- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2007

SPECIAL PREVIEW:For the full version of this developing story, read tomorrow’s editions of The Washington Times or www.washingtontimes.com.

Sen. Arlen Specter today challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s ability to serve as leader, saying the Nevada Democrat sabotaged progress on long-stalled spending and taxes bills by calling Republican lawmakers “puppets” for President Bush.

“I really wonder if he’s up to the job when he resorts to that kind of statement, which can only further the level of rancor and animosity with that kind of an insulting comment,” Mr. Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said on the Senate floor.

The criticism punctuated the stalemate in the Democrat-led Congress, which is fast approaching the end of the session without a fix to tax increases set to clobber middle-class families next month and without passing 11 of the 12 annual appropriation bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, Mr. Reid is poised to call another vote linking emergency war funds to a plan for a U.S. pullout from Iraq. The same measure failed in a vote lost month, as did 63 similar Iraq votes this year.

“We have two-and-a-half weeks. Not a lot has been done,” said Mr. Specter, noting that the Senate did little business Monday or Tuesday and didn’t convene until noon yesterday.

“I’ve have been around here a substantial period of time and I wonder how we are going to get through all of the unfinished appropriations bills and the other matters.”

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