The White House's new Senate liaison is an old familiar face around the chamber, and someone who really knows how the trains run.
Martin P. Paone will join the Obama administration as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs, a White House official confirmed Friday afternoon.
Paone ran the Senate's floor operations for the Democrats as their party secretary from 1995-2008, and in a 32-year tenure on Capitol Hill, spent 29 of them on the floor. That meant he was involved in many of the chamber's most memorable moments, including the 1988 incident when Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, D-Wva., went through the procedural maneuvers to compel attendance that led to the arrest of Oregon Republican Bob Packwood.
That incident was recalled in the second season of the Netflix drama "House of Cards" in an episode on which Paone himself was a consultant.
A White House official who confirmed the news of the Paone hire, after a Politico report , said that Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Katie Beirne Fallon, herself a former longtime Senate aide, was behind the decision to recruit him for the post.
"Marty was the first person to come to mind in thinking about who could pick up where the whip-smart, highly effective Anne Wall left off. Very few people know the Senate better than Marty, and he will be instrumental in helping the White House navigate complex procedural issues and pave the way for big ticket bipartisan legislation in the next Congress," Beirne Fallon said in a statement. "We are thrilled to have him on the team."
Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority leader in the new Congress, praised the hire in a statement. He also expressed his admiration for Beirne Fallon.
"Marty's hiring is further proof that Katie Fallon is doing a tremendous job as head of White House Legislative Affairs. Every member of this chamber is fortunate to have her in this position," Reid said. "I also want to express my admiration for Anne Wall. Anne has been a trusted partner for us over the years. I have enormous respect for her wisdom and look forward to working with her in the future."
A spokesman for incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also praised Paone in a statement.
“Marty is a well seasoned Senate hand with good relationships across the aisle," the spokesman said.
Wall is moving over to the Treasury Department ahead of nomination in the next Congress as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Legislative Affairs, according to the White House.
Paone, worked under Senate Democratic leaders through the beginning of the tenure of the current occupant of the office, Reid. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, he became a fixture on Roll Call's "Fabulous Fifty" list of staffers. He's most recently been lobbying as executive vice president at Prime Policy Group.
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