How I Spent Spring Break, Congress edition
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.
The Reliable Source
April 1, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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