Don’t get leaner at taxpayers’ expense; cut budget’s fat instead

(Pertaining to article, “Pelosi arm-wrestles over cash for the House gym,” Aug. 8.) Regarding Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) wish to spend millions renovating the House gym in order to help him meet his personal goal to bench-press his weight plus 200 pounds: A better goal would be for the congressman to stay in his office and attempt to bench-press the printed annual budget bill.

While doing so, Abercrombie should remember the old adage that if you can’t raise the bridge, lower the river.

- From Al Sartor, Walnut Creek, Calif.


MORE ON HOUSE GYM

Join the ‘Y’

And the Inside-the-Beltway folks wonder why Congress is held in lower esteem than the president?

Quit the whining and join the “Y,” like the rest of us do! Come home and campaign on a multimillion-dollar enhancement of your gym! That, along with funding for bike paths, will be a winning package.

It’s so inconvenient. So sorry. My gym is so inconvenient that I have to drive seven miles to it — and I don’t even have a Prius! …

-From Ann Zion, Milwaukee


Shift existing funds

I can understand the need for refreshing the gym used by congressional members. Surely there has to be some program that can be defunded to provide the money.

However, the current climate appears to be spending without prioritization. … This is a bipartisan problem, and Congress’s low performance rating is a symptom of the disrespect that [such spending] has produced. …

- From George Schirtzinger, Pasadena, Calif.


Pay as you go

I’m sure the Washington area is full of private gyms and health clubs. How about our fearless leaders joining one of those and paying their own tab like the rest of America? …

-From June Venable, Georgetown, Texas


No Abramoff ties

It is absolutely false that I had anything to do with the Abramoff affair, as you implied (“Head of Interior Department conduct board joins lobbying firm,” July 7).

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a target of any investigation by the Justice Department or the Interior Department’s inspector general related to the Abramoff affair. Your reference is based on an erroneous media report published in 2005. In truth, as an earlier Washington Post article shows, I actually worked in opposition to Abramoff’s interests.

My name has never appeared in any of the published reports produced by the various Abramoff investigations, including the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’s 357-page report, “Gimme Five — Investigation of Tribal Lobbying Matters” (June 2006); the House Committee on Government Reform’s 91-page report on the Abramoff affair (September 2006); the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s 89-page deposition of former White House staffer Susan Ralston (May 2007); or the Justice Department’s court filing on former Deputy Secretary Steve Griles’s case (June 2007).

I had nothing to do with the Abramoff affair PERIOD!

-From Doug Domenech, Alexandria, Va.


Mysterious years

(Pertaining to article, “Democratic candidates spar over K Street money,” Aug. 4.) Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has an odd definition of “experience.” Jonathan Kaplan quoted her as saying that “In 35 years of public service …”

Did I miss something? When was Hillary Clinton before 2000 anything other than Bill’s wife? Did she secretly do a dozen terms in the Arkansas House? Was the Clinton household double dipping with her serving as deputy secretary of agriculture? The press has been giving her a pass on this, and reporters such as Mr. Kaplan need to start pointing it out.

By her definition, the fact that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) lived abroad in his youth qualifies as foreign policy experience. If she “knows what’s what” about domestic affairs from long standing by her man, then Barack should be allowed to stipulate he knows what’s what in global affairs because he speaks another language, has personal experience with life outside the U.S. and knows how we are perceived in the world. Plus, he’s on Senate Foreign Relations. ...

-From Eric Davis, Democracy for Illinois organizer, Oak Park, Ill.