The cliché When a bipartisan group of senators revived this week with a plan to save the United States from default (and thus, the world from implosion) it put the phrase "Gang of Six" back into heavy rotation. Indeed, in the last few years, terming a bipartisan group of compromising senators a "gang" has become such a predictable reflex that David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post concluded in May that "The U.S. Senate has a gang problem."
Where it's from In the past few years, bipartisan senate gangs of 6, 10, and 20 have united to solve legislative stand-offs. The idea seems to have originated in 2005, when the "Gang of 14" joined forces to avoid a Democratic filibuster of federal judge nominees. It is hard to track down just who in the media first referred to the group as the "gang," but within a few days of their proposed solution, the name was used in nearly every report on the compromise and taken up by senators both in and out of the gang. Norm Ornstein, a longtime observer of Congress at the American Enterprise Institute, says the name "almost certainly" made reference to the "Gang of Four," a committee of Chinese Communist leaders who directed the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s alongside Mao Zedong.