Politics

Harris hosts female senators for ‘evening of relationship building’ at vice president’s residence

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event marking the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on June 15, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Vice President Kamala Harris held a private dinner Tuesday night for the female U.S. senators, a show of bipartisanship among a deeply divided Congress.

It was the first known time that Harris hosted lawmakers in the vice-presidential residence at the Naval Observatory since moving in April, a process that was delayed due to renovations.

CNN previously reported that Harris had invited all 24 female senators — 16 Democrats and eight Republicans.

“What a wonderful bipartisan women Senators dinner at our @VP ‘s residence!” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan tweeted. In photos Stabenow shared, Harris is seen toasting the group from her seat at the table between Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The senators dined on roasted mahi-mahi and ended the night with strawberry rhubarb croustades and vanilla ice cream, according to a menu shared by Republican Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

The meal was paired with wines from Harris’ home state of California.

“Our Vice President even made the cheese puffs herself! And they were so good!” Stabenow tweeted.

Afterward, Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn told Fox News that Harris was a gracious host and that the dinner was a “lovely event,” while adding that it “wasn’t a policy discussion at all.”

“But if she had brought up policies, I would’ve loved to have said, ‘Madame Vice President, you need to get to the border. You need to talk to the Border Patrol,'” Blackburn said Tuesday night in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Pushed on whether there was any policy talk, Blackburn said it was an “evening of relationship building.”

Blackburn said the dinner is an annual bipartisan event for the women of the Senate, but that last year’s gathering had been canceled due to Covid-19.

Harris was a U.S. senator from California — the chamber’s only Black female senator while she served — before being tapped as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election. Now as vice president, Harris returns to the Senate to be the tie-breaking vote and President Biden has tasked her with spearheading the administration’s efforts on voting rights. The Senate is also negotiating on the President’s key priorities including an infrastructure package. Harris had recently returned from her first foreign trip as VP to Guatemala and Mexico as she sought a serious strategy for stemming migration from the Northern Triangle.

The senators who attended included Tammy Baldwin, Marsha Blackburn, Maria Cantwell, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Tammy Duckworth, Joni Ernst, Dianne Feinstein, Deb Fischer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Maggie Hassan, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Lisa Murkowski, Patty Murray, Jacky Rosen, Jeanne Shaheen, Debbie Stabenow, Tina Smith and Elizabeth Warren.

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