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With Talking Stick in Hand, Moderate Senators Broke the Shutdown

WASHINGTON — The ground rules were simple: Senators wishing to voice their opinion needed to wait their turn and could speak only once they had grabbed hold of a Native American talking stick.

As their colleagues went on the airwaves or rushed to the Senate floor to noisily trade blame over a government shutdown, about two dozen centrist senators from both parties crammed for hours into the Capitol Hill office of Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, to try to chart a civil way out of what Senator Mitch McConnell had called a “box canyon.”


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