Thanks for 'stupid,' U.S. Sen. David Vitter tells Minority Leader Harry Reid _lowres

Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE Sen. David Vitter, R-La., walks to the Senate at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013.

Washington – For U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., “stupid” is a badge of honor.

At least it is when the distinction is conferred by Harry Reid, of Nevada, the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, according to the Roll Call web site.

Reid took a somewhat gratuitous swipe Wednesday at a Vitter legislative proposal during discussion of a bill to combat human trafficking. The underlying bill enjoys bipartisan support, but Democrats are angry at the Republicans’ insertion of a measure that expands the reach of rules blocking federal funding of abortions.

The Democrats control enough votes to block the bill under Senate rules, and Reid was asked if he would consider an amendment to strip the abortion-funding language from the bill. He said he wouldn’t consider any amendments until the Republicans promise to take out the language. After that, Reid said, “We’re happy to debate all the amendments they want … including Vitter’s stupid amendment.”

That Vitter amendment seeks to eliminate the principle of birthright citizenship, which confers citizenship on any child born in the United States, according to prevailing interpretations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Harry Reid calling my effort to end birthright citizenship abuse ‘Vitter’s stupid amendment’ is right up there with the highest of compliments, considering the source,” Vitter said. “Thank you, Harry, for building attention and credibility on this important issue.”

Vitter hopes to end what’s known as birthright tourism, highlighted by recent raids in Southern California on apartments used to house Chinese women giving birth during visits to the United States in order to gain citizenship for their children. His legislation would reinterpret the relevant constitutional clause to limit its application to children of citizens or legal permanent residents.