often lamented in modern-day politics.
- It also was the first such in-person get-together of the group since last June, when Vice President Kamala Harris hosted it at her residence at the Naval Observatory.
- Harris is currently quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus.
What they’re saying: “We sat around a big rectangular table with little vases of flowers that went to each woman. It was bipartisan. Politics was not discussed. It was a very pleasant evening,” Feinstein told Axios.
- During the two-hour get-together, the group did take stock of the fact that, for the first time, four women will be chair and ranking member of the powerful Appropriations committees in both chambers — the so-called “four corners.”
- In the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Collins will be the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, following the retirement of the Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
- In the House, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Kay Granger (R-Texas) will continue to be the top Democrat and Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
Between the lines: “I’ve been here a while, and it’s just nice to relax and have conversations with friends,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).