Asked when this process would end, Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana said, “I think we’re a captive of time here.”
Fast, restrained pace, setting up a small group of Mr. Merlino and colleagues, began reading the marathon at 3:21 a.m. paging through the afternoon stack of lessons. (For comparison, Harry Potter sees the sixth book of the series in 652 pages.)
Occasionally passing a small lecture back and forth, they read the text in a largely empty chamber, with the stenographers, floor staff, Democrats in the room, and Mr. Johnson, who lived. Used to talk to a hardworking carousel. On the floor – or find a like-minded Republican to like him to stop the process and stop the Democrats from moving forward.
By 7:21 pm, the group had reached 219 pages.
It was unclear what precedent was required to read such an adequate piece of legislation, according to the Senate historian’s office, because the congressional record does not indicate how long it takes to read the bills.
The Senate has provided funds to employ at least one clerk since 1789, with about a dozen people now sharing responsibility for recording Senate minutes, reading legislation, calling rolls and other procedural duties.
“The Xerox machines are thrown away days before the ready availability of machines and hard copies, or now digital copies of the law,” said Paul Hayes, who worked as a reading clerk in the House for nearly two decades in the 1990s. “You have to try to strike a balance between feeling like you’re a robot and you’re a lawyer.”
After reading everything from former President Ronald Reagan’s message of a lengthy presidential impeachment motion against former President Bill Clinton that took 35 minutes, Mr. Hays admitted that a straightforward reading was probably not compatible with full understanding.