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Reid Recalls Parliamentarian’s Time in Senate

CQ Roll Call File Photo
Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin (center) retired today.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) addressed the retirement of Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin on the Senate floor today.

Frumin, who served as parliamentarian from 1987 to 1995 and took the title again in 2001, will be stepping down today. His replacement, Senior Assistant Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, is the first woman to hold the job, which she will start on Wednesday.

Reid began by recounting Frumin’s time as a Senate-celebrity during the 2010 health care debate, when the parliamentarian had the potential to stall the Senate’s health care bill on its way to the White House by ruling on what is permissible in budget reconciliation bills.

“But despite the pressure, despite the national spotlight,” Reid said, “Mr. Frumin remained calm and professional through what must have been one of the most intense moments of his career.”

In his remarks, Reid also mentioned Frumin’s history of impartiality, an aspect Reid said is crucial to the job.

“One cannot be an effective parliamentarian without being fair-minded and judicious,” he said. “But Alan Frumin also brings to the job a willingness to hear both sides of an argument and consider every side of an issue.”

Reid welcomed MacDonough to the position of Senate Parliamentarian and noted that she will be the sixth person and the first woman to hold the title.

“So I am pleased that the talented Elizabeth MacDonough, who has worked for Alan for a decade, will succeed him. ... And she steps into very large shoes,” he said.

Reid concluded his remarks by thanking Frumin for his service and noting that he will continue to edit “Riddick’s Senate Procedure,” the book that details the rules governing the Senate.

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