Leahy was not satisfied.
“Is the senator saying we are setting the right example by passing a bill which on the face of it violates the Constitution, but it's OK unless someone challenges it?” he asked.
Most of Boxer’s arguments centered on the inherent unfairness of some government employees losing compensation while politicians, who could prevent the shutdown, still received pay.
“We don't think its fair to treat people different from others,” Boxer said.
Leahy said he agreed, but suggested that such unfairness did not warrant a violation of the Constitution.
At times, the exchange became snappy.
“In this case you go against Article 2 by decreasing the president’s salary,” Leahy insisted.
“No, we do not,” Boxer replied.
“Of course you do,” Leahy said.
At one point, Boxer said she felt Leahy was dominating the conversation.
“Can you let me talk?” she asked. “You had a turn. Now I have a turn. I don’t have the legal degree my friend has.”
Boxer's amendment ended up passing the Senate by unanimous consent after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) dropped an objection he had voiced earlier in the day.