Tuesday morning the Senate Education Committee voted the profoundly unqualified anti-public education nominee Betsy DeVos out of committee along party lines. Her nomination will now head to the Senate for a vote. A few minutes later, the committee voted down a proposal by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray that would require nominees to submit three years worth of tax returns, also along party lines.
But before Republican chair Lamar(!) Alexander could move along to the next vote, Murray asked a simple question: What is the education committee’s rule on voting by proxy? Sen. Orrin Hatch hadn't been present for the votes, and his proxy votes were provided by Alexander. The chairman immediately gaveled the committee out of session.
With Democratic senators announcing the vote as an 11—11 tie, Alexander refused to bring the committee back into session while the hunt went on for Hatch.
it’s unlikely to have any ultimate effect, but made for a fun bit of procedural judo.