As Washington tried to dig itself out from the weekend blizzard, two senators from states familiar with heavy snow – Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski – made the trek to the U.S. Capitol and briefly ran the show on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Collins was serving as the presiding officer Tuesday while Murkowski handled the limited action on the floor, which mostly involved shuffling paperwork in order to postpone work on an energy bill and other issues until the full Senate was back in session Wednesday.

The fact that two snow-state senators were the only ones in the chamber wasn’t lost on either one of them.

“We are hardy, we know how to deal with snow, and we don’t let a blizzard stop us from doing our jobs,” Collins said Wednesday in a statement while pointing out that all but one of her staffers also came to work. “Many of them spent the whole weekend shoveling as I did, many of them had to walk long distances, take public transportation, get up extra early, but they were here to serve the people of Maine and the country.”

During remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, Murkowski acknowledged the difficulty of getting around the nation’s capital after 20 inches or more fell during the blizzard.

“I think it is worth noting, however, that the presiding officer, the senator from Maine, and myself, the senator from Alaska, both kind of the bookends of the country, Arctic states if you will … are here braving the elements,” Murkowski said.


The two senators also noted that nearly all the people in the Senate chamber at the time – including parliamentarians, Senate pages and other staffers – were women.

“Perhaps it just speaks to the hardiness of women that you put on your boots, put your hat on and get out and slog through the mess that is out there,” Murkowski said.

Earlier in the weekend, Collins had posted a picture of herself on Twitter and on Facebook shoveling snow outside her townhouse not far from the Capitol building. She also tweeted: “Stuck in DC due to blizzard. A real storm. Tough for DC to handle; Maine could!”


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