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IN THE NEWS: Praise continues to come for Joe Donnelly after he “spearheaded” bipartisan working group to re-open government

Even as the three-day shutdown recedes from view, Joe Donnelly’s bipartisan work to re-open the government continues to receive attention.

As early as last Wednesday, Joe was playing a central role in starting up the “common sense caucus” of pragmatic senators who worked through the weekend to re-open the government, fund CHIP, delay the medical device tax, and create a path forward on immigration.

From the Logansport Pharos-Tribune: Donnelly part of bipartisan effort to end shutdown

Living on coffee, donuts and popcorn for the weekend, Sen. Joe Donnelly and nearly two dozen other lawmakers sat in a small Senate office passing a foam basketball around as they negotiated an end to the three-day government shutdown.

“In true Hoosier tradition, we passed it around and whoever had it could talk,” the Democratic U.S. senator from Indiana said of the foam ball.

Donnelly was one of 22 people who worked over the week toward a compromise following Saturday’s early morning government shutdown. The group was made up of roughly an even number of Republicans and Democrats.

“I thought we could continue to work on these issues while keeping the government open,” Donnelly said. “Once the government shut down, I began working immediately with my friend Susan Collins and other senators to try to work to get it reopened.”

Collins, R-Maine, and Donnelly spearheaded the bipartisan group, which some lawmakers have pegged as the “Common Sense Caucus.” Both Collins and Donnelly were part of the bipartisan group of senators who put together framework to end the 2013 shutdown, too.

From The Journal Gazette: Donnelly's role in 'radical reasonable caucus' to end shutdown

What one news organization pegged as the U.S. Senate's "radical reasonable caucus" has been getting credit for helping end the three-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

The group of more than 20 senators, split almost evenly among Republicans and Democrats, included Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Led by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the bipartisan bloc had started out as 14 senators who shaped a compromise that halted the 16-day government shutdown in 2013.

Donnelly said Tuesday that he and Collins had talked back then about when the group might be needed again.

"And it was one of those situations where you know it when you see it. We knew immediately when we saw this that there was a problem that we could help fix," Donnelly said in a conference call with Indiana news media.

Between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, various members of the group met 10 times in Collins' office, hunting down more chairs, taking turns speaking without interruption and snacking on doughnuts and popcorn, according to Donnelly.

"What makes this work is we trust each other. When you're in a room and exchange ideas, you can solve problems," Donnelly said.

He said the senators shared "a hunger to move our country forward ... rather than these partisan political fights and the name-calling and all that nonsense."

From WFYI: Donnelly Says Focus On Moving Country Forward Following Shutdown

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) was one of a bipartisan group of senators that brokered the deal to re-open the government after a three-day shutdown.

He says this moderate group is evidence partisan, diametrically opposed politics aren’t the only option.

“What it is is a hunger to move our country forward, to do things that focus only on what’s best for American – for Indiana – rather than these partisan, political fights and the name calling and all that nonsense,” Donnelly says.

“It was almost half and half Republican and Democrat. The party labels almost never came up. It was ‘how do we keep narrowing differences?’” Donnelly says.

He says the moderate group is ready to work together again if funding talks fall through in February.