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Bush censure could reach full vote, senator says

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Published: Thursday March 30, 2006

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) on Wednesday left open the possibility that Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to censure President Bush could get its day before the full Senate, a move certain to ignite an intense partisan showdown with election-year stakes, ROLL CALL reports Thursday. Excerpts:

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Specter said he doesn’t know how the controversial resolution will play out before his Judiciary Committee, but suggested it could be brought to the floor under a rare procedural move. The panel could vote to defeat the bill, but send it to the floor anyway with an unfavorable recommendation.

Feingold’s motion seeks to censure President Bush for authorizing what the Wisconsin Democrat believes is an illegal domestic wiretapping program and then misleading the public about its existence. The highly charged measure has given Republicans a new rallying cry against Democrats even as the minority claims to be making headway with the public on national security matters.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on Feingold’s bill Friday. Specter reiterated Wednesday that he plans to keep to that schedule, despite some suggestion earlier in the week that it might be postponed.

“Friday is a work day for me,” Specter said. “I’ll be here. We’ll have a hearing.”

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