The buzz on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon about a possible health care vote had lawmakers wondering if they would be able to leave town on Thursday for recess.
Rep. Phil Roe is perhaps more jittery than anyone else: he is getting married on Saturday.
“I’ve been a little anxious about that,” Roe, 71, told CNN in the Speaker’s lobby, adding with a grin that there was no way he would miss his own wedding. “If the vote’s on Friday, I’ll vote on Friday and I’ll drive home or get home some way. I’ll figure out how to get to Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Republican will marry his fiancé, Clarinda, at a small, daytime ceremony attended by only the couple’s children and grandchildren. A dinner with family will follow Saturday evening, and on Friday night, there is a dinner scheduled with friends.
The couple met at a grief group. Roe lost his previous wife over two years ago, and Clarinda had also recently lost her previous husband. After more than a year and a half of attending the counseling sessions, Roe said he asked Clarinda whether she would like to have lunch after church one Sunday. She agreed.
“So we drove up and had lunch – actually drove over North Carolina because people know both of us at home and we didn’t want to get caught,” Roe said. “So we drove to another state where nobody knew us and just one thing led to another and I feel very, very blessed to have met this wonderful person.”
One thing Roe is looking forward to: becoming the brother-in-law of fellow GOP Rep. Mike Kelly (Clarinda is Kelly’s wife’s sister, Roe said).
Roe and his colleagues had expected to leave Washington on Thursday ahead of a week-long recess.
He joked on Wednesday that it was only fitting that a significant vote in the House could potentially collide with his wedding.
“I could see this trainwreck happening two weeks ago,” he said. “That’s why I don’t buy lottery tickets. I never bought one because I’m so unlucky.”
Roe would not even entertain the possibility of being asked to stay in town for a Saturday vote.
“There’s not going to be a Saturday vote,” Roe said. “I’m going to my wedding Saturday.”