Campus Notebook: At Least There’s Chicken

Posted January 14, 2009 at 5:58pm

Senate staffers forced to sleep in their offices Monday night may not get a bed, but they’ll at least get dinner.

[IMGCAP(1)]Restaurant Associates is offering a boxed meal to staffers stranded in the Senate the night before President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

For $9.95, staffers can choose between two options: baked cheese cannelloni or rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Each meal comes with a slice of apple pie and soda or water, and will be available for pickup between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building’s North Servery.

Qualified staffers — those required to stay in the Senate overnight — must submit an order form by 2 p.m. Friday. They can either fax it to 202-224-1900 or bring it to room SD-BR9A.

Several Senate eateries will also be open throughout the weekend and on Inauguration Day.

The North Servery is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Cups and Co. in the Russell Senate Office Building is open on Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A Break for Scalpers. The Senate passed a bill Tuesday night that would prohibit the scalping of inauguration tickets — leaving less than a week for it to pass the House and be signed into law before President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The bill is the brainchild of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The California Democrat introduced the bill last month, after hearing reports that scalpers were selling tickets for hundreds of dollars.

But it’s probably too late. Ticket offers have appeared in recent weeks on Web sites such as Craigslist, with media outlets reporting that some are being offered by current and former Congressional staffers.

Feinstein, however, is keeping the faith, releasing a statement Wednesday urging the House to pass her bill.

“The Presidential Inauguration is one of the most important rituals of our democracy,” she said. “The chance to witness it should not be bought and sold like tickets to a sporting event. These tickets are free and they should remain free for the American people.”

The bill covers tickets to the swearing-in ceremony and excludes presidential inaugural committees, which often hand out tickets in return for donations.

Even without the bill, Feinstein has made some headway. EBay and StubHub vowed to prohibit ticket sales on their Web site weeks ago.

This week, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee reminded Congressional staffers that selling their tickets could violate federal law and Senate and House rules. About 240,000 tickets were distributed for the swearing-in ceremony, some of which went to Members.

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