By Betsy Rothstein - 12/13/07 06:47 PM EST
Berkley family vacation
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) is hoping to get out of Washington in due time this weekend. It is, after all, the 25th big Berkley family vacation in Disneyland, and it’s a family tradition full of Goofy (pun intended) activities.
Over the weekend, 21 members of the Berkley family will convene at the Disneyland Hotel in California. “It’s a lot tackier than it was 25 years ago, with wallpaper coming off the wall,” Berkley says, laughing.
Berkley’s ex-husband, Fred Berkley, always attends and even brings his wife. “It’s a whole weekend. It’s remarkable,” says Rep. Berkley.
The lineup sounds downright Disneyish. On Friday night, the crew checks in and goes to a movie at downtown Disney. On Saturday, they all get washable tattoos.
And then it’s time to eat. “We’re all Jewish, so we eat, and we always find something to complain about,” says Berkley. By day, they take to the rides — It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean are Berkley family favorites. By night, it’s dinner at the Blue Bayou and a visit to the Haunted Mansion.
On Sunday, the Berkleys wind down the trip with the Goofy Breakfast. “We love it,” she says.
Wilted lettuce, anyone?
Several Hill staffers say they are avoiding the Capitol cafeterias ever since Guest Services lost the contract. They tell ITK that they suspect that no new food is being bought, and that the cafeterias are just clearing off the shelves.
House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) responded to those concerns in a statement Wednesday, acknowledging there were “comments about the decline in the availability and quality of food” ahead of the cafeterias’ switch over to Restaurant Associates next week.
“Completing the transition of vendors and facilities while continuing to provide food service during the extended House session may have created a few glitches,” he said.
He did not elaborate on whether new food purchases have been delayed. But one House staffer wrote in an e-mail: “I am convinced they are doing that EVERYWHERE! It is really nerve wracking.”
The aide complained that the lettuce in the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria has been looking wilted. “The lettuce [looks] old, they are ‘running out’ of stuff they never used to run out of (breakfast especially). They NEVER ran out of things ... and now, every morning, they have no more bread, no more bacon.”
Another aide remarked, “Taco Wednesday now leads directly to Bathroom Thursday.”
An aide in Rayburn said: “I would recommend Subway from this point forward.”
And still another longtime Capitol employee noted, “It all [looks like] mystery meat down there these days.”
But in his statement, Brady stood by the cafeteria management.
“I applaud the food service staff for doing their best to provide the best possible service under the circumstances,” said Brady. “I’ll be at the front of the line of those who welcome Restaurant Associates when they take over operations on Dec. 17.”
Minority Leader Boehner gets physical
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) got into a wrestling match with a longtime friend and fellow Ohioan in the Speaker’s Lobby Tuesday evening.
Following a vote, Rep. David Hobson (R) exited the House chamber and entered the lobby. But before Hobson could get very far, Boehner emerged from behind, grabbed Hobson by the shoulders, and wrestled him back inside, saying “Get back in here!”
Far from looking upset or surprised, Hobson laughed heartily through the whole tug of war, although several perplexed reporters might have wondered what the joke was all about.
Boehner was making light of an article that appeared that day in The Washington Post reporting that Hobson, ranking Republican on the Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, had a heated argument with Boehner over the Republican leader’s hard-line stance on unfinished spending bills.
Any hard feelings that may have existed didn’t last long. And now congressional leaders have a new hands-on model for keeping colleagues in line.
Fired cafeteria worker lands temp job
Kennison Battle — the sandwich maker who was fired from a Capitol café just days after Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) left in a huff after Battle toasted his sandwich instead of grilling it per his order — has a new job.
With the help and persistence of the House Administration Committee, Battle has been offered, and accepted, a temporary position in the House Finishing Shop. “Efforts are still under way to find him full-time employment,” assured panel spokesman Kyle Anderson.
The House took up Christmas Tuesday night.
With 372 votes, the House passed a resolution that recognizes the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. Nine Democrats voted against it; nine voted “present” in an act of protest; and one lone Republican, Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), voted “present.”
So who says no to Christmas?
They include: Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), Pete Stark (Calif.), Robert “Bobby” Scott (Va.), Gary Ackerman (N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Diana DeGette (Colo.), Alcee Hastings (Fla.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Jim McDermott (Wash.).
McDermott spokesman Mike DeCesare said his boss voted no “to draw attention to what isn’t being done, principally healthcare for 10,000 disadvantaged children. That’s what Christmas ought to be about.”