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How I Spent Spring Break, Congress edition

Nancy Pelosi (AP Photo/Tony Avelar), Mark Warner (Alex Wong/Getty Images), Ginny Brown-Waite (AP Photo/Scott Martin), Aaron Schock (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Whoo-hoo! Spring Break! Congress finally gets a chance to take off the suits and ... work.

You'd think the two-week recess -- coming on the heels of the health-care reform passage -- would finally allow members to relax a little. Fat chance. Most are back in their districts defending their votes and gearing up for midterm elections.

Our nation's youngest congressman, Rep. Aaron Schock, was busy playing second fiddle to the second fiddle. "He spent the morning with Vice President Biden in Peoria," said his press secretary, Dave Natonski. Oh. Anything else? "It's a full workweek in the district," he told us. "He's just getting back into the district, seeing what people think about health care ... " Anything fun? Natonski thought a moment. Well, the 28-year-old congressman did shoot some free throws with the mayor of Peoria at a charity fundraiser Saturday.

Nancy Pelosi took a well-timed victory lap. The House speaker, who turned 70 on Friday, had a birthday dinner in San Francisco, held a news conference on health reform, joined the president for the final bill signing, and is spending Holy Week with her grandkids.

The days of the sweetheart junket are gone -- a handful of members will head overseas on codels (congressional delegations); 16 members of Congress, including Jim Oberstar, will spend a week in Portugal for a conference on global energy issues. But most are doing time with constituents: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is holding health-care round tables, small business meetings and census events.

What with flooding in the Northeast and a still-shaky economy, even senators not facing reelection are hunkering down. Sen. Mark Warner "had a root canal today," said spokesman Kevin Hall. "The irony is that it's 'drill, baby, drill' day." (No TV sound bites, alas, to support Obama's offshore-oil decision.) Warner will recover at home, then head to events in southern Virginia next week.

But the prize for most memorable break goes to Ginny Brown-Waite: Looks like she's squeezing a wedding and surgery into her time off. Reps from her office were coy about details.

The Florida Republican announced her engagement in February and said she planned to wed during a break. On the House floor last month, she told Hoyer she was worried that Congress wouldn't get out in time for her wedding, apparently set for last Saturday. If that wasn't enough, she just announced that she's having abdominal surgery during the recess.

Not much of a honeymoon, but at least she's in Florida.

By The Reliable Source  |  April 1, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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Boehner is working on his tan and studying a thesaurus for more ways to say NO!

Posted by: gradya3 | March 31, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

The Dinner Roll

Once upon a time I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. I live in a FREE country. There's nothing that the government can do to me if I've broken no laws. My wealth was EARNED honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor. The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.

"Sorry 'bout that," said the president.
Andrew is very hungry."

"I don't appreciate..." I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediately guilty and petty. It was just a dinner roll.

"Of course," I concluded, and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the wine in a single gulp.

"And his brother, Eric, is very thirsty," said the President. I didn't say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I withheld my comments and decided to play along. I don't want to seem unkind...

My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite.

"Eric's children are also quite hungry."

With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood, brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room.

"And their grandmother can't stand for long."

I turned back to the President. Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table. I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home.

"Andrew's whole family has made bad financial decisions. They haven't planned for retirement and they need a house. They recently defaulted on a subprime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more than you do."

My hands were shaking. I felt faint I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor.

"By the way," he added, "I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I'm firing you as head of your business. I'll be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind. There's a whole bunch of Erics and Andrews out there and they can't come to you for jobs groveling like beggars...we need to spread YOUR wealth around..."

He drained the last drops of his wine. As the table was cleared, he lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair.

What had I done wrong?

"You should have stopped me at the dinner roll," he said.


Posted by: easttxisfreaky | April 1, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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