Washington (CNN) – Aiming to draw a sharp contrast with a Republican-organized hearing a week ago that included an all-male panel of witnesses, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi convened her Policy Committee Thursday to talk about the president's new contraception rule and featured a single witness – the woman the GOP wouldn't allow to testify.
Pelosi mocked House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's explanation for rejecting the Democrats' chosen witness for last week's hearing - Sandra Fluke, a law student. He argued she wasn't qualified to appear on the panel because the subject was meant to be about religious freedom, not birth control or health care policy.
Washington (CNN) - With a showdown over raising the debt limit looming, House Republican leaders said Tuesday they will hold a series of "listening sessions" for rank-and-file GOP members when Congress returns from its break next week. The sessions are designed to get feedback on how to frame the controversial upcoming vote to raise the nation's debt limit, according to several GOP sources on a conference call for House Republicans.
Washington (CNN) - Pelosi may have "shattered the marble ceiling" as the first female House Speaker, but incoming Republican House Speaker John Boehner has decided to create equal bathroom access for female members of Congress.
According to an announcement from the GOP transition team, the woman's restroom will be adjacent to the House floor to accommodate the 71 female members in the next Congress, something current female members live without.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/03/art.getty.steny.hoyer.jpg caption="House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, insisted Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, would decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, insisted Tuesday that Congress, not President Obama, would decide whether to put more limits on earmarks in upcoming spending bills.
Asked about a statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Monday that the Obama Administration was formulating guidelines for earmark reform, Hoyer said flatly, "I don't think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do." He paused deliberately and quipped to reporters in the room, "I hope you all got that down."
He added, "It is certainly appropriate for the White House to suggest ways of going forward so that we can have agreement between the White House and ourselves."
Hoyer pointed out that Democrats have cut down the number of earmarks and now require that all requests get posted on the internet. But he conceded "I think there are additional things we can do and consider." He said Congressional leaders already talked to the White House about "concerns it had,” but refused to offer any specifics.