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Senate Reorganization

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I would say to my good friend, the Democratic leader, I was one of those five Republican Members who were appointed by Senator Lott to discuss with you how we would go forward in the wake of Senator Jeffords' decision to leave us and to come over to your side. Your recollection is entirely correct. The reason for the delay was a discussion of how to handle the judges and the whole blue slip policy.

But on the issue of staffing, my recollection is the reason we had almost no discussion of that is that we didn't want to, in the middle of a Congress, disrupt the lives of a number of staff members on both sides who had signed on for 2 years. I think we all believed this was such an extraordinary circumstance, we didn't want to be sending out pink slips a mere 5 or 6 months into a new Congress since a lot of people had been hired for the Congress and were depending on this for a livelihood.

So my recollection of the reason we spent little or no time talking about changing the staffing was the compassionate decision, bipartisan compassionate decision, not to disrupt the lives of a great many members. I had no recollection that we discussed this to be sort of a permanent notion about how we would handle a 51-49 Senate at the beginning of a Congress. I have no recollection of that.

I just thought I would add my own thoughts to the Democratic leader's, having been a part of that discussion.

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