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Sen. Frank Lautenberg Diagnosed With Cancer

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), one of the oldest lawmakers in the Senate, has been diagnosed with lymphoma of the stomach, his office confirms. Lautenberg was hospitalized after suffering a fall last week, and tests revealed the tumor. This is the statement from his office:

After several days of hospitalization and testing, Senator Lautenberg’s doctors have diagnosed that he has a B-Cell Lymphoma of the stomach. This is a curable tumor, and will require treatment over the next few months.

The Senator is under the care of Dr. James F. Holland and Dr. Martin Goldman of Mount Sinai Medical Center.


“We expect a full and complete recovery for Senator Lautenberg. The Senator will be treated with chemotherapy administered approximately every three weeks. We anticipate that he will receive between six and eight treatments, and in between treatments, the Senator is expected to be back at work in the Senate.”

Lautenberg’s office says that he will still serve out his term and even run for re-election in 2014 (when he would be 90 years old). In the near term, his doctor claims that Lautenberg would be available for votes, but does that include the expected Monday vote to start debate on the jobs bill, which thus far no Republicans have committed to? Does it include whatever legislative strategy Democrats pursue on health care? Lautenberg now becomes a wild-card, much like Robert Byrd, on virtually every initiative Democrats try to pass. As we know in this world of artificial super-majorities, one vote can mean a lot.

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David Dayen

David Dayen