Post # 229, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
A Codel is a Congressional Delegation trip for fact finding or oversight by Members and Staff. But, an important side benefit is the bonding that can occur among the participants.
I noticed that Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut attributed passage of his historic gun control legislation with Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina to a "Codel." This is Washington code for a Congressional Delegation to a foreign country for "oversight" or "fact finding." Apparently Senators Murphy and Tillis barely knew each other, but had never served together on committees, so their recent trip to the Balkans was not just a foreign affairs success. Their bonding on the trip may have led to the passage of unrelated, but landmark legislation.
I had similar experiences while in the Florida Legislature some 50 years ago, but without the trips. I recall getting a call from lobbyist extraordinaire Dick Jones inviting Susan and me to a dinner at his house with his wife, Pat. Dick said he wanted us to get to know veteran Republican State Representative Betty Easley and her husband Richard. I was a freshman Democrat in the House and did not know Betty, but knew of her solid representation of Pinellas County and the state. The evening was enjoyable and enlightening as Betty and I went on to become good friends and supporters of many bills together. It was our "Codel," and worked just as with U.S. Senators Murphy and Tillis, described above, but without the trip.
This bonding of lawmakers in Washington and really throughout the country is critically important. It does not have to be forever friendships. But it does require respect and candor in problem solving today. Without civil bi-partisanship, governance is reduced to tribal in fighting which produces nothing worthwhile.
Lets hope more members of Congress will take advantage of the benefits of a Codel, which is very important to our Country now.