Bring Out the Cots. The Senate Is Throwing a Slumber Party.

‘Twas the night of voting, when all through the halls, not a creature was stirring, not even the Udalls.

Cots in the Strom Thurmond Room for Republican senators discussing judicial nominees and the use of a filibuster with Democrats May 23, 2005.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Dec. 11, 2013, 12:58 p.m.

It’s go­ing to be a late night for sen­at­ors on Cap­it­ol Hill. But worry not: Just a few feet away in the Old Sen­ate Cham­ber, there’ll be cots for the law­makers to rest.

Break­ing out the cots is a rare oc­cur­rence, but they’re al­ways avail­able for the tired le­gis­lat­or. On Wed­nes­day, sen­at­ors are ex­pec­ted to be up un­til the wee hours of the night, de­bat­ing and vot­ing on pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ees.

“We haven’t seen this in a while,” one Sen­ate His­tor­ic­al Of­fice staffer said. In fact, the of­fice has doc­u­mented the “all-night ses­sions” since 1915, ran­ging from de­bates on the Sug­ar Act of 1960 to the debt lim­it in 1981.

The keep­er of the cots, the Sen­ate ser­geant at arms, co­ordin­ates with Cap­it­ol Fa­cil­it­ies, which stores the cots and sets up prop­er nap­ping areas when sen­at­ors need it.

Cots are lined up on Ju­ly 17, 2007, dur­ing an all-night de­bate be­fore vot­ing on an amend­ment to the de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Im­ages)Here are some of the times they’ve been used:

From The Wash­ing­ton Post in 1977 dur­ing the de­bate of the Nat­ur­al Gas Policy Act:

Not since the fight over the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when cots were set up in the old Su­preme Court cham­ber near the Sen­ate floor, has the Sen­ate sat up all night to try to break a fili­buster.”

The next day, the news­pa­per re­por­ted:

In con­trast to these lonely de­bates, bells dom­in­ated this one, sum­mon­ing sen­at­ors from their naps on nearby cots and couches for a steady suc­ces­sion of roll calls. All but 12 of the Sen­ate’s 100 mem­bers answered to their names at a 2:15 a.m. read­ing of the roster. Eighty-six of them showed up at an­oth­er roll call an hour later. Many of the sen­at­ors were seeth­ing.

Read­ing like a line from a chil­dren’s book, The Post doc­u­ment an­oth­er time the cots were pulled out in 1982 for the budget:

Not far away, Demo­crats napped. Signs on the Mike Mans­field Room, where cots had been in­stalled, al­lowed “sen­at­ors only.”

So, no mat­ter how late the sen­at­ors stay up, they’ll al­ways have a place to rest their heads when de­bat­ing gets too tire­some.

Brian Resnick contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
13 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×