By EMMA BROWN
It was a big week for Dianne. As chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, she not only had to act as master of ceremonies in front of a frighteningly large crowd at Obama’s swearing-in (“future generations will mark this moment as the point of real and necessary of change,” she said to applause). She also had to deal with the day’s luncheon menu and more than 240,000 inaugural-ceremony ticketholders, several thousand of whom (mostly purple-ticket holders) were herded by police into DC’s Third Street Tunnel and then left to rot for hours in what has become known as the Purple Tunnel of Doom. The Forgotten Ones, who missed the historic inauguration, were understandably angry. Dianne apologized and promised an investigation.
With the start of the new Congress, Dianne assumed the helm of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee and left her post as chair of the Rules committee, though she remains a member of that body. She also sits on the Judiciary and Appropriations committees. As Intelligence Committee chair, she is running the confirmation hearings for Obama’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. And she’s continuing to make trouble among her Democratic colleagues, criticizing Obama’s nominee for head of the CIA (Leon Panetta) as too inexperienced in intelligence and backing Roland Burris’s claim on Obama’s former Senate seat.
Date: January 21, 2009
At issue: Should Hillary be the next Secretary of State?
Dianne’s vote: Yep.
Senate’s vote: 94-2 in favor.
Date: January 22, 2009
At issue: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, or: Should a Supreme Court decision be overturned to make it easier for women to sue for unequal pay?
Dianne’s vote: Yep.
Senate’s vote: 61-36 in favor.
Now: The bill goes back to the House, where it has already been passed, for final consideration with a few amendments. Look for it on Obama’s desk soon.