By Bridget Bowman
When the Senate reconvened Tuesday after a major winter snow storm, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski noticed something a bit unusual.
“You look around the chamber and the presiding officer is female, all of our parlamentarians are female, our floor managers are female, all of our pages our female,” Murkowski said, opening the Senate session as Maine Republican Susan Collins sat in the presiding officer’s chair.
“Now, this was not orchestrated in any way, shape, or form. We came in this morning, looked around and thought, something is different this morning. Different in a good way, I might add,” Murkowski continued. “But something is genuinely different, and I think it’s genuinely fabulous. So perhaps it just speaks to the heartiness of women, that you put on your boots and put your hat on and get out, slog through the mess that is out there.”
The Senate convened for a short session on Tuesday and is set on Wednesday to take up Murkowski’s “Energy Policy Modernization Act,” a bipartisan bill she introduced along with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
Senators, male and female, are continuing to make their way back to the nation’s capital following the major winter storm. The National Weather Service documented nearly 18 inches of snow in the area, thought that measurement has been called into question.
Although the Capitol campus was cleared of snow on Monday, the Capitol Visitor Center remained closed Tuesday, and all Capitol tours were cancelled. Other federal offices throughout D.C. remained closed, though the District government was open.
Judging by their social media posts throughout the storm, Collins and Murkowski were among the senators who weathered out the storm in D.C. rather than returning home for the weekend.
“Stuck in DC due to blizzard,” Collins tweeted on Jan. 23, along with a picture of her shoveling. “A real storm. Tough for DC to handle; Maine could!”
Murkowski was also active on social media, tweeting pictures of empty grocery store shelves and residents sledding on Capitol Hill.
“I don’t know about you all, but I spent a good portion of my weekend shoveling,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor. “I feel stronger today, but I’m ready to get back to work where it’s a little less rigorous.”
Murkowski noted that both she and Collins were from states that are used to handling a good amount of snowfall, calling Alaska and Maine “bookends of the country, arctic states, if you will.”
But, Murkowski later added that D.C. actually received as much snow as her hometown of Anchorage has received all winter long.