In May, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and a Republican colleague, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, sang each others praises on the Senate floor as lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the water-infrastructure legislation they had crafted.
On Friday, Vitter asked the Senate ethics committee to investigate Boxer over what Vitter describes as an intimidation and payoff scheme.
Vitter accused Boxer of attempting to punish him for insisting the Senate vote on an amendment to end health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress.
According to a report in Politico, the Democrats countered with an amendment to end the health care payments for the senators who voted for Vitters amendment and to any lawmaker who was determined by the ethics panel to have engaged in the solicitation of prostitution. In 2007, Vitters name surfaced in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal.
Vitter asked the committee to investigate whether Boxer was engaged in political scare tactics, personal attacks, and threats that would affect each Senators personal finances (i.e. bribery).
Through a spokesman Friday, Boxer said, Senator Vitter has manufactured a bizarre and phony attack that demeans the Senate.
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"I don't want to be too hard and fast on any one of these things because I have not gone through every detail, every permutation."
ARNE DUNCAN, U.S. education secretary, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, slightly backing off from his criticism of California's move to computer-based school testing