Republican members of the House and Senate are gathering for a two-day policy retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to help bridge differences — especially between the Senate's more moderate approach to lawmaking and the lower chamber's impassioned conservatives chomping to rollback Obama administration initiatives, Politico
Senate and House party leaders want to better align legislative priorities and expectations — from the tax code and healthcare to immigration reform and the budget process, according to Politico.
"It's time to air the differences, see how big they are and hopefully find the common ground," said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who spent 14 years in the House.
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, referring to the Senate's more leisurely pace, "We just need to make sure that our colleagues in the House know that we still are going to have some pretty significant limitations when it comes to moving things with speed."
"They can pass stuff and send it over, and they're frustrated that we can't take it up and pass it," Thune said to Politico.
Illustrating the chasm between the chambers, Louisiana Rep. John Fleming said that Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Senate Republicans may well side with the Democrats on immigration.
Conservatives in the House want to leverage a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security to block President Barack Obama's immigration policies.
But a House bill embracing Fleming's approach has little chance of passing in the Senate.
"Things like that?" said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, in reference to the DHS funding bill. "It would be helpful to have more coordination," Politico reported.
The Hershey gathering is open only to members of Congress, with the public and media barred.
A number of senators, including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, will not be attending. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be there, Politico reported.
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