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Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) debate in fourth installment of The Senate Project series

Washington D.C. (September 5, 2023) — The fourth installment of The Senate Project debate series will feature Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Monday, September 18, 2023, beginning at 6:40 pm at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington D.C.

Moderated by CBS News’s Senior White House & Political Correspondent Ed O’Keefe, the two senators are meeting for the fourth debate under the aegis of The Senate Project, a partnership between the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.

“It’s a pleasure to participate in The Senate Project debate series. I look forward to debating Senator Rubio and having the opportunity to discuss a number of issues, including China and where we can find bipartisan common ground,” said Sen. Coons. “I’d like to thank the Bipartisan Policy Center, George Washington University, the Kennedy Institute and the Hatch Center for hosting us and for working to build consensus among members of the United States Senate.”

“America remains the greatest country in the history of the world, but everyone knows we face some serious challenges – challenges that cannot be solved by talking points and soundbites,” said Sen. Rubio. “Republicans and Democrats will never agree on every problem or every solution, but that should not prevent us from working together to get things done where we can for the American people. That is especially true when it comes to issues like China’s continued assault on our economy, communities, and national security.”

Viewers can watch The Senate Project debate via, on the CBS News app, and on the CBS News YouTube channel.

“The Senate is the world’s greatest deliberative body, but in recent years the fierce debate, followed by searching for common ground has often been missing,” said former Sen. and BPC Co-Founder Tom Daschle. “After making that point several years ago, I could not be more thrilled with The Senate Project series, which seeks a thoughtful debate and honest discussion on some of America’s leading issues, and when possible, areas of comity.  I look forward to this fourth in a series of debates with two respected members of the United States Senate.”

“Too often, there is more attention on what divides the nation than on what unites it. The Senate Project is intended to show the American people that civil discourse, compromise, and bipartisanship are possible,” said Bruce A. Percelay, Chairman of the Board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. “The fourth Senate Project event proves the country has a desire to see politicians from both sides communicate with one another to address the critical issues facing the country. We are thankful to Senator Rubio and Senator Coons for leading by example to work past political differences and build towards consensus.”

“Throughout American history, the Senate has served as a crucible for our nation’s most profound debates in large part because of its respect for bipartisanship and reasoned discussion. In an era where headlines too often focus on our divides, The Senate Project seeks to rekindle that spirit and the possibilities that emerge when senators come together to genuinely listen and learn,” said Matt Sandgren, Executive Director of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. “By facilitating these robust discussions between senators from different backgrounds and perspectives, we hope to inspire a new generation of lawmakers to prioritize collaboration and the common good over partisan divide.”

The Senate Project seeks to bring together senators from different ends of the political spectrum for civil, substantive discussion and debate aimed at finding potential areas of bipartisan compromise and common ground, a hallmark of the Senate for more than two centuries. The Senate Project and its founding partners take inspiration from the model of political bridge-building established by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, and the late Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, in working past party and political differences to forge consensus on landmark healthcare reform legislation and other bipartisan bills.

Previous editions of The Senate Project featured Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at the Kennedy Institute in June 2022; Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rob Portman (R-OH), hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center at George Washington University in August 2022; and Joni Ernst (R-IA) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted by the Kennedy Institute in June 2023.

Among other committee assignments, Senator Rubio is the Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence; ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues; and a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Committee on Foreign Relations, and Special Committee on Aging.

Senator Coons is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and the Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, and a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He is also Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.


About The Senate Project
In a time of deep political polarization in America—and a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate—the goal of The Senate Project is for the public to hear leading senators from competing ends of the political spectrum. The Oxford-style format of the 60-minute debates will allow senators to engage in extended, thoughtful, wide-ranging debate while exploring areas of constructive disagreement and searching for the bipartisan compromise that has been a hallmark of the Senate for more than two centuries. You can learn more at

About the Bipartisan Policy Center
The Bipartisan Policy Center is a mission-focused organization helping policymakers work across party lines to craft bipartisan solutions. By connecting Republicans and Democrats, delivering data and context, negotiating public policy, and creating space for bipartisan collaboration, BPC helps turn legislators’ best ideas into durable laws that improve lives. Since 2007, the Bipartisan Policy Center has helped shepherd countless bills across the finish line. Learn more at

About the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation
Civility and solutions—these are the twin pillars of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. They are the ideals that underpinned the senator’s service and that guide the organization’s mission today. The foundation seeks to engender greater civic participation and understanding, to facilitate bipartisan dialogue, and to foster commonsense solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems by convening the greatest minds in American public life for high-level discussions on the public policy challenges of the day. Learn more at

About the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. Learn more at

About CBS News
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