Motion on Stimulus Invoice Halts as Senate Clerks Learn All 628 Pages Aloud

Requested when the method would finish, Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, noticed, “I feel that we’re only a captive of the time right here.”

Setting a brisk, modulated tempo, Mr. Merlino and a small cluster of colleagues launched into the studying marathon at 3:21 p.m., paging via the hefty stack of textual content. (For comparability, the sixth guide within the Harry Potter sequence clocks in at 652 pages.)

Typically passing a small lectern backwards and forwards throughout the dais, they sped via reciting the textual content to a largely empty chamber, talking to a diligent carousel of stenographers, flooring employees, the Democrat presiding within the chamber and Mr. Johnson, who needed to stay on the ground — or discover a like-minded Republican to spell him to forestall Democrats from stopping the method and transferring on.

By 7:21 p.m., the group had reached web page 219.

It was unclear what precedent there was for studying aloud such a considerable piece of laws, in line with the workplace of the Senate historian, because the Congressional Report doesn’t point out how a lot time is spent on the studying of payments.

The Senate has supplied funds to make use of at the least one clerk since 1789, with near a dozen folks now sharing the duty of recording the minutes of the Senate, studying laws, calling the roll and different procedural duties.

“The positions are throwbacks to the times earlier than Xerox machines and the prepared availability of arduous copies, or now digital copies of laws,” stated Paul Hays, who served because the studying clerk within the Home for practically twenty years within the 1990s. “It’s important to attempt to obtain a stability between sounding such as you’re a robotic and sounding such as you’re an advocate.”

Having learn every little thing from the impeachment decision towards former President Invoice Clinton to a prolonged presidential message from former President Ronald Reagan that took about 35 minutes, Mr. Hays acknowledged {that a} straight studying was maybe not conducive to full comprehension.

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