- Food and drink are prohibited on the Senate floor under the chamber’s rules, which could present a challenge to senators during the long days of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
- The only exceptions are water, milk, and candy.
- Since 1965, senators have upheld a tradition of stashing candy in a desk on the Republican side of the Senate floor. This could come in handy during the trial.
- The exact timeline for the trial is still up in the air but under the proposed rules the senators could be stuck in the chamber for up to eight hours at a time.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Senate has imposed strict rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, including barring iPhones and prohibiting talking or standing.
On top of the procedures specifically implemented for the trial, senators will continue to abide by longstanding Senate rules prohibiting food and drink on the floor.
Under these rules, only water and milk are permitted. Water is served to senators by pages, and they have the option of still or sparkling.
The rules do not specify if nondairy milk is permitted.
“Recent and current Senate practice is to allow only water on the Senate floor. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in years past senators have been allowed to bring other beverages, such as milk or orange juice, into the chamber. For example, in 1908 Wisconsin senator Robert La Follette drank eggnog during a filibuster,” assistant Senate historian Daniel Holt told Insider.
“In 1957 Strom Thurmond reportedly drank orange juice during his 24-hour filibuster. In the 1960s, Everett Dirksen asked for a glass of milk. In today’s Senate, the Democratic and Republican cloakrooms provide water to senators when requested, and senators can choose between still or sparkling water,” Holt added.
Though food is not allowed on the Senate floor, an exception has long been granted to the so-called “candy desk.”
In 1965, GOP Sen George Murphy of California began the practice of keeping a stash of candy in a desk on the Republican side of the Senate floor. Murphy shared the candy with his colleagues, and subsequent senators have carried on the tradition.
— Architect of the Capitol (@uscapitol) November 4, 2015
— U.S. Senate History (@SenateHistory) August 22, 2016
“I can’t really offer a historical explanation for why the candy desk exception exists except to say that it is an almost 50 year tradition at this point and is just a fun quirk of the chamber,” Holt said.
Today, candy desk duties fall upon Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
A Toomey spokesperson told Laura Olson of The Morning Call that the desk is currently stocked with Hershey’s bars with almonds, Rolo caramels, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers bars, Palmer Peanut Butter Cups, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.
The rules for the trial were still being debated on Tuesday, leaving the exact timeline up in the air. But under the proposed rules the senators could be stuck in the chamber for up to eight hours at a time. It’s unclear how long or frequent breaks during the trial will be. Bathroom breaks are permitted but only via an adjoining cloakroom, USA Today reported.
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