Four legs bridge 'paw'tisan divide

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Compromise can leave lawmakers in the doghouse with their own party. But, U.S. Senators put aside pet peeves and pet projects this Halloween in an effort to dig up consensus.

A giant gaggle formed in the middle of the Dirksen Senate Office Building early Halloween evening. This one didn’t consist of the press hounding a lawmaker for a sound-byte though – but formed organically around costumed dogs.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) unleashed the brief, but welcome distraction from indictments and tax reform. “Just to have fun, lighten the load sometimes,” he said, “it’s necessary here on Capitol Hill.”

Tillis dubbed the four-legged contest ‘bi-PAW-tisanship’. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) dug up a moment of free time before a meeting with a college president.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) encouraged his staff and their pooches to compete. Amber Heinz accepted her boss’ challenge, dressing her dog Lemon as a bee and herself as a beekeeper.

“It’s great, it’s awesome, especially when things can be so contentious, to have everyone come out, and it’s such a positive event, so I’m really glad Sen. Tillis put it on,” she said. Heinz said her dog pun was unintentional.

Asked if bonding over dogs might lead to a tax or health care deal, Tillis didn’t bite. “Well it may be a little bit of a stretch to say that it bridges that gap,” he said, “but at least we’ll be a little more conscious that we’re all friends at the end of the day while we’re having our debates on the floor.”

Dog versions of Star Wars characters and the president made appearances – but no amount of dressing up can fully mask the deep political divide here, and across the country.

A canine caucus may not have a lot of traction with the White House. President Donald Trump is the first Commander-in-Chief without a pet companion in more than a century.

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