Presiding over the Senate is a task that is delegated to junior senators, and often involves long days of sitting around doing nothing. It allows senior senators to spend time behind closed doors negotiating deals and crafting legislation.
As the session began at 2 p.m. Monday, Reid was the only senator in the chamber, meaning he had to take the chair, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and then wait for a junior senator to arrive, the Washington Times reported. At one point, Reid even made a procedural motion in his role as senator before then approving it as the Senate's presiding officer, the paper reported.
Blumenthal arrived at about 2:05 p.m. and took the chair, but not before getting an earful from Reid. According to the Times, Reid scolded Blumenthal, "You can't do this," he said as Blumenthal took the chair. "I need you here."
A spokesperson for Blumenthal said the Senator was speaking with the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, which caused him to be a few minutes late to the Senate floor.