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WASHINGTON INSIGHT

April 05, 1993|PAUL HOUSTON and WILLIAM J. EATON

CHAIR WARS: The Senate is seized with partisan squabbles over routine matters. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) protested at length that he was on his feet first when the chair, rookie Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), recognized Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) instead. McCain even offered to produce videotapes to prove his case, but Byrd, a rules wizard, reminded him that the chair's decisions on this matter are final. . . . When Republicans asked for unanimous consent to extend debate for 10 minutes on a Social Security issue, first-term Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) did the unusual: She objected while she was in the presiding officer's seat. When Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) hotly protested, Feinstein noted that any senator can object, adding with a smile: "That is the way it is." A flustered Mack uttered: "I thank the chair."

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