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Joint Panel Meetings Bring Out Lighter Side

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Harper and the other members of the joint committees on the Library and Printing had some fun Tuesday when they met to organize.

Before the heads of the joint committees on the Library and Printing gaveled in the new rules and organizing principles for their panels, they agreed on the tough stuff first: Hole-in-ones are rare and Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., are among the best golfers in Congress.

Before the meeting, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., were focused on the news that Chambliss shot a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland while golfing with Corker, Udall and President Barack Obama. That led to a discussion about who was the best golfing president; the consensus seemed to be Dwight Eisenhower. Then they got down to the matter at hand.

In quick order, the Joint Committee on the Library and the Joint Committee on Printing held separate, back-to-back meetings to approve their respective committee rules and leadership.

In three voice votes, the Joint Committee on the Library approved Harper as chairman, Schumer as vice chairman and adopted committee rules nearly identical to those approved in the 112th Congress.

After the Joint Committee on the Library adjourned, while members waited for a quorum for the Joint Committee on Printing, Library Committee member Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., showed up. Upon finding out that he had missed the organizational markup, he simply said, to the delight of the room, “Great meeting.”

That prompted Schumer to reply, “Roy, this is how immigration is going to go.”

“Right,” Blunt said as he exited the room.

When the Joint Committee on Printing finally got its quorum, it got down to business. In three voice votes, the panel approved Schumer as chairman, Harper as vice chairman and approved committee rules identical to the rules adopted in the 112th Congress.

Before gaveling out, Schumer applauded the Government Printing Office’s digital publishing push and said he looked to continue that trend.

Then they all got back to joshing around.

Sen. Pat Roberts was late to the Printing meeting, showing up just after business was done.

“Would you like to say something Sen. Roberts?” Schumer asked as the Kansas Republican came into the room.

“We got to do something about the traffic,” Roberts said. “What the hell have you done?”

“The Joint Committee on Traffic will begin once the Joint Committee on Printing is finished here,” Schumer joked.

He then had Roberts sit down and read the last part of his chairman’s script.

“Thank you very much; the hearing is adjourned,” Roberts said. Then he took Schumer’s hand to bang the gavel.

And that was a wrap.

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