House Leaders Hit the Road Over August

Posted August 9, 2009 at 4:25pm

Updated: Aug. 10, 2:10 p.m.

House party leaders are embarking on some extensive political travel over the August recess and, in one case, taking a trip to unspecified destinations around the world.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is holding two public events in San Francisco this week, one on health care and one on jobs. Later this month, Pelosi will attend events in Democratic Members’ districts, but aides wouldn’t specify the destinations.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) left for Israel and the West Bank on Saturday and will be gone until Aug. 16. Hoyer is traveling with a group of 31 House Democrats to learn more about the U.S.-Israel relationship and international security.

Hoyer and the Member delegation will meet with officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Members will also visit historical and cultural sites, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, the Western Wall, archaeological digs, and sites holy to the Christian faith. The trip was organized by the American Israel Education Foundation.

Later in the month, Hoyer will be back in his district. He will also do some political travel for Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Harry Teague (D-N.M.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) plans to stay in his district for a mix of activities, including holding a tele-town hall, attending a health fair and speaking at a handful of rotary meetings. He also has some fundraising events on tap.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will spend most of the month traveling with a Congressional delegation around the world to learn more about issues surrounding the global economic crisis and national security.

A Boehner spokesman declined to comment on the Republican leader’s planned destinations, citing security concerns. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already seized on the trip and criticized Boehner for leaving the country as unemployment rates rise in his home state.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) returned Sunday from a weeklong trip to Israel with a delegation of House Republicans. Cantor’s delegation met with the same government officials that Hoyer and his delegation plan to meet with this week.

“Most of the Members that are going have never been to Israel before,— Cantor said last week. “Things change so quickly over there and people begin to see what’s at stake [once they visit].—

Democrats slung arrows at Cantor while he was abroad after he criticized President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy while on foreign soil and listed Rush Limbaugh as one of several GOP figures that the party needs in order to rebuild its brand.

“My sense is that we need the Sarah Palins, Dick Cheneys, Rush Limbaughs, the Colin Powells,— Cantor said in an interview with the Israeli publication Haaretz. “We need all of them.— Two days later, Limbaugh said the Democratic agenda resembled “Nazi policies.—

Cantor will spend the rest of August at events primarily on the East Coast but with some travel to the West Coast for fundraisers. He is attending at least one district event on Aug. 17 when he hosts more than 50 businesses at a job fair in Richmond.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, will travel to Las Vegas on a recruitment trip and to Park City, Utah, for a fundraiser.