Senate: Hold That Vote, We Have a Party to Attend

The highway bill will have to wait; senators after all have a party to get to tonight.

Votes on the $109 billion federal highway bill has been stopped tonight in the Senate so that senators can attend the engagement party of one of their own, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

"There is a very important event tonight that does not mean much to anyone outside of the Senate family, but to us being able to recognize Susan Collins on a very special occasion in her life," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced early this evening on the Senate floor. "We're going to leave here so that people that want to go to that event can do that."

Last month, 59-year-old Senator Collins became engaged to Thomas Daffron, chief operating officer of Jefferson Consulting Group, a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. A small, private ceremony is being planned in Maine this summer.

Federal highway funds are set to expire on March 31, and for weeks the Senate has been debating over the particulars of the bill to extend funding. After more than 15 amendments, the bill inched closer to passage today. Many thought that with the bill having just a few amendments left to vote for, final passage could come tonight.

But not anymore.

With some senators attending the soiree tonight, Reid announced that they will finish the bill Wednesday.  The Senate will hold three or four more votes on amendments to complete the bill, with final passage expected after that.

That is, if the senators have no other parties to attend.

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