Black lawmakers brainstorm strategy at nightly dinners

WASHINGTON — Rep. James Clyburn had just about polished off his chicken and dumplings one recent evening when Rep. Bennie Thompson joined him at the table just inside the restaurant at the National Democratic Club.

Rep. Cedric Richmond showed up a few minutes later, completing the threesome.

Clyburn of South Carolina, Thompson of Mississippi and Richmond of Louisiana have a four-year tradition of eating dinner together at the same table at the Capitol Hill restaurant every night Congress is in session.

They talk about issues important to the South and ways to advance their shared legislative agenda.

“We solve — and create — a lot of problems right here,” Clyburn said.