(WASHINGTON) — At least Congress can decide on two things: baseball and hot dogs.
America’s leaders and staffers took a break Wednesday to enjoy an annual hot dog lunch hosted by the American Meat Institute. The event featured five vendors, who served over a thousand guests, and baseball hall of famers Steve Carlton, Ken Griffey Sr. and Cecil Cooper, who met fans and signed autographs.
“There’s nothing more quintessential America than a hot dog and a beer or a coke at the baseball game,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.
The congressman, who serves on the Committee of Agriculture, said Wednesday was a great opportunity for Washington to recognize the good work of the American beef industry.
The vendors, which included Dietz and Watson, Hillshire Brands, Hormel Foods Corporation, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods, served pork and beef hot dogs and Polish sausage with a range of condiments.
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., who attended the lunch with his grandson, said he loved Wednesday’s spread.
“We had the corn dog and one of the hot dogs, the chili, the jalapeños — the whole catastrophe,” he said.
For Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., it was all about the baseball.
“Baseball is America,” said the congressman, who just last week threw out the opening pitch at a minor league game in Brooklyn, New York. “I’ve been a baseball fan my whole life. To me, I’m sort of going back 60 years in time right now.”
King got autographs from the hall of famers for his grandson and was most thrilled to meet Carlton, a man he says “had all the ability that I never had and wanted to have.”
In the midst of a divided Congress and a growing list of issues to address before the August recess, Wednesday’s event offered a brief respite from bipartisan tensions.
“It really lightens up what’s going on down here,” King said. Moments later, he even got “photo-bombed by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., during his interview with ABC News.
Former first baseman Cecil Cooper said he couldn’t believe how many Congressmen wanted his autograph.
“It’s great to have people remember you, remember the days when you played,” he said.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., who plays on the congressional baseball team, said Wednesday’s event brought him back to his childhood days of watching these hall of famers play.
“We’re all still kids when it comes to baseball,” Fleischmann said. “It’s the great American sport, always has been, always will be.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Evan Perez, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN
Chris Isidore, CNN