Political Theater: Disappearing votes in the US Senate

Well I guess that it never happened.

WASHINGTON — A brawl over presidential pardons punctured the normally courtly ambiance of the Senate on Thursday night, but Republicans and Democrats agreed to bury the hatchet and erase the evidence before the sun rose Friday. . . .

Democrats retaliated with their own partisan salvo, the Libby pardon resolution.

"Regrettably, if you are going to shoot this way, we have to shoot that way," Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said as he brought up the "sense of the Senate" measure.

What followed was a scene more commonly witnessed on the other side of the Capitol in the more raucous House. As senators hooted and brayed amid calls of "Regular order!", Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. pointedly noted that it's against Senate rules to call an amendment politically motivated.

After Salazar's amendment failed, Republicans took their turn, offering a nonbinding resolution deploring the actions of Bill Clinton for issuing pardons to the likes of his half brother Roger, and clemency for members of a Puerto Rican nationalist group blamed for bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.

"If the Senate has decided to go into debating the appropriateness of future pardons, there is plenty of material to go around on past pardons," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader.

Before that could happen, though, the two leaders cut a deal to defuse the tension. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. said his side would take back their Libby amendment — including zapping the vote from the record — if McConnell took back his Clinton swipe. . . . .



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