“A Day of Friction Notable Even for a Fractious Congress”


Even in a Congress where bipartisanship and comity are now officially the exceptions to the regular order, the near implosion on Capitol Hill on Thursday was notable, as both chambers erupted in a furor that went on for much of the day.

In the Senate, leaders fought bitterly over proposed changes to Senate rules that would limit the filibuster, with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, trading barbs with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, several times on the Senate floor.

“These are dark days in the history of the Senate,” Mr. McConnell said ominously, adding that the rule change suggested by Mr. Reid would lead to the Democrat’s being remembered as “the worst leader of the Senate ever.” The two men, both crafty lawmakers and once seemingly friends, seem now barely able to countenance each other’s presence.

Over in the House, Republicans — without the help of a single Democrat — passed perhaps the most partisan farm bill in recent history, stripping out the food stamp program to attract enough support from conservatives. Just passing the bill, which was prepared in the House Rules Committee in the dark of night Wednesday, proved an unusual chore as furious Democrats pulled one procedural move after another to delay the inevitable, taking turns to disparage the bill from the floor.


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