Bipartisan booze cruises seal Senate gun control compromise

Sens.Mark Kirk & Joe Manchin
Sens. Mark Kirk and Joe Manchin
Photo Credit: Politico

Blame the booze cruises for the bipartisanship bridge building on expanding gun control laws in the U.S. Senate.

The feel good compromise reached by senators this week on background checks is now explained, and you can blame it on the alcohol.

Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. were working on keeping Americans safe with more gun control one cocktail party at a time aboard Manchin’s yacht, the “Black Tie”.

“You guys really ought to go out to National Harbor and see the Black Tie, which has been much of the reason for much of the bipartisan cooperation around here,” Kirk told reporters this week when asked about “his work on firearm background checks and other gun-related legislation,” Roll Call reported.

“Sometimes alcoholic beverages might be served and ties might … get loosened,” Kirk said.

According to the article, Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska often joined Kirk and Manchin aboard the boat. Uh huh, token females, check.

Two Washington Post reporters asked Manchin about the bipartisan booze cruises during an interview Thursday:

Ed O’Keefe: We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask you what’s been going on aboard your boat, “The Black Tie.” Sen. Mark Kirk filled us in, saying that “Most of the bipartisan progress of this session of Congress will trace back to the Black Tie.” So what’s the deal?

Manchin: “What did you find out about that?”

David A. Fahrenthold: Is it a yacht or pontoon?

Manchin: “No, it’s an older big boat. But we can get 10 or more senators and have a good time. And you know what? We can go float out there and you can’t find us.

“We go out on the Potomac. You build relationships. I’m doing everything I can to build relationships. I love to know my senator colleagues – Democrats and Republicans. Just trying to, I just know back home that’s what we do. Cheapest thing you can do is feed people.

Ed O’Keefe: Were any of the gun talks aboard The Black Tie?

Manchin: “We talk about everything. Everything. Everybody. You’d be surprised — and Mark will tell you that. Mark and I just kept getting, we’ve been good friends since day one and we kept getting closer and closer and closer. And we’d say, ‘Let’s invite so-and-so, you invite so-and-so and I’ll invite so-and-so.’

“And you know, just beer, pizza, whatever, just have a good time. But it was a way to break the ice, it was a way that we look forward to getting together. The boat’s not here now, but if we get it back, we’ll use it again.

More from Roll Call.

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