WASHINGTON (CNN) – A group of 15 Senate Democrats have organized their own working group, the office of Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh announced Wednesday.
"Our group seeks to work collaboratively with the Obama administration and Senate leadership to make sure legislation is crafted in a practical way that will solve people's problems," Bayh said in a statement. "It's going to take all of us working together in the Senate to get the 60 votes necessary to deliver the change the American people deserve."
It's a group with a more conservative bent than the Democratic caucus as a whole. Recently, Bayh and Missouri Sen. McCaskill were critical of earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill, ultimately voting against it. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, has famously broken with the party on foreign policy and on the presidential campaign.
But Sen. Ben Nelson was able to play a key role in bringing on board just enough Republican support to ensure passage of the $787 billion stimulus bill championed by the White House and Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.
Bayh will lead the group, along with Delaware Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln. The remaining dozen members of the new group are: Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Lieberman, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Warner of Virginia.
Majority Leader Harry Reid - who sounded a frustrated note earlier this month over Bayh's position on the spending bill - said the new group had his support. "[N]ew ventures like this group offer us a new opportunity to get things done, and I support every effort that puts real solutions above political posturing," Reid said in the statement announcing the group.