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Drudge blamed Dems for 'day off for football' but '100 hours' agenda delay said to be due to GOP request

Michael Roston
Published: Monday January 8, 2007
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Contrary to an Internet report, Republicans in the House of Representatives appear to have asked for a day off less than one week into the 110th Congress, RAW STORY has learned. The Democratic leadership consented, and no action is scheduled on the House floor today.

Congress will not meet today to begin the official "100 hours" agenda of the Democratic Members due to a request put in to the Democratic Leadership by Rep. John Boehner, the Republican Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.

"Mr. Boehner made this request, and in the interest of comity, Democrats granted it," a senior Democratic aide told RAW STORY.

Late Sunday afternoon, news portal operator Matt Drudge displayed a large banner headline on his Website set in capital letters which claimed, "DEM VOW ALREADY BROKEN: HOUSE SETS 4-DAY WORK WEEK." Drudge accused the Democrats of shutting down the House because of the College Football National Championship being played tonight between top teams Ohio State University and the University of Florida in Arizona.

"Hill sources claim The House is taking Monday 'off' this week, because of the championship football game," Drudge wrote.

Drudge's "flash" also included a graphic taken from a press release sent from the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, which - as the Internet journalist phrased it - "boldly declares: 'Monday, January 8, 2007: The House is not in session.'"

"100 hours...starting...soon," Drudge mocked at the end of his "flash," after noting that since next Monday is Martin Luther King Day, the five day work week would be pushed back even further.

'Are you ready for some football?'

But there's at least one House member who will be rooting for touchdowns or interceptions tonight.

A call to the office of Rep. Deborah Pryce, the Ohio Republican who serves the district in which Ohio State is located, revealed that she would be attending tonight's game. When her Press Secretary Rob Nicholas was asked if Pryce had requested that the House not go into session, he said, "We don't control agenda, it had nothing to do with us."

Calls to Rep. Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican whose district includes the University of Florida, were not returned.

Drudge also accused Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Majority Leader second in the House leadership to Speaker Nancy Pelosi of backtracking on an earlier commitment to end the "do-nothing ways" of the Republican Congress before them.

"Majority leader Steny Hoyer said members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday...on the first full week of the new congress, Hoyer has pulled back from his vow!" Drudge stated.

But Hoyer's office didn't agree with Drudge's characterization of his pledge to clean up Congress's act in the 110th.

"Mr. Hoyer made it clear from the beginning that not every week would be a five-day work week and Congress was never scheduled to be voting today," Stacey Bernards, Press Secretary in Hoyer's office, told RAW STORY.

"This week the House will vote to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, raise the minimum wage, lower drug prices for seniors and expand stem cell research," Bernards added. "I believe most Americans would agree that is a full week of work."

Multiple phone calls and e-mails to Rep. Boehner's office by RAW STORY to confirm whether or not the House Minority Leader had asked for the day off were not returned.

Meanwhile, although the Democratic Leadership did not convene the House today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Members of Congress held a press conference with members of the 9/11 Commission to discuss tomorrow's planned passage of legislation to implement the panel's recommendations.

Drudge's 'alleged NY Times Clinton story'

Last week, at his website, Drudge teased a New York Times article which reported that Senator Hillary Clinton views freshman Senator Barack Obama (Ill-Dem) as her "biggest obstacle" in capturing the 2008 presidential nomination but believes that his "inexperience" makes him a flawed candidate.

Drudge claimed "newsroom sources" indicated that it was "a high-impact story, but his "flash" was taken to task by the progressive media watchdog web site, Media Matters, when the Times didn't run the Adam Nagourney article the next morning.

The site also criticized ABC News for reporting on Drudge's "alleged NY Times Clinton story."

"In its write-up of Drudge's report, ABC did not mention that Drudge revised his claim about when the Times will publish the story after it became clear that Drudge's original reported publication date of January 3 was wrong," Media Matters noted.

RAW STORY has learned that the Clinton article was considered for the front page of Wednesday's Times, but for unknown reasons was postponed one day.

RAW STORY's Ron Brynaert contributed to the research and reporting of this story.