It probably won’t be much of a surprise outside the Beltway. But trying to get senators to pose for their annual official photograph almost took an act of Congress.
Senators had a 15-minute gap between caucus lunches and a 2:30 p.m. vote on Tuesday for the shot.
Republicans flooded into the Senate chamber at 2:10 p.m., photo-ready and in their assigned desks.
And why not? The photograph is taken from the perspective of the majority, so the camera was placed in the top back right corner of the room.
By 2:15 p.m., Democrats slowly filtered in but Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Patty Murray of Washington, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and Charles E. Schumer of New York, among others, were still missing.
“Photoshop them in!” came a cry from the Republican side. “Photoshop them in!”
Across the aisle, even Maryland Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski agreed.
Eventually, Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal walked into the chamber from the right side and received a slow clap from Republicans. He had a big smile on his face and bright red cheeks.
Cloakroom staff left the chamber to track down the remaining Democrats. One senator decided that she needed to help as well. So Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar went on a mission to drag in her colleagues.
Among the missing: the Democratic leadership team, which apparently was in no hurry to leave a press conference.
Schumer walked in, then looked out the main doors’ windows to ensure his colleagues were coming.
Maine Republican Susan Collins seemed to be scorning Schumer from her desk while Reid and Murray finally took their places.
Bernie Sanders, who apparently won’t be headed for the White House, also won’t be in the photograph. The Vermont independent was on the Hill Tuesday, but was a no-show for the photograph session.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. who serves as president of the Senate and was a senator for decades, was not able to make his last official photograph with his colleagues.
Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch, the president pro tempore of the Senate, sat in Biden’s chair instead. Senate pages, cloakroom staff and members of the press sat in the press balcony.
Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Lankford’s chair remained open, right next to Georgia Republican David Perdue.
“Sen. Perdue, can you move a little to the left?” the photographer yelled from the balcony to laughter from other senators.
Perdue is known for favoring the right. The far right.
Perdue chose to stay put.