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Senator bolts from chamber after shouting, 'I just violated the rules'

Published: Thursday April 27, 2006

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Before bolting from the Senate chamber, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) shouted at Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR,) "I just violated the rules!"

Domenici had interrupted Wyden's introduction of an amendment under the pretense that he was attempting to ask a question. Rather, he blasted the Senator's plan, after doing so announcing, "I just violated the rules! I didn't ask a question, I gave a speech. I hope you listened."

Wyden had been on the Senate floor for nearly five hours. Under Senate rules, a lawmaker can push a vote on his or her amendment so long as they can stand on the floor.

The Wyden amendment would eliminate royalty relief subsidies for drilling on government land if oil prices exceed $55 per barrel. He has argued that the program was implemented when oil was priced at under $20 per barrel, and have since come to exceed $75 per barrel. President Bush has gone on record stating that these particular subsidies were no longer necessary.

Domenici argues that eliminating the subsidies won't save tax payers any money. Wyden claims independent audits say it could save taxpayers billions.

Republicans have so far indicated that they would block efforts to bring the amendment to a vote. Wyden has called this a signal of their intent to maintain the subsidy program.

After Wyden finally yielded the floor, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) turned the topic of discussion to subsidies given to the sea food industry in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.