The Washington Times - July 18, 2013, 08:17AM

Seventy lawmakers claim it’s a first. On Thursday morning, a bustling gaggle of Republicans and Democrats will gather outside the U.S. Capitol to publicly present a legislative reform package of nine bills in “a first-of-its-kind format,” meant to show off newfound bipartisanship.

“Lately, it has been pretty rare to see Democrats and Republicans even saying a nice word about one another, let alone coming together on the grounds of the Capitol,” says Rep. Reid J. Ribble, Wisconsin Republican. “But that’s what you’ll see.”

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There are 37 Republicans, 43 Democrats and a single independent in the mix.

The coalition calls it the “Make America Work” package; the bills in question call for a more efficient, less wasteful government - certainly something the tea party has called for since 2009. The event, however, has been organized by No Labels, an interest group founded three years ago by former Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman Jr. and Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat.

“This event warrants the attention of everyone in Washington because of what it means for the progress of our country,” says Rep. Ami Bera, California Democrat. “Our announcement will provide a template for how Democrats and Republicans can work together.”

“It’s common ground on some common-sense measures,” insists Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas Republican.