Friday, July 27, 2007

(Diaper-Boy)Vitter Annoys Dems in Senate Disputes

WASHINGTON - David Vitter's involvement with a Washington escort service started a media storm, but it was his antics on the Senate floor Thursday that set colleagues buzzing.

And not in a good way.

In a complicated tale involving Senate courtesy, procedures and a poisonous rivalry with a home state colleague, the Louisiana Republican's efforts to win adoption of amendments to a pending bill created a contretemps of the sort rarely seen in the stately chamber.

By the end of a long day, Vitter was called dishonest by Harry Reid, the Senate's top Democrat, then made peace with him, only to have Reid, D-Nev., later explode at the Louisiana freshman in a fit of anger.

The episode started when Vitter offered a plan easing the importation of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada, trying to attach it to an unrelated homeland security funding bill. It wasn't germane and was immediately trapped in a procedural vise.

Democrats managing the floor made an agreement with Vitter in which his amendment as well as a competing one would both be killed.

Instead, Vitter made a change to his amendment to fix its procedural problems. That move was permitted by the rules, but broke the agreement.

"Somebody did not keep their word," said Reid.

Ultimately, Reid and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the acting floor manager, allowed Vitter's amendment to win. They wanted to pass the homeland security bill by midnight, and so Reid made peace with the Republican senator.

"It was simply a misunderstanding," Reid said diplomatically, accepting Vitter's explanation.

That was not the end of it, not by a long shot..........

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