W.V. Sen. Manchin Laments Partisan Gridlock

CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - Freshman U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has a suggestion for gridlocked Capitol Hill: let Republicans and Democrats sit together during committee meetings.

The West Virginia Democrat sees the separate seating by party as one example of the partisan barriers he blames for the current climate in Washington, D.C.

Manchin told reporters during a Tuesday conference call that he's recommending open committee seating as well as monthly bipartisan meetings. He said Congress can invite President Barack Obama to these meetings for candid exchanges on proposals.

Since joining the Senate in late 2010, Manchin has held bipartisan working lunches with freshman Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.

Manchin also offered support for the Keystone XL project, a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.

Manchin is touring West Virginia this week and next week.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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