Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders Will Face Off in 3-Part Debate Series

·2-min read
Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders
Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders

Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty; Scott Olson/Getty Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders

In a move that's meant to bring about a return to collegiality among lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Bernie Sanders will participate in a series of three debates beginning next month.

The debates are part of the new Senate Project, a collaborative effort of the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

According to a press release, the goal of the debate series "is to reintroduce the culture of compromise that has been the essence of the Senate since it was conceived in 1789 and to inspire policymakers to work towards the example set by Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Ted Kennedy for bipartisan bridge-building."

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The first debate will launch at 12 p.m. ET on June 13, with two others featuring Graham and Kennedy — and, eventually, other U.S. senators — to follow.

"Senator Hatch and Senator Kennedy were political opposites—but they were also best friends," Hatch Foundation Board Chair Scott Anderson said in the release. "And working together in the spirit of bipartisanship, they were able to pass some of the most consequential reforms of modern times. The Senate Project will encourage a new generation of lawmakers to transcend the polarization of today's politics by following the Hatch-Kennedy model."

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Hatch Foundation Executive Director Matt Sandgren echoed that sentiment, saying the debates aim to "reinvigorate the civic discourse."

"All too often, network programming—whether on television or online—sows division and contempt among viewers by exaggerating the differences between us," Sandgren said. "But The Senate Project seeks to do the exact opposite. It seeks to forge compromise and consensus while still respecting substantive disagreements that exist between the two parties. Our hope is to show that bipartisanship and vigorous debate can coexist—and that civility is still possible, even in today's hyper-polarized world."

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According to the release, the debate will be moderated by FOX News Channel's Bret Baier, will air on FOX Nation, FOX News Media's streaming service, and be held in the Kennedy Institute's full-size replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber. The second debate will be held in July at George Washington University, with the third debate to be held this fall.

The specific topics to be covered will be announced one week prior.