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Lautenberg's Rhetorical Missile

Just two days after Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) forced a closed session to highlight an alleged lack of progress into a probe of pre- Iraq war intelligence, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) staged another act of political disobedience today.

Lautenberg filed an amendment to change the official name of the "Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act 2005" to the "Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act." (Click here for a PDF screenshot of the amendment.)

"Let's call this bill what it is -- a moral disaster," explained Lautenberg. "This bill would close the door of opportunity and cut critical services to the poor, elderly, sick and hungry."

Senators had yet to vote on the amendment as of this post, but given the Republican majority in the Senate the name change seems to have little chance of passage.

The overall bill being debated in the Senate is aimed at making cuts in spending on entitlement programs in order to offset the massive federal costs incurred for the clean-up of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast. Democrats have massed in opposition to the cuts, which they insist disproportionately disadvantage the nation's poorest and most infirm citizens.

Given Reid's gambit earlier in the week, it's reasonable to ask whether we are seeing the rebirth of a fighting spirit among Senate Democrats on issues both foreign and domestic.  And, if so, will these new tactics resonate with the electorate?

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 3, 2005; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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