Which is better to travel with: Senate or House?


The Eiffel Tower
(Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)

Most folks would imagine it’s always preferable to be in the Senate. After all, there’s only 100 senators — versus 435 House members — so you have more clout. More importantly, you’ve got a six-year-term, so you don’t have to constantly raise money on a two-year cycle. Best of all, you get to ratify treaties and torment President Obama over nominations.

The only thing you don’t get is a decent meal.

In fact, we’re told, the nine senators and six spouses heading over Thursday afternoon to France for the ceremonies commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day are going to arrive at the crack of dawn Friday in Caen and enjoy a scrumptious box breakfast on the bus to Omaha Beach.

After a ceremony there they head to Sword Beach for an international ceremony and, while en route, they get to have, yes, a box lunch on the bus.

But wait, how about a nice dinner? No, after Sword Beach they take the four- hour bus ride  to Paris during which they get to enjoy — you guessed it — a box dinner. (Seriously, how much ham and cheese can these guys eat?)

They get to Paris late in the evening, stay but one night at a luxury hotel and take off the next day for home.

In contrast, the 25 House members (and, we’re told, as many as 20 spouses) are traveling at a saner pace – though another source says there weren’t that many spouses. They left Washington late Wednesday afternoon and flew to Paris, where they checked into that same hotel (where the cheapo rooms go for $600 a night, though there must be a decent government rate) on Thursday.

We understand they had several hours that day to rest up. Thursday night they enjoyed a hotel buffet dinner.

Alas, given the four-hour trip, even the House delegation had to get on the bus pre-dawn Friday and eat box lunches in Normandy and box dinners en route to Paris.

However, the House members had the good sense to spend Saturday in Paris before heading back to Washington on Sunday. On the itinerary is a brief wreath laying ceremony, but we’re told, there are other D-Day activities planned.

We’ve determined the House is the better travel companions.

Note: Unsure why, but other than GOP Reps. Ralph Hall (Tex.) and K. Michael Conaway (Tex.), we were not apprised of the Republican members accompanying House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

The other Republicans were: Reps. Michael Turner, Brad Wenstrup, Bob Latta and Steve Stivers (all of Ohio), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.), Mac Thornberry and Bill Flores (both of Texas),  and Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.).

As previously reported, the House Democrats going are: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Tex.), Ruben Hinojosa (Tex.), Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), Michael Capuano (Mass.), Susan A. Davis (Calif.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.) Hank Johnson (Ga.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), David Cicilline (R.I.) and Janice Hahn (Calif.).

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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