Republican Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin has been spotted all over the Capitol in the last few days, including with his former House Republican colleagues at their conference meetings and on the floor.
Mullin was a key player in conversations between the House and Senate GOP as they wrestled with how to avert a government shutdown, running back and forth between the two chambers.
“I’ve been blessed to have friends on both sides,” he told reporters.
Mullin even caught himself referring to the House GOP as “we,” at one point on Saturday. “If we do it — if the House does it — I still talk like I was there,” he laughed.
Mullin was in and out of the conference meeting Saturday morning where House Republicans considered several options for keeping the government open, and he attended the Senate GOP conference’s lunch afterwards.
“I just happen to have good relationships with the speaker and some of the House members,” he told CNN. “And then with Sen. (John) Thune, I just thanked him for giving me the opportunity to do it, you know, just running back and forth, but it was good.”
“It should be chaotic, it’s designed to be chaotic, right? I mean, we all come from different backgrounds and different places. But it’s nice to see when we can finally figure out well, as you go through the process, the options get narrower and they get fewer and then when you finally get down the last two, it’s a or b, there’s no c left,” Mullin said.
“And we all came together — in a bipartisan manner, that’s even better,” he added.
Asked whether he would be taking on this role as a go-between for Republicans across the Capitol more often, Mullin joked, “Lord, I hope we don’t have a day like this.”
“I need to bring my gym shorts. We’ll have to bring (Pennsylvania Sen. John) Fetterman’s rule back so I can have the gym clothes to run back and forth,” referring to the controversy in the Capitol earlier in September when Senate Majority Leader a Chuck Schumer decided to stop enforcing the Senate’s unwritten dress code, only to have a formal resolution requiring business attire passed a week later.
While Mullin acknowledged that the short-term spending resolution may put Congress back in the same spot in mid-November, he was optimistic they had learned something from this experience.
“I can see us being right back here in 45 days. But there was a lot more motivation, since we’ve already did this fire drill, there’s going to be a lot more motivation for us to start working Monday on getting these issues ironed out,” he said.