Senate delays vote as DC hit by snowstorm

Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Senate delayed its first vote of the year as a snowstorm hit Washington, D.C., on Monday, sparking flight cancellations and tricky traveling weather.

The Senate had been scheduled to vote on Monday at 5:30 p.m. on Gabriel Sanchez’s nomination to be a judge for the 9th Circuit, marking the Senate’s first vote of the year.

Instead, the Senate briefly convened on Monday, with only Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) present, and punted the vote until Tuesday.

Leahy, speaking from the Senate floor, quipped about the unplowed roads around Washington, D.C. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang estimated that five to 10 inches had fallen around the area as of early Monday afternoon. 

“Apparently to a number of groups around this area, it came as a surprise that it was snowing and that snow can be slippery and probably should have gotten some plows out. Maybe they will, if not we can hope for several days of warm sunshine, which is the best snow remover down here,” Leahy said.

Leahy added that in Vermont and Wisconsin, where Baldwin is from, “we usually go out and clear the roads. But I appreciate those few who are out there doing it.”

The Senate is expected to reconvene on Tuesday, when Democrats will meet for the first time as a caucus since Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) warned that he wouldn’t vote for a roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending bill, known as Build Back Better, that passed the House last year.

Democrats are also continuing talks on potential changes to the Senate rules. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed to hold a vote on potential changes to the filibuster by Jan. 17 if Republicans block voting rights legislation. To change the rules, Schumer would need total unity from his caucus, something he doesn’t yet have.

The Senate’s delay of its first vote of the week comes as the House is out of session this week, though lawmakers will hold events on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The Office of Personnel Management announced on Sunday evening that all federal offices in Washington, D.C., would be closed on Monday due to the snow, and the White House canceled its daily press briefing.

Tags Chuck Schumer Joe Manchin Patrick Leahy Tammy Baldwin

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