The so-called “Common Sense Coalition” wants to be a new force in the Senate.

In the middle of deadlocked government shutdown negotiations on Capitol Hill this weekend, a group of about 17 senators from both parties went into the office of Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and started talking.

By the end of the weekend, the so-called “Common Sense Coalition” had grown to around 30 senators, moderates from both parties who became the group driving internal negotiations to reopen the government. They are now credited with helping bring an end to the shutdown — with Collins appearing on CNN on Tuesday morning, proudly showing off the beaded “talking stick” she said helped facilitate discussions.


— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) January 23, 2018

“It’s very helpful in controlling the discussion because as you can imagine with that many senators in a room, they all want to to talk at once. I know it shocks you to learn that,” Collins told BuzzFeed’s Emma Loop.

But bipartisanship via talking stick is also tricky — CNN also reported that over the course of the bipartisan group meeting, one Republican lawmaker “forcefully delivered” the stick across the room to a Democratic colleague — but he missed, instead hitting a shelf and chipping a glass elephant belonging to Collins.

Emboldened after paving the way for the government to reopen, this group of lawmakers now says they are going to take on immigration and a long-term spending bill.

They’ll certainly have an uphill battle. The Senate has been increasingly gridlocked and partisan in 2017 and 2018. The recent vote on tax reform underscores the tense partisanship; the massive tax overhaul was the only piece of major legislation that passed the Senate this year, and it did so without a single Democratic vote. Read More Here