Seasonally inspired Senators traded partisanship for goodwill last night during the chamber’s inaugural Secret Santa exchange. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) convinced 60-plus lawmakers to join him in the holiday gift swap, which turned out to have an artificial cap of $10 per present.
Among the booty:
• Wyoming Republican John Barrasso scored a $20 gift certificate for Barnes & Noble. “There’s a $10 limit — I got a $20 gift certificate,” Barrasso marveled.
“What about reining in our budgetary spending?” our HOH spy inquired. “Well, remember who gave it to me ...” Barrasso said, suggesting it was a Democrat.
• New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen netted a Michael Smith CD (Tennessee musician) from Tennessee Republican Bob Corker.
• Alabama Republican Richard Shelby received maple syrup from Spring Harvest Maple Farm from Shaheen.
• North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad walked off with a “Texas Border Patrol” trucker cap courtesy of Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. The new lid was part of an ongoing joke between Conrad and the one-time Texas gubernatorial hopeful (he’d volunteered to help her with tighter border security if she had won that race; Hutchison’s gift came with a note stating, “Keeping my promises”).
• West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin was bequeathed a six-pack of craft beer and a sock filled with actual lumps of coal from Colorado Democrat Mark Udall.
• Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns can spice up his life with the bottle of Anchor Bar buffalo wing sauce shared by New York Democrat Charles Schumer.
• West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller immediately indulged in the gourmet chocolates furnished by Indiana Republican Dick Lugar. “I started four days ago a 25-pound, crash Marine diet. Richard Lugar has given me 50,000 calories of all of my favorite chocolate,” Rockefeller said of the untimely temptation.
• Schumer was the beneficiary of hand-carved donkey and elephant figurines from Manchin.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.