As Congress returned Tuesday for nasty debates over Iran nukes, the debt ceiling (and possible government shutdown) and defunding Planned Parenthood, some 14 House members were resting up from a week-long trip to Hawaii.
The members and their spouses took off Aug. 31 to, according to a planning document, “familiarize” themselves with “Hawaii’s Department of defense assets” and “missions within the region” and to attend a “special commemoration” of the 70th anniversary of the formal Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri on Sept. 2.
It sounded like a fine journey via military jet (business class) to stay at the oceanfront Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. Dinners were planned at the famous Hy’s Steak House — the superb porterhouse is always worth the $88.95 — and the upscale Roy’s Hawaii with its great fusion menu. (We hope they tried the lobster pot stickers.)
The schedule included tours of various facilities, including the Red Hill Fuel Depot, and briefings by various military brass, including Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.
Fortunately, spouses were given separate programs, including a trip to the deeply moving USS Arizona Memorial, the site where more than 1,000 sailors and Marines were killed Dec. 7, 1941.
The schedule thoughtfully included substantial “executive time” in the afternoons. This, as Loop Fans know, is often a thinly veiled euphemism for some fine lounging at the pool, or exploring beautiful Hawaii.
The huge delegation, which, according to a included several members of the House Armed Services Committee, was led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and included GOP Reps. Joe Wilson (S.C.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Richard Nugent (Fla.), Paul Cook (Calif.), Robert Latta (Ohio), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.) and Del. Aumua Mata Coleman Radewagen (American Samoa) and Democrat Joe Courtney (Conn.). Two other Democrats, Reps. Pete Aguilar (Calif.) and Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), were to fly out via commercial airlines.
If the above look a little sun-kissed and mellowed, we know why.
Update: An earlier version of this post said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) was on this delegation to Hawaii. He did not make the trip.