This caught me off guard. I thought Pelosi, or someone in the House leadership, would have appointed Representatives to the conference committee and get the bill moved to the President. I thought wrong.
Today, GOP Leaders from both chambers urged Speaker Pelosi to call the House back into session immediately to finish its work on the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill for the troops…Text follows:
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
We are writing to urge you to call the House back into session immediately so that Congress can finish its work on the emergency legislation to fund the Global War on Terrorism. This funding request has been pending since February 5, but your leadership team chose to leave town for more than two weeks rather than completing this bill. As a result, our troops have been put at risk.
We are especially troubled by the House’s failure to appoint conferees. The Senate appointed conferees on March 29, moments after passing its bill, but the House never did so despite passing the bill a week earlier. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Senate that he hoped the House-Senate conference would begin on March 30. That hoped-for progress has been thwarted by your failure to act.
It should go without saying that our military leaders are in the best position to know the needs of our troops, and they have left no doubt that this funding is needed urgently. General Peter Schoomaker, United States Army Chief of Staff, has written that, “without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our Soldiers and their families.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also emphasized the dangers of delay: “This kind of disruption to key programs will have a genuinely adverse effect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families.”
Our troops need this funding, and they need it soon. The Senate is in session and ready to work. We respectfully request that you cancel the remainder of your break, call the House back into session, appoint conferees promptly, and work in good faith to pass a clean supplemental funding bill that the President can sign as soon as possible. Every day we don’t fund our troops is a day their ability to fight this war is weakened.
In the meantime, Rep. Steny Hoyer (House Majority Leader) found time to meet with a radical (islamist) opposition group:
CAIRO, Egypt – A top U.S. Democratic congressman met a leader of Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak’s most powerful rival, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. officials and the Islamist group said Saturday.
Visiting House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday — once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has refused in the past to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group.
But Berry said U.S. government policy does not bar meetings with Brotherhood members of parliament and Hoyer’s talks with el-Katatni were not a change in U.S. policy toward the group.
Jon Alterman, a Mideast specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Bush administration officials may have avoided meeting Muslim Brotherhood members because it could strain relations with the secular Egyptian government, one of the closest U.S. allies in the Arab world.
“The difficulty when it gets to Egypt is that the Brotherhood is not a legal group within Egypt and the U.S. government is wary of violating laws in countries in which it operates,” he told The Associated Press on Saturday.