“If you are chairing the event, you have a chance to curry favor,” former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who was Rules Committee chairman at the time of former President George W. Bush’s second inaugural in 2005, previously told The Hill.
Schumer was quick to note the significance of the role he and the committee are tasked with, calling Wednesday’s organizational meeting “the first step in the creation of a quintessential American moment.
Schumer added that this would be the seventh time in history the inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday and so it will be shifted to the next day. It is also only the second time the ceremony date has fallen on the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
Schumer was also quick to highlight the bipartisan nature of the committee’s work.
“As we begin planning, we have no notion of whether we will swear in President Obama for a second term or whether we will swear in a new American president,” he said. “That doesn’t matter. Our charge is to work together to create an inauguration day that is free of partisanship and celebrates peaceful transfer of power. This has been the joint committee’s responsibility every four years since 1901 when Congress formed the first such joint committee.”
But even such a longstanding and high-profile committee is not free from budget cuts that have swept through the federal government.
Schumer said that while the committee had an appropriated budget of $1.2 million, it was still $3,000 less than in 2009 and $13,000 less than in 2005.
After Wednesday’s organizational meeting, the next gathering of the JCCIC will be in the fall to formerly initiate the construction of the inauguration ceremony platform, Schumer concluded.