Harry Reid tells senators ‘sit down and shut up’

August 1, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks at the center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2013. Reid spoke about ending the current gridlock in the Senate that according to him is harming the nation's ability to address key challenges. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid  shown  July 15. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is known to have a bit of a mouth, and it showed Thursday on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Moments before failing to advance a transportation spending measure, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were attempting to make some final statements, but their colleagues were in a chatty mood and speaking at a level that made it difficult to hear the two senators from their podiums.

Murray then asked Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who was presiding over the Senate, to bring the chamber into order.

"The Senate is not in order," Murray said to Baldwin.

Baldwin agreed, repeating: "The Senate is not in order."

As presiding officer, Baldwin was supposed to say, "The Senate will be in order"  to quiet other senators. As she began to say "The Senate will be in order," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) shot up from his seat.

"Madam president, have everyone sit down and shut up. It's unfair," Reid said. "Sen. Collins has something to say, it's just not polite."

Baldwin repeated: "The Senate is not in order."

With that, most senators took their seats and listened, some left the chamber to keep talking, while others sat in seats and continued whispering to each other.

Ultimately, the Senate voted 54 to 43 on the motion to end debate on the transportation spending bill, falling six votes short of the 60 votes required.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Ed O'Keefe · August 1, 2013