March 16 (UPI) — What began as a travel headache ended in a bipartisan bromance after two Texas congressmen, one Republican and one Democrat, launched a 36-hour road trip after flights to Washington were canceled and broadcast the journey on Facebook.
The whole thing began when Reps. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, became stranded in the Lonestar State due to the mass flight cancelations up and down the East Coast due to this week’s snowstorm. Both men were in jeopardy of missing Capitol Hill votes and hatched the plan to rent a car and drive together to the Capitol.
The two men began broadcasting the trip, and their far-reaching conversations about everything from health care policy to doughnuts, on Facebook Live. They took questions from the thousands of users who peeked in on the broadcast and aired policy agreements, and disagreements.
“At a time where so many people wonder whether our institutions still work, whether members of Congress still listen to the people they represent, whether a Republican and a Democrat can get along and work together. I thought, let’s try to prove the concept,” O’Rourke told the Dallas Morning News.
They took several calls from colleagues in Washington, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who promised to hold a parking spot open for them and keep votes open as long as possible for them to arrive.
While the two lawmakers from neighboring districts said they were never especially close, the trip made them genuine friends, good enough they’re considering sharing Thanksgiving together with their families.
“I’ve learned a lot about Beto,” Hurd told NPR. “We’ve learned that we can work together on a lot more issues than what we have been.”
They asked each lawmaker they spoke to who they would want to drive cross-country with and as word of their travels spread, several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they would consider a similar bipartisan road trip. Facebook and Twitter users following the adventure used the hashtag #BipartisanCannonballRun to suggest their own pairings.
As for O’Rourke and Hurd, all’s well that ended well — they arrived at the Capitol 36 hours after leaving Texas, with 30 minutes to spare before the House votes ended.