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Joe Keenan, longtime director of the Senate Press Daily Gallery has retired after 35 years.
Keenan got his start in the Gallery at a time when journalists clacked away on typewriters and phone booths were reporters’ way of communicating with their editors.
“I wasn’t there for the change from cave paintings to papyrus but have been there for everything else,” Keenan said, adding that the thing he’ll miss most are the reporters. His last official day was April 30, but he’s been around since, tying up odds and ends.
Carl Hulse, Washington editor of the New York Times and a journalist who has known Keenan since 1985, when he received his first Senate press credential, said Keenan’s institutional memory and sense of humor will be missed.
“Joe just knows how everything works or is supposed to work, so when things go wrong, he knows how to resolve them,” Hulse said.
When Hulse served on the standing committee of correspondents for the gallery, which helps determine which outlets get credentials, he said Keenan showed a reporter’s instinct in making sure the outlets were legitimate and worthy of press passes.
“We had to deal with ... who was going to be credentialed, and he was smart about it,” Hulse said. “He saw how things were changing, and he really went and said, ‘Hey, who are these guys?’ And some of them were ... very shady.”
Jim Manley, who spent 21 years as a spokesman in the Senate for Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and former Democratic Sens. George Mitchell of Maine and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, said Keenan was always a good resource to go to for advice on how to get as much media coverage as possible.
“Joe provided advice on when to do a press conference, where to do a press conference, and often times helped to corral reporters to actually go to the event, especially when I worked for Sen. Reid and I needed to get the word out quickly on breaking news,” said Manley, now senior director at QGA Public Affairs.
Memorial Service Planned for Ex-Rep. Bob Edgar
A public memorial service for the late Rep. Bob Edgar, D-Pa., will be held Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Edgar, a minister who spent 12 years in Congress crusading against “pork barrel” legislation and fighting for better mental-health care for veterans, died April 23 at his home in Burke, Va., at the age of 69.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who served with Edgar in the House, will speak at the ceremony, along with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, the national governing board chairman of Common Cause, the nonprofit advocacy group Edgar was president of at the time of his death.
The service will be held at 1 p.m. at Foundry United Methodist Church, located at 1500 16th St. NW.
Controversial CRS Analyst Moves to Economic Policy Institute
Thomas L. Hungerford, the Congressional Research Service analyst who authored a divisive report last fall that found no relation between the long-held Republican position that there is a correlation between tax rates and economic growth, is moving to the Economic Policy Institute.
Hungerford will lead the budget team as senior economist and director of budget research, the EPI announced Monday.
“EPI is a leading voice for progressive tax and budget policies that grow the middle class and support working Americans,” Hungerford said in a release announcing his new job. “I’m looking forward to taking up that call and building my work on budget and tax issues.”
Hungerford’s CRS study drew ire from Republicans, who claimed its conclusions were found using unsound methodology. The CRS removed the report from circulation in September and then released a revised version in December that basically came to the same conclusion.
Committees on the Library, Printing to Organize
The Joint Committee on the Library and Joint Committee on Printing will meet Tuesday morning to hold organizational meetings for the 113th Congress.
The meetings will begin at 10 a.m. in SC-04.
The Joint Committee on the Library is expected to confirm Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., as chairman, and the Joint Committee on Printing is expected to confirm Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., as chairman. Chairmanship of the two committees switches between the House and Senate every two years.
Both committees are among the longest-standing joint committees in Congress and are assigned to oversee the operations of both the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, respectively.
Formed in 1846, the Joint Committee on Printing is composed of five senators and five House members to ensure federal agencies are following GPO rules and attempt to minimize printing costs.
The Joint Committee on the Library has oversight of the Library of Congress, as well as the collection of art in the Capitol Complex and the U.S. Botanic Garden.