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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Going up, Senate style

It's bad enough to learn that among the perks the public is financing in the U.S. Senate is a senators-only elevators. They're available to speed senators to the Senate floor for votes, with attendants pushing the buttons. But somehow what The New York Times called unelected interlopers are cramping the senators' style. They have to compete for elevator space with staffers, lobbyists, reporters and, yes, tourists.

Hold the tissues. This can't really be a big public issue. "I hesitate to say that it's a big problem,'' Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said. "There is terrific crowding.'' So what! What's so wrong if senators did what everyday folk do in maneuvering around big buildings? A nearly empty elevator is an underutilized resource. That's not good use of public money.

Rubbing elbows with tourists - and maybe even talking with them - might do these senators some good. After all, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public and children once in a while are the subjects of their august deliberations. Their interaction could help guide their decisions.

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