‘Moderate’ Senate Democrats to formally announce formation of Blue Dog-style coalition.

bayh.jpgRoll Call reports that a group of 15-20 “moderate” Senate Democrats — boosted by their success in “paring down the more than $900 billion economic stimulus bill to $787 billion” — plans to “formally announce next week that it is aligning as a loose coalition or working group focused on deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility”:

Led by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), members said early press reports of their meetings were mischaracterized as an opposition group to President Barack Obama’s agenda and budget. But they acknowledge that they are seeking to restrain the influence of party liberals in the White House and on Capitol Hill. […]

[Nebraska Sen. Ben] Nelson said the moderate bloc is modeled after the Blue Dogs, but that the realities of the Senate prevent them from being as organized or unified as the House group, which regularly wins concessions from House Democratic leaders.

But as one anonymous Democratic senator told Roll Call, “Once you decide to be part of a bloc that is completely dislocated from the main [Democratic] caucus interests, you’ve not only separated yourself, you’ve also burned a lot of bridges.” Politico previously explained the possible implications of such a group, writing, “If the moderate Democrats in the Senate are willing to work with moderate Republicans…they will negate the White House’s ability to portray opposition…as partisan obstructionism.”