WASHINGTON -- As Senate Democrats try to pass a $60 billion bill for Sandy relief and beat back hostile Republican amendments, New Jersey is missing one vote: Sen. Frank Lautenberg's.
The Democrat has not returned to Washington after the Senate's Christmas break, leaving Democrats with just a 52-47 edge. Working in their favor, though, is that any amendment to the bill requires 60 votes.
"Sen. Lautenberg is at home recovering from the flu and the Capitol physician advised him to continue resting and not return to the Capitol to vote unless absolutely necessary," said Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray.
Lautenberg's absence could resonate on two levels. Immediately, there is the fact that he is not here for a key vote to the region. He has missed several recent votes: he did not vote on Dec. 11 and 13, and then again on the 27th and today. With today's absence, that means Lautenberg has missed votes on four of the last five days that the Senate has had roll call votes.