Today’s Weirdest Impeachment Revelation: Senators Are Only Allowed to Drink Water or … Milk?

A glass of milk being poured.

As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial unfolds, there’s going to be a lot of retreading old ground. Today, we’ve seen Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer make their opening statements, and Adam Schiff and Trump’s counsel begin their arguments. So far, it’s pretty much all stuff we’ve heard before. (Not that that makes it any less important!)

But off the Senate floor, some new tidbits about impeachment have been coming out. To be fair, most of these aren’t really new; they’re Senate rules that have been around decades, if not centuries. But there are a lot of intricacies of the workings of Capitol Hill that most of us don’t know about, and many of them, when heard for the first time, make absolutely no sense.

Like this bizarre rule:

That rule isn’t unique to this trial, or even to impeachment in general. Former Senator Claire McCaskill was on MSNBC today as a political analyst and she also talked about the beverage options on the Senate floor.

As it turns out, there are no caffeinated drinks allowed in the Senate. (I wonder if that had anything to do with McConnell’s inability to get the votes needed to have impeachment sessions lasting into the early hours the morning.)

When Senators sit down, a page asks if they want a glass of water, which can be still or sparkling, according to McCaskill. The only other option they can request is milk.

Apparently, the allowance for milk was added in 1966 after a request from Senator Everett Dirksen.

To be honest, being a Senator during an impeachment trial sounds terrible. McCaskill said on MSNBC that usually, you can go into the back room and get coffee and snacks, sometimes pizza. But during impeachment, there’s none of that. They can’t get up. They can’t even talk, under penalty of imprisonment. Definitely no pizza.

Still, at least milk is a step up from the rules in the House, where they’re not even allowed to have that much.

There are other things not allowed in the Senate besides coffee and talking. The Washingtonian published a roundup a few years ago. Here are a few things banned from the Senate: flowers, hats (but only on men), “pants without blazers,” meaning if a Senator is wearing pants, they must also be wearing a blazer. A blazer, then, isn’t necessarily required if that Senator is wearing a skirt or dress. No word on whether a blazer is required when the Senator is just going bottomless.

Also barred from the Senate floor are children over one year old. The ban used to be on babies and children in general, but Tammy Duckworth fought to change that after being the first sitting senator to give birth.

And here’s one last tidbit McCaskill shared today, when talking about the new restrictions placed on reporters during the impeachment trial:



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