Frank Lautenberg: Wikis


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Frank Lautenberg

Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Serving with Bob Menendez
Preceded by Robert Torricelli
In office
December 27, 1982 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Nicholas F. Brady
Succeeded by Jon Corzine

Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
In office
Appointed by Brendan Byrne

Born January 23, 1924 (1924-01-23) (age 86)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lois Lautenberg (divorced)

Bonnie S. Englebardt

Children Ellen Lautenberg
Nan Lautenberg
Lisa Lautenberg
Joshua Lautenberg
Residence Cliffside Park, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation information processing executive
Religion Judaism
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942-1946
Unit Signal Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Frank Raleigh Lautenberg (born January 23, 1924) is the senior United States Senator from New Jersey and a member of the Democratic Party. He is serving his fifth non-consecutive term in the Senate, first serving from 1982 to 2001 and again since 2003; he is the only current Senator to have returned to office after having retired from the Senate. Lautenberg is the second oldest member of the Senate, after Robert Byrd of West Virginia.


Early life, career, and family

Lautenberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey, to Sam and Mollie Lautenberg, impoverished Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia who had arrived in the United States as infants.[1] When Lautenberg was 19, his father, Sam, who worked in silk mills, sold coal, farmed and once ran a tavern, died of cancer. Frank Lautenberg had no formal Jewish education as a child; the family could not afford to join a synagogue and did not live very long in any single place.[1]

Lautenberg served overseas in the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II after graduating from Nutley High School.[2] Then, financed by the GI Bill, he attended and graduated from Columbia Business School in 1949 with a degree in economics. He was the first salesman at successful Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) and was its chairman and CEO. He was the executive commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 1978 to 1982.

From his first marriage to Lois Lautenberg, which ended in divorce, Lautenberg has four children: Ellen, Nan, Lisa, and Joshua. In 2001, he married his companion of nearly 16 years, Bonnie S. Englebardt. He has a summer home on Martha's Vineyard.

U.S. Senator

In 1982 he received the Democratic nomination for a US Senate seat from New Jersey for that year's election after spending a considerable sum of his own money. The seat had been occupied by Democrat Harrison Williams who resigned on March 11, 1982 after being implicated in the Abscam scandal. After Williams's resignation, Republican Governor Thomas Kean appointed Republican Nicholas F. Brady to the seat. Brady served in the Senate through the primary and general elections but did not run for the seat himself. Lautenberg won the election, defeating popular Republican congresswoman Millicent Fenwick by 52% to 48%. Brady, who had just a few days left in his appointed term, resigned on December 27, 1982, allowing Lautenberg to take office several days before the traditional swearing-in of senators, which gave him an edge in seniority over the other freshman senators.

In 1988, Lautenberg was opposed by Republican Wall Street executive and former college football star Pete Dawkins, who won the 1958 Heisman Trophy for the Army Black Knights. After trailing in early polls, the Lautenberg campaign, headed by Democratic consultant James Carville, ran an aggressive advertising campaign enumerating Lautenberg's legislative accomplishments and raising the possibility that Dawkins's candidacy was intended solely as a stepping stone to the presidency, as well as pointing out his lack of roots in New Jersey. Lautenberg ultimately came from behind to win reelection, 54% to 46%.

Following reelection, Lautenberg became a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST), which was set up in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.[3]

Lautenberg was again reelected in the Republican landslide year of 1994, defeating New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian by 51% to 47%. Lautenberg announced his retirement in 2000, and his fellow Democrat and businessman, Jon Corzine, was elected to replace him.

2002 election

Sen. Lautenberg (center) is joined by Sen. Harry Reid (right) and outgoing Sen. Jon Corzine (second to left, with red tie) to welcome the new Senator Bob Menendez (between Corzine and Lautenberg) on Capitol Hill.

A little over a year after he left office, Lautenberg was called upon again to run for the Senate again. This time, however, it was to replace incumbent Senator Bob Torricelli, who had won nomination for a second term in the June primary elections but was facing federal corruption charges and an uphill climb for reelection against Republican nominee Doug Forrester. The selection of Lautenberg came with some irony, as there had been notoriously bad blood between Lautenberg and Torricelli when the two had served together in the Senate.[4] It was rumored that Lautenberg was not the first choice of the Democratic Party to run, but their first choice of Bill Bradley (who had served in this particular seat until 1996, when he decided to retire) was rejected.

Almost immediately, the New Jersey Republican Party challenged the replacing of Torricelli with Lautenberg, citing that the timing was too close to the election and, per New Jersey law, the change could not be allowed. The ballot name change was unanimously upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court,[5] who cited that the law did not provide for a situation like Torricelli's and said that leaving Torricelli on the ballot would be an unfair advantage for Forrester, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case. Lautenberg easily defeated Forrester in the general election, 54% to 44%, and took office for his fourth term in January 2003.

Back in the Senate

Sen. Lautenberg meets with Associate Justice Samuel Alito prior to his confirmation hearings. Sen. Lautenberg eventually voted against the nominee.

Lautenberg is considered one of the Senate's most liberal members. He is pro-choice, supports gun control, has introduced many bills increasing penalties for carjacking and car theft, and has criticized the Bush administration on national security issues. He has been very involved in various anti-smoking legislation, anti-alcohol legislation as well as airline safety legislation, and is probably best known for being involved with, and authoring some of, the legislation that banned smoking from most commercial airline flights. He also is known for authoring the Ryan White Care Act, which provides services to AIDS patients. Upon his return to the Senate, Lautenberg was the first U.S. senator to introduce legislation calling for homeland security funds to be distributed solely on the basis of risk and vulnerability.[citation needed]

In 2005, he became a leading voice within the Senate in calling for an investigation into the Bush administration payment of columnists.[6]

When Jon Corzine resigned from the Senate to become Governor of New Jersey, Lautenberg became the senior senator again in 2006. This also makes him the only person to have been both the junior and senior senator from New Jersey twice each.[citation needed] Lautenberg received an "A" on the Drum Major Institute's 2005 Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues.[7]

In 2007, Lautenberg proposed the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007, designed to close loopholes that permit weapons purchases by persons that the executive branch has classified as "dangerous terrorists". On June 21, 2007, Lautenberg passed Clifford Case for the most votes on the Senate floor of any United States Senator in New Jersey history.

Sen. Lautenberg (center) along with Barbara Boxer (right) and Maria Cantwell (left) at a news conference discussing whether oil executives lied during a recent Congressional testimony regarding price gouging.

Committee assignments

Political positions


Senator Lautenberg wants the federal government to spend more taxpayer dollars on public transportation projects such as Amtrak.

Homeland security

Lautenberg is also a proponent of the Container Security Initiative which would screen cargo containers bound for the United States for radiological contents.[8] This policy is intended to identify threats before they arrive at U.S. ports. The Bush administration has argued that the policy would be too expensive to implement (U.S. inspection teams, with equipment, would need to be installed in 700 foreign ports). he also eats butts.


In 2007, Lautenberg voted for an amendment to the 2007 farm bill which would have limited the amount of subsidies that a married couple could receive to $250,000; the amendment failed.[9] However, he has voted against eliminating farm price supports and eventually voted for the 2007 farm bill as well. He has supported increasing the minimum wage in the past.

Civil liberties

Lautenberg was not in the Senate at the time of the original Patriot Act in 2001; when the 2005 reauthorization came to the Senate floor, Lautenberg voted against cloture but voted in favor of accepting the conference report.

Foreign policy

In 1996, Lautenberg voted against a bill that eliminated the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the United States Information Agency, the Agency for International Development, and the International Development Cooperation Agency and allowed the President to withhold 20% of funds appropriated to the United Nations if any agency of the organization does not implement consensus-based decision-making procedures on budgetary matters that assure that significant attention is given to the specific interests of the United States. He has opposed capping foreign aid and has voted to give billions of dollars to the International Monetary Fund. He voted against implementing both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Lautenberg is an opponent of the Iraq War.

Environment and energy

Senator Lautenberg, who has a pro-environment voting record, co-sponsored the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008, which would have repealed $17 billion in tax breaks for oil companies and reinvested the $17 billion in renewable energy development and energy efficiency technology.[10] However, the Senate rejected a cloture motion on the bill in June 2008.[11] Lautenberg favors alternative energies and has voted in favor of giving tax incentives to those who use them.

Social issues

Lautenberg is pro-choice and has voted against banning partial-birth abortions in 1999. He has voted in favor of expanding embryonic stem cell research. The NAACP gave him a 100% rating, indicating his strong support for affirmative action. He is a consistent supporter of gun control.

Lautenberg is a strong supporter of gay marriage, and also voted to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and to expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation. He voted against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and has expressed his support for equal marriage rights for LGBT couples in recent years. Lautenberg did, however, vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. The Human Rights Campaign has given him a 100% rating, indicating his strong support for gay rights.

Tax policy

Lautenberg has voted against repealing and restricting the Alternative Minimum Tax and estate tax. Lautenberg voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contained $280 billion in tax breaks by expanding the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, home energy credit, and college credit, introducing a homebuyer credit and a credit for workers earning less than $75,000, along with an increased ceiling for the AMT and extended tax credits to companies for renewable energy production, along with a new policy making more companies eligible for a certain tax refund. In 2008 he voted to raise taxes on those earning more than $1,000,000 per year. In 2006 he voted in favor of repealing the Bush tax cut on capital gains. He is a proponent of progressive taxation.[citation needed]


Since the advent of the late 2000s recession, Lautenberg has supported a number of Democratic bills designed to deal with the resulting problems plaguing Americans. In 2009, he voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, popularly dubbed the stimulus bill. He later voted for the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights and the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.

Key legislation

Lautenberg is primary sponsor of the S-294 "Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007" (Full Text), which would fund Amtrak for the next five years and provide opportunity for expansion. With the dramatic rise of gasoline prices in 2007-2008, Amtrak ridership has reached record levels.[12] Despite a veto threat from President Bush, the legislation is expected to pass the House.

The senator also sponsored and subsequently passed the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, more commonly known as the "Lautenberg Amendment". This piece of legislation prohibits individuals (including military servicemembers), convicted of a crime of domestic violence, from posssessing a firearm.

2008 election

In February 2006, Lautenberg announced his intention to run for reelection in 2008, saying that deciding not to run for reelection in 2000 "was among the worst decisions of his life."[13] Lautenberg formally announced his candidacy on March 31, 2008.

On Wednesday, April 2, 2008 US Rep. Rob Andrews announced he would challenge Lautenberg in the June 3 primary for the Democratic nomination. Lautenberg defeated Andrews in the primary with 59% of the vote to Andrews's 35%. Senator Lautenberg defeated former Congressman Dick Zimmer in the general election 56% to 42%.[14]

In both Republican and Democratic primary campaigns, candidates cited Lautenberg's age among reasons to vote against him. Andrews, for example, referenced Lautenberg's own 1982 defeat of Millicent Fenwick, in which Lautenberg was alleged to have referred to Fenwick's age (Fenwick was 72 at the time; Lautenberg was 84 in 2008). Lautenberg denied he made Fenwick's age an issue, saying he only ever questioned Fenwick's "ability to do the job".[15]

Dubai ports deal and "devil" comment

In comparing the devil with Dubai,[16] Lautenberg drew stern criticism from some Arab American groups after making comments relating to the Dubai Ports World controversy.[17] Lautenberg was quoted as stating, "We wouldn't transfer the title to the devil, and we're not going to transfer it to Dubai." According to a Foreign Policy In Focus article, Lautenberg defended his remarks due to the UAE's refusal to support U.S. policy toward Israel and Iran.[16] According to the Arab American Institute, Lautenberg apologized in a letter upon meeting with Arab American Institute representatives.[18]


On February 19, 2010, it was announced that Lautenberg had been diagnosed with a "curable" form of stomach cancer at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He had been hospitalized following a fall in his Cliffside Park, N.J. after having just returned from a trip to Haiti with a 12-member Congressional delegation. It was planned that he would receive six to eight chemotherapy treatments over the course of several months, and a doctor for Lautenberg said that a full recovery was expected. Lautenberg intended to continue his Senate work between treatments. He was released from his hospital stay on Thursday February 25, 2010. [19]

Electoral history

  • 1988 election for U.S. Senate
  • 1994 election for U.S. Senate
  • 2002 election for U.S. Senate
  • 2008 election for U.S. Senate
    • Frank Lautenberg (D) (inc.), 56%
    • Dick Zimmer (R), 42%


  1. ^ a b c Ruby, Walter (2008-07-25). "Still Legislating, After All These Years". 221. The Jewish Week (Manhattan edition). p. 26. 
  2. ^ U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. Accessed November 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Lautenberg profile at U.S. Senate website
  4. ^ By Mark Halperin, Elizabeth Wilner & Marc Ambinder, ABC News
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lautenberg Requests All Documents From White House Relating to Discredited "Journalist" James D. Guckert, also known as Jeff Gannon, Lautenberg press release, dated February 10, 2005
  7. ^ Congress at the Midterm: Their 2005 Middle-Class Record, accessed June 28, 2006
  8. ^ . AP. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Max Pizarro (2008-06-16). "Summertime Gas Spat". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ PolitickerNJ (2008-06-10). "Lautenberg Blasts Bush Veto Threat on Amtrak". Press release. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  13. ^ [1] The Star-Ledger
  14. ^ It's Lautenberg versus Zimmer for Senate in November - National & New Jersey Politics: Election results, political news & local talk –
  15. ^ "Issue of age still follows Lautenberg"|Philadelphia Inquirer|02/17/2008
  16. ^ a b The Dubai Ports World Controversy: Jingoism or Legitimate Concerns?
  17. ^ Lautenberg's 'Devil and Dubai' Comments Prompt Outrage
  18. ^ Lautenberg apologizes for Dubai remark
  19. ^ Lautenberg diagnosed with stomach cancer

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
Nicholas F. Brady
United States Senator (Class 1) from New Jersey
1982 – 2001
Served alongside: Bill Bradley, Robert Torricelli
Succeeded by
Jon Corzine
Preceded by
Robert Torricelli
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Jersey
2003 – present
Served alongside: Jon Corzine, Bob Menendez
Party political offices
Preceded by
Harrison A. Williams
Democratic Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 1) from New Jersey
1982, 1988, 1994
Succeeded by
Jon Corzine
Preceded by
Robert Torricelli
Democratic Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 2) from New Jersey
2002, 2008
Succeeded by
election to take place in 2014
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Saxby Chambliss


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Frank Raleigh Lautenberg (born January 23, 1924) is an American politician. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is a United States Senator from New Jersey serving from 1983 to 2001 and again since 2003.


  • The ocean is tired. It's throwing back at us what we're throwing in there.
    • USA Today, August 11, 1988.
  • "We know who the chicken hawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others," he said. "When it was their turn to serve where were they? AWOL, that's where they were...the lead chickenhawk against Sen. Kerry [is] the vice president of the United States, Vice President Cheney.
    • On the floor of the Senate, April 28, 2004[1]

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