ABC News – Why Roger Wicker proposed meeting on nuclear option in Old Senate Chamber

It was no accident Thursday when Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., proposed that the Senate meet to discuss a controversial change to filibuster rules in a room that has a history of both great bipartisanship and fierce party division: the Old Senate Chamber.

“There’s a solemness to the history of that room, where so many momentous decisions were made that I think at least will give us a perspective that what we do this week has a lasting impact on history,” Wicker told ABC News in an interview today hours before the meeting of the full Senate was set to take place.

The Senate will hold a private meeting in the chamber to discuss Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s threat of the so-called “nuclear option”, which would change the rules for Senate votes on President Obama’s executive branch nominees, a move that Republicans have warned could backfire.

In the interview, Wicker said he was “hopeful that, once again, an accommodation can be reached” — as it was before.
And the Old Senate Chamber might, indeed, be the right setting for compromise.

Although “used primarily as a museum” now, according to Mary Baumann of the U.S. Senate Historical Office, the chamber was home to the U.S. Senate until 1859 and has since been the site for several bipartisan meetings.

ABC News
7/15/13