“Even members of Congress buy holiday gifts for their families this time of year. And yes, like every political committee we hold fundraising events in New York City,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the NRCC.
Bozek declined to answer questions about whether the small registration fee also paid for lodging or how many lawmakers went on the trip.
Gabriela Schneider, the communications director for the watchdog group the Sunlight Foundation, criticized the lawmakers for “gallivanting around New York City with high-end shopping sprees” when the fiscal cliff remains unresolved, threatening an economic recession.
She also said the trip shows how intimate the encounters between politicians and their benefactors can be.
“This definitely shows that those who pay have access to face-time with lawmakers. Most Americans don’t have that access, nor do most voters know who their elected officials are spending time with,” Schneider said.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lit into Republicans on Dec. 6 for adjourning the House on Dec. 5.
“Why are we not here? Why are we not here trying to build confidence, find common ground? Even as members interact with each other, not just the principals, as they refer to leaders or the principals on the committees of jurisdiction, why are we not here getting information?” the California Democrat asked.
“We most certainly should be here. And it came as quite a surprise, and I’m rarely surprised, that the Republicans would leave, who came in Tuesday and left Wednesday, 12 o’clock, noon, with all that needs to be done, avoiding the conversation. Sounds like people don’t want to be in town for some reason, and the reason is; is because they are — we are asking them to sign a discharge petition” to pass a Senate bill extending the Bush tax cuts for all but the top 2 percent of earners.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.