Dollars for Dinner

Posted February 26, 2008 at 6:46pm

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) painted a gloomy financial picture for his GOP colleagues Tuesday, telling them that they better increase their fundraising and involvement in the NRCC or get used to life in the minority.

Cole announced at Wednesday’s Republican Conference meeting that this cycle 142 House Republicans have not contributed to the NRCC. A total of 42 Members have pledged or given some money, but only 15 have met or exceeded their individual fundraising goals.

[IMGCAP(1)]Cole told his colleagues that they should be ashamed of that level of participation.

Sources described Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as particularly unhappy and he told his colleagues to get off their “dead asses.”

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who addressed the group last, was slightly more upbeat, but sources described the overall mood as depressing.

Cole and NRCC Dinner Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) used the weekly Conference meeting to make their final plea to Members for fundraising help for the March 12 event. The goal for the dinner is to raise $7.5 million.

As of Jan. 31, the NRCC faced a $29 million cash-on-hand deficit compared to its Democratic counterparts.

Back at It. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will have back surgery Friday to treat a bulging disc, his office announced Tuesday.

Boehner has had back problems and has been in pain for the past few weeks because the disc is hitting a nerve that leads to his sciatic nerve.

He will have an MRI on Thursday afternoon before undergoing the procedure at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Friday morning. Boehner is expected to be back at work next week after recovering from the procedure over the weekend.

Warner Hospitalized. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) was admitted to Inova Fairfax Hospital on Monday for continued problems with an irregular heartbeat.

It was unclear at press time when Warner would be released. He was admitted for observation while doctors monitored his response to new medications for his condition, known as atrial fibrillation, according to a statement from his office.

“Senator Warner recently experienced a return of atrial fibrillation, and in consultation with the Capitol Physician’s Office and his private doctors, is pursuing a re-evaluation and readjustment of medications which require regular monitoring and observation within a hospital environment,” the statement said.

Warner spent several days in the hospital in October for the same ailment.

— Lauren W. Whittington and Emily Pierce