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Right now, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, big shots are talking D.C. voting rights. At issue is a bill that would create a vote in the House for the District of Columbia, which, as we all know, is disenfranchised on the Hill.
1:44 pm: Sen. Joseph Lieberman enters statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch into the record. Lieberman talked about how nearly 600,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia contribute to our society in various ways but get not representation. Lieberman yields the floor. Here’s the release from Lieberman’s office.
1:47: Chamber still waiting for someone else to come forward and talk.
1:49: Still waiting—how rude!
Update 2:01: Doesn’t anyone want to come to the floor and talk about D.C. voting rights? Such apathy! That’s the problem, I say.
Update 2:02: Some liveblog this is turning out to be.
Update 2:13: There’s some fine classical piano playing on C-SPAN 2 right now. Crank it. It promises to go on as long as it takes someone to come to the Senate floor and say something, perhaps about D.C. voting rights.
Update 2:25: This liveblog is dead, apparently as dead as D.C. voting rights themselves (itself?). The classical piano on C-SPAN 2 is getting really annoying. But if I hit mute, then I won’t be able to hear if someone else comes to the floor to talk about D.C. voting rights. Talk about a Hobson’s choice. Or a dilemma. Or a Catch-22, or something along those lines.
Update 2:30: A sign of life! Talking from the Senate floor is the Hon. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. So what does this guy have to say about D.C. voting rights? Well, not much—he’s talking about the late Sen. Claiborne Pell. From Alexander, we’re learning a bit about the history of scholarships, as a way of contextualizing the contribution made by the great Pell grant.
Update 2:32: Alexander is talking about education in the United States circa World War II. How’s he going to steer this monologue toward D.C. voting rights? Stay tuned. Or, better yet, don’t!
Update 2:34: Alexander has always wondered why, if the Pell grant is a great idea for college, we don’t have a system for Kindergarten through the 12th grade. Any minute, any minute now—this guy’s going to launch into a discussion of voting rights!
Update 2:36: Alexander asks that his remarks from 2004 on “Pell grants for kids” be entered into the record of today’s Senate proceedings.
Update 2:41: With Alexander having yielded the floor, we’re back to lively classical piano riffing on C-SPAN 2. Could be Chopin.
Update 2:50: Byrd is front and center! The West Virginia Dem is talking about how he’s watched this great institution (the Senate) weather various storms, including “strife and uncertainty.” It, he says, has “served our country so well because great and courageous senators have always been willing to stay the course through thick and thin and keep the faith.” More cliches than a big-league pitcher, there.
2:52: “It has been said that this institution—meaning the United States Senate—has a life of its own.”—Sen. Robert Byrd.
2:53: More Byrd praising the great institution of the United States Senate. Great people in the Senate. List of great senators includes Byrd’s mentors—Russell, Johnson, Mansfield, among others, of course. Including Goldwater and Gramm. Howard Baker and Mark Hatfield, too.
2:55: Byrd calls Ted Kennedy “dearest friend.”
2:56: More from Byrd on Senate being a “great institution.”
2:59: In recent years, says Byrd, the chamber has become “bitterly partisan.” “If anyone thinks that I am exaggerating, I give just one example: The filibuster….”
3:08: Byrd says he’s had a “wonderful 50 years” serving in the Senate.