Senators from Md., Va. report to work in snowstorm

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), who is recovering from an accident in which her ankle was broken in multiple places, got to the Capitol at 7:30 a.m. Saturday after a treacherous two-hour drive down Interstate 95 from Baltimore.

Using a walker to traverse the snow-covered steps, she arrived in time for a key vote on a Pentagon spending bill and confessed later that her ankle and her skills behind the wheel made it impossible for her to do the driving: An aide delivered her to work.

"I would have been a public health hazard. I am not a snow driver," she said.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), also in the Baltimore area, was fortunate to have nearby a chief of staff with a farm truck.

Leaving Cardin's home at 5:30 a.m., the duo barreled around the Baltimore Beltway and onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, encountering jackknifed tractor-trailers and crawling traffic. "Literally, the truck was moving at under five miles per hour," he said. "It really was, sort of, a white-knuckle drive."

Cardin's trip took about an hour and 40 minutes.

The Democratic senators from Virginia, Mark Warner and James Webb, reported far less adventurous travels. Webb, who lives in Falls Church, used his Jeep to plow through the snow, his office said.

Aides to Warner reported an "uneventful" trek from the lawmaker's home in Alexandria, which, as far as primary residences go, is the closest of any senator to the Capitol. However, dozens of senators live within a couple of blocks of the Senate in townhouses and apartments, giving them short walks to the votes.

-- Paul Kane

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