Part of the push for bipartisan seating comes from independent groups like Third Way and No Labels, which took out a full-page ad in the New York Times earlier this month. But are they really expecting Republicans and Democrats sitting next to each other to solve partisan gridlock?
Last year's State of the Union included bipartisan seating in response to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). But that didn't exactly lay the groundwork for a productive and cooperative 2011.
"It won't have any dramatic short-term effect," admitted Jonathan Miller, a co-founder of No Labels and the former treasurer of Kentucky.
But, Miller said, if bipartisan seating gets institutionalized, it could make a difference. And he said that "it's a signal to the public that [lawmakers] are taking their demand for less hyper-partisanship seriously."
No Labels has also been tracking the announced bipartisan seating pairs.
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