Updated: 10:34 p.m.As part of their long-running battle over rules restricting amendments to appropriations bills, House Republicans on Thursday forced a nearly one-hour reading of a GOP legislative proposal. Democrats, however, charged that the maneuver was nothing more than a delaying tactic so that GOP Members could duck out to House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) annual party fundraiser on the Washington, D.C. waterfront. Democratic aides suggested that the reading of the bill a Republican alternative to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill was timed to benefit the 2009 Boehner Beach Party," the 17th annual bash for the perennially tan leader at the Cantina Marina bar that has typically been one of Boehners highest-profile fundraisers.The party was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. around the time lawmakers were about to start debating the GOP alternative.After forcing the clerk to read the GOP bill, Republicans withdrew it and then introduced a new version for debate, annoying House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).I simply think that were entitled to ask one question, he said. Why on earth, if were supposed to take this motion seriously, were we requested to listen through the reading of a 55-page amendment, witness it being withdrawn and then have them introduce an amendment which is virtually the same in an identical form?A spokesman for Boehner said he did not know if the Minority Leader made it to the fundraiser during the lengthy interlude between votes, but he said that wasnt the reason for the maneuver."We forced the reading of the [Republican alternative] to protest the un-democratic rules the Democratic leadership is insisting on for the appropriations process, which do not allow Republicans the opportunity to step in the way of their out-of-control spending spree, said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. Boehner will vote on both the [Republican alternative] and final passage."Tory Newmyer contributed to this report.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.