Tempers flare

The first sentence in a story I’ve written about the lengthy debate in the Iowa House over the past two days begins with the phrase "tempers flare."  Just in case you doubt it, here’s two minutes of audio in an.mp3 from the House debate shortly before noon today (Friday).  In it, you hear Representative Phil Wise, a Democrat from Keokuk, call upon Representatifve Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City.  Mascher complains about a guest who is on the House floor during debate.  The man — a member of the Sioux City school board — is a guest of House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City.  Mascher’s desk is right next to the desk Rants uses on the House floor.  You can hear the two (Mascher & Rants) quibbling yourself by clicking on the audio link.

The bill has sort of passed the House by now, but it won’t be sent to the Senate for debate until after five o’clock this Thursday afternoon.  Senate Republicans are prepared for a similar blitz.  "It’s going to e a long weekend," a Senate GOP staffer said as I walked by him in the hallway.

Republicans in the House engaged in a series of stalling tactics over the past two days.  One involved a "caucus" — a private meeting of House Republicans — sometime early this afternoon.  As the meeting broke up, I ended up riding in a statehouse elevator with a group of Republicans headed from their basement meeting room back up to the House chamber on the capitol’s second floor.  There was much ribbing and joking among the Republicans, some of it about crowding onto the elevator with a reporter.

"You’d never guess a bunch of people who just got their asses kicked would be joking around like this," said one GOP lawmaker in the group as they emerged from the elevator.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.