Earlier this week, the august solons of the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill making Daylight Saving Time permanent. Regardless of what one thinks of the policy itself, how it happened is best described using the highly technical political science term, fucking joke (boldface mine):
The Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill to make daylight saving time permanent stunned many Americans, not least of which the senators themselves.
In a twist the Founding Fathers likely did not anticipate, quirky Senate conventions and a decision by staff in Sen. Tom Cotton’s office may result in an overhaul in the nation’s time zones.
Reporters and politicos were caught off guard Tuesday afternoon when the Sunshine Protection Act sailed through the Senate without issue, with no senators speaking up to object to it passing by unanimous consent. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, serving as Senate chair overseeing the motion at the time, broke composure, burst into a grin and whispered “yes!”
…Any single senator could have blocked the daylight saving bill from passing but many didn’t know it was even happening. Sen. Rick Scott, a permanent daylight saving time proponent who signed a similar bill into law when he was governor of Florida, said he would have gone to give a speech on the Senate floor if he had known. Asked to recreate his reaction to the news, Sen. Chris Coons issued a series of shocked stammers that is impossible to phonetically translate.
One Senate source with knowledge of the situation said Sen. Tom Cotton vehemently opposes making daylight saving time permanent….
The source said that Cotton would have objected to the unanimous consent request except his staff never told him it was happening…
[Sen.] Coons is one of them. He said that he and some other senators reacted to the news by asking Rubio if they’d given everyone a heads up, and were told yes.
“It’s literally an issue my staff and I had never discussed and they made an assumption that I don’t really care about daylight saving time,” said Coons. “And I don’t know if I do! I’ve never taken five minutes to stop and think about it.”
During a hotline, a senator’s legislative director typically vets the request. But sometimes those staff will decide an issue is too benign or obviously doomed to bother their boss with. “A lot of things try to get hotlined every day,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, (who, when asked if he knew the move was coming, did not explicitly answer but said, “you know, it wasn’t, like, my highest priority in the US Senate.”)
This is no way to run a country (or anything else). For better or for worse, this affects everyone. The world’s greatest non-deliberative body hard at not-work!