Illinois, Wisconsin congressmen debate Nickelback on House floor

WASHINGTON -- A Republican from Illinois and a Democrat from Wisconsin sparred on the House floor Thursday over the Canadian rock band Nickelback.

Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2) were debating a criminal justice amendment offered by Pocan to end the practice of prison gerrymandering, in which prisoners are counted are residents of correctional facilities and not their most recent residence before imprisonment in the census, when they got distracted about the merits of a particular group.

The good-natured exchange was first noticed by C-SPAN producer Craig Caplan, who tweeted about it.



Pocan brought up Nickelback when he noted the practice of prison gerrymandering had been opened up to public comment and garnered little support.

"I would just like to add in 2016 when the census and the federal register asked for comment on this 77,000 people did comment, only four wanted to keep this provision," Pocan said. "Everyone else wanted to change this, out of 77,000. That's probably about the percent of people who think Nickelback is their favorite band in this country. It's pretty low. And I think if you look at-- Nickelback's your favorite band? I apologize to the gentleman."

Davis had reacted while he was speaking, and Pocan yielded his time to him.

"Why would you criticize one of the greatest bands of the 90s?" Davis exclaimed.

"Wow. Alright," Pocan replied. "One more reason there's a difference between Democrats and Republicans clearly found on the floor of Congress today."

He returned to arguing in favor of the amendment and yielded his time once again to Davis.

"I stand here to say that my colleague from Wisconsin, I know he did not mean to offend the many thousands upon thousands of Nickelback fans in his district in Wisconsin," Davis said, with a smile. "I'll stand here to save you from doing that and having to face the political consequences at the ballot box. I enjoy debating back and forth and it's always good to have some good humor on the floor of the House, and yes, I do actually have a Nickelback song on my running playlist that I listen to on a regular basis. And was ridiculed by that when I posted my playlist one time, and I know some in this chamber and even up at the dais are still laughing about that."

The chamber enjoyed a laugh, and Davis spoke in opposition to the amendment. When he yielded his time back to Pocan, the Wisconsin representative took the opportunity to get the last word.

"I will just wrap by saying I appreciate that very brave admission of your fandom for Nickelback, that's very brave, and I do recognize that. I didn't think we were gonna talk about Nickelback on the floor today, somehow it came up," he said.

The committee then agreed to the amendment by voice vote, according the House of Representatives clerk.

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