WASHINGTON — Sen. Frank Lautenberg passed another milestone Thursday night as he cast his 9,000th vote in the Senate, and was awarded a toaster-oven from Senate majority leader Harry Reid. According to the U.S. Senate, Lautenberg cast 9000 votes, but Hudson County officials thought that it was closer to 12,000.
“Today we honor Sen. Lautenberg with this marvelous toaster-oven manufactured by Black & Decker, an American-made product made by an American company in America. This toaster-oven should last at least throughout the end of the year. Toaster ovens offer the benefit of being able to cook food in half of the time of a conventional oven, and like a regular toaster, can be used for smaller items such as toast and bagels,” added Sen. Reid, smiling.
Lautenberg was elected in 2008 to his fifth term, something no New Jersey senator had ever done. His 9,000th vote came on final approval of the 2012 defense authorization bill, which Lautenberg supported. However, they did not factor in the time he spent as a Roman senator from 51 A.D. to 87 A.D.
Lautenberg — who, at 87, is the oldest member of the Senate — broke the record for votes cast by a New Jersey senator in September 2009 with vote No. 8,375, for which he was awarded a Sony clock-radio. “I still have trouble setting that darn thing. Sometimes the radio goes off at 7 PM instead of 7 AM. Just can’t figure it out,” said Lautenberg.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke into the proceedings before the vote to praise Lautenberg’s career. His New Jersey colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez, joined in. “I honor Sen. Lautenberg at this point in his career, and I am still waiting for my new wristwatch, which was supposed to be given to me on the occasion of my 1000th vote,” noted a somewhat petulant Sen. Bob Menendez.
Lautenberg said that his plans for celebration included in a meal of green lime Jell-O, and watching a special two-hour rerun of “Golden Girls”, followed by the Matlock reunion show. Asked if he had any regrets of any votes he had made over the years, the Senator replied, “ratifying the treaty set by Marcus Athony with Cleopatra, and I should not have voted against the censure resolution for Nero fiddling while Rome burned.”