A ‘talking stick’ reportedly broke the stalemate over the government shutdown by preventing senators from shouting over each other during discussions

Sens. Susan Collins and Joe Manchin

Sens. Susan Collins and Joe Manchin
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • A bipartisan group of roughly two dozen senators helped craft the funding deal to re-open the government on Monday.
  • According to members, the group used a talking stick as a tool to facilitate their meetings.
  • Only the senator holding the stick was allowed to talk, cutting down interruptions.

An odd object reportedly helped to break the stalemate over the government shutdown: a stick.

According to members of a bipartisan group of senators who helped resolve the impasse, one of the crucial pieces of getting to a deal was the use of a “talking stick” in meetings.

According to CNN, members of the group met in GOP Sen. Susan Collins’ office and passed a stick around to ensure there were no interruptions. Only the member holding the stick could speak.

The stick was relatively effective, members told CNN, but there was one incident in which a senator threw the stick at another member who was asking questions while the first spoke. The stick missed the mark and ended up damaging a glass elephant on Collins’ shelf.

Following the incident, the group switched to a rubber ball.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a member of the group, also told reporters that the group switched to a small basketball because it was easier to pass around.

The group helped forge a deal that will fund the government through February 8, extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, and delay a number of Obamacare’s taxes.

In a statement after the Senate vote on the deal, Collins applauded the work of the bipartisan group.

“Today, we saw the power of the center in the US Senate,” Collins said. “Joe [Manchin] and I worked very hard in leading the effort of the Common Sense Coalition – a group of 25 Republicans, Democrats, and Independent Angus King – which proposed the compromise to end the government shutdown.”