Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus today voted against historic changes to the chambers rules that will allow 23 Republicans and two Democratic senators to form a majority that controls Senate committees and floor activity.
"I certainly do not see these as any cause for celebration. I've been here for some time now and I've never seen anything like this," said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles. "What we are seeing here is form over substance, talk of bipartisanship over true bipartisanship."
Democrats, in turn, proposed a system that would have equally divided leadership of all Senate committees, but the proposal was rejected.
“’Coalition’ means entering into an agreement with people different than yourselves, but 24 of us were not invited into those discussions. That’s not bipartisanship,” said Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray.
He and other Democrats said they hoped the new structure could yet be made to work in order to pass legislation dealing with job creation, education funding and other priorities.
“I don’t think we’re off to a great start, because we didn’t negotiate the rules; we didn't have that communication. But the proof will be in the pudding,” said Sen. Jim Hargrove.