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A Sweet Summer Day in The Senate

Jamie Stiehm on

WASHINGTON -- Never in the history of the Senate have so many men and women hugged on the floor. Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin was in the middle of it all: Democrats delivering a record win.

Just think: Sept. 11 and Jan. 6 crashed into the first 21 years of the 21st century.

So, I dashed to the Capitol Sunday afternoon to see news break and history happen: a landmark bill that 50 out of 50 Senate Democrats passed on a hot, sweet summer day. I was swimming under the sun in the Georgetown pool.

Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat often seen as a spoiler, was now the life of the party.

Liberal Democrats embraced the 74-year-old after final passage. Young enough to be Manchin's son, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, gripped his shoulders and shed tears.

Up in the press gallery, we were agog at the exuberance that burst out.

 

The bill breaks records for climate crisis funds, $370 billion; lowers the cost of prescription drugs; and adds fairness to the Trump-stamped tax code.

"This is my lucky blue suit," lighthearted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters after the overnight voting session ended in triumph over the tightly organized Republicans.

"We are elated," Schumer said, remarking on the solid unity "with a caucus from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin."

The tense clash between the democratic socialist Sanders, I-Vt., and Manchin was on display through marathon votes.

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