This afternoon, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) spoke for 10 minutes on the Senate floor about a health care amendment he is co-sponsoring. After his 10 minutes expired, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) — the president chair of the Senate at the time — informed Lieberman his time was up. When Lieberman requested “just an additional moment,” Franken retorted, “In my capacity as Senator from Minnesota, I object.” “Really??” a surprised Lieberman said, “don’t take it personally.” Lieberman’s friend, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), flipped out, erupting in anger at Franken’s move:
MCCAIN: I’ve never seen a member denied an extra minute or so, as the chair just did.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): If the chair would yield for that…I think the same thing did occur earlier this afternoon, for reasons which have to do with trying to get this bill going. […]
MCCAIN: I think it harms the comity of the Senate.
A Senate staffer tells ThinkProgress that the reason Franken cut off Lieberman is because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office has been asking all presiding chairs to enforce the 10-minute rule for both sides. Franken was simply following the direction of leadership.