Lawmakers, the saying goes, are either workhorses or show horses. As they debated the economic stimulus package yesterday, senators took this truism a step further: The workhorses and the show horses split into rival herds and began whinnying at each other.
The workhorses -- an ad hoc group of 18 moderates and dealmakers from both parties -- holed up in a committee room on the third floor of the Dirksen Building, tossed out their staff and got to work on a compromise plan that could get bipartisan support.
The workhorses, taking a lunch break so some of them could confer with the White House about the compromise, were pleased with their labors.
The show horses -- including the leadership of both parties -- gave speeches on the Senate floor and news conferences either to trade blame for partisan deadlock or to denounce the Group of 18's dealmaking efforts.
"It is unusual to think of senators actually doing that kind of painstaking, thorough work," said Susan Collins (Maine), leader of the Republican workhorses.
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