Newsprose: From Our Capitol Hill Correspondent

The lead: Senate Republicans succeeded again today in stalling action on a resolution designating August as Toxic Substances Awareness Month, frustrating a key part of the president's agenda leading up to the midterm elections.

The nut graph:
The measure faces tough opposition from the politically powerful Toxic Substances Manufacturers’ Association and serious questions about how it would impact the federal budget deficit. Key Republican senators pegged the cost of the bill at “up to $40 billion”—

The balance:
—while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office disagreed, citing a range of possible expenses between $500,000 and $1 million for printing and distributing posters and brochures to schools and hospitals.

The background:
Ranking minority member Bud Light of the Misappropriations Committee, echoing earlier comments muttered in his sleep and caught on tape by his primary challenger, state Anti-Tax Commissioner Kent Filter, told reporters that the election was not about creating another layer of government bureaucracy that our grandchildren will be paying for if we don’t get runaway deficit spending under control.

Awkward clarification: Filter was hiding under Light’s bed when he made the recording.

The quote: “No, my friends,” Light told a rally outside the state Capitol in nearby Circuit City, “the election is really all about helping small business create jobs for hardworking middle-class Americans by cutting taxes and getting rid of activist judges who interpret the law according to their personal political views, because if the Founding Fathers had wanted a Toxic Substances Awareness Month, they would have said it right there in the Constitution.”

The color:
He held up a copy of the Constitution to loud cheers from the crowd and kissed it, then repeated the act several times for the cameras, vowing that he would barricade himself inside the Senate chamber “by any means necessary” to defend America from what he described as “this latest incursion of socialism” intended to distract attention from the administration’s failure to secure the borders against Iranian terrorists sneaking into the country disguised as Mexican day laborers taking jobs away from Americans.

Why it matters: But local Tea Party activist Barbie Doll demanded he go further and denounce President Obama for failing to produce a birth certificate proving that he was not an alien from another galaxy, citing reports in local newspapers of strange lights in the sky over Honolulu shortly before the president’s supposed birth there to a woman who has not been seen in public since her death in 1995.

The look-ahead:
Administration officials were said to be drafting a compromise scaling the resolution back to a week but faced a difficult choice between the second and third weeks of August amid allegations that Democrats were planning to invoke an obscure parliamentary maneuver that would require members of the minority party to solve the riddle of the sphinx in order to continue debate.

The kicker: With control of both houses of Congress at stake in the upcoming midterm elections, and the 2012 presidential contest just around the proverbial corner, both parties seem to have a lot to lose, as well as gain, as this game of political brinksmanship plays out toward its inevitable conclusion against the all-too-familiar background of a restive electorate demanding action on a wide variety of fronts, putting all the ingredients in place for a classic Washington showdown, the likes of which this town hasn’t seen for years.

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