High Net Worth on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers' wealth reportedly increased this past year


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Money in the Bank

While Americans were struggling with a sluggish economy congressional leaders actually saw their net worth rise in the past year.

The Hill looked at financial disclosure reports released Wednesday. It found House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was worth more than $35 million in 2010 -- that is a 62 percent jump from the previous year.

House Speaker John Boehner's wealth inched up to a little more than $2 million. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reported at least $3.4 million, an almost 10 percent rise from 2009. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reported just under $10 million -- his net worth grew almost 29 percent in the last year.

Cool It

Scientists predict the sun is going into a period of unusually low activity. The announcement comes from experts at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory. They say around 2020 sunspots could disappear for years or even decades.

Frank Hill of the NSO calls it highly unusual and unexpected. Scientists are still trying to figure out what that would mean for the Earth's climate.

The Associated Press notes -- quote -- "it might mean a little less increase in global warming."

Sunspot hibernation has happened before mainly during the 17th century, when a so-called "little Ice Age" occurred.

Heating Up

And speaking of the sun, green advocacy groups have a message for the White House that the clock is ticking on a solar panel promise made last year.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced last October that solar panels and a solar water heater would be installed on the roof of the White House by this spring. However, spring officially ends next Tuesday.

Mother Nature Network notes -- quote -- "hopefully the warmer weather will bring sunshine to a promise that's starting to look a bit cloudy."

The Energy Department says it is in a -- quote -- "active procurement" phase of the project.