The AP reports:
New Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s determination to run the chamber more efficiently earned him a rebuke today (Wednesday) from former Majority Leader Robert Byrd.
The 89-year-old Byrd was upset that a vote on an amendment was cut off before he reached the Senate floor. The West Virginia Democrat who often walks with the aid of two canes says it would have been the 17-thousand-780th vote of his career. He says he had not missed a vote since last March, shortly after his wife of 68 years died.
Reid had reminded senators on Monday that he no longer was going to tolerate having votes run far past the usual 15-minutes with a five-minute extension. He says he’s noticed over the years how much time is wasted waiting for senators to show up for votes.
Byrd says his staff had informed the cloakroom that he was in the building but he says the Senate leadership “arbitrarily closed the vote” before he could get to the floor. Byrd says the Senate never was intended to be an efficient body. He says that is not the way legislation is done in a place like the U.S. Congress.