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.