Members of Congress and their staffers packed Eastern Market on Monday night for two causes that generally draw bipartisan support: eradicating disease and eating food.
The Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, a passion project started by lobbyists Joel and Dana Wood after their son was diagnosed with the fatal form of muscular dystrophy, drew folks from both side of the aisle, along with some of the region's top chefs, to a hopping party. Many partygoers noted the bipartisan nature of the event and bemoaned the lack of cooperation in Congress.
"It's good that they all show support for this cause," chef Jose Andres said of the members in attendance, adding sternly, "this should be the way they do things all the time."
"Not a whole lot is bipartisan in this town this days," former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich said. "And with [the Woods], you see it."
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who is retiring this year, agreed that the foundation's yearly event provokes more cooperation than usual among members of Congress. He cracked a little joke at the expense of the House, which on Monday managed to hammer out the details of a continuing resolution on the budget: "One giant leap for the House, one small step for mankind."
Guests enjoyed morsels like shrimp ettoufee and seafood pancakes from restaurants including Vidalia, the Liberty Tavern and Acadiana. Among the attendees were Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, Steve Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee and Pete Sessions; Sens. John Barrasso, Roger Wicker, Claire McCaskill, Susan Collins and John Thune. At one point, Thune was spotted giving Ehrlich a very enthusiastic high-five in the corner.