Congressional Democrats huddled at Blair House all morning for the big White House summit on health care reform. But when the bells rang in the House chamber, signaling a procedural vote on a bill to reauthorize the nation’s intelligence programs, lawmakers loaded onto a U.S. Capitol Police bus and into SUV’s with tinted glass to whisk them back to Capitol Hill to vote. And then the lawmakers shuttled back to Blair House for the afternoon session of the conclave.
The lawmakers spent no more than 15 minutes at the Capitol before going back downtown.
“It’s going great!” exclaimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as she walked through the House corridors.
“It is fascinating,” said Rep. John Kline (R-MN), as he boarded the bus.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) wasn’t so sure.
“The bottom line is if (the president) will reject the Senate bill and start over,” Cantor said as he slid into an SUV with his security detail, a can of Cherry Coke in hand.
“I think we’re seeing who wants to solve the problem and who is the problem,” said Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ). “And we’ll see a little more of that as the day goes on.”
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) was one of the most sought-after figures at the Capitol as he exited down the House steps toward the idling bus. Cooper is a “Blue Dog” Democrat who has had differences with the Obama Administration over spending.
“If I talk to one of you I have to talk to all of you,” Cooper said as a horde of reporters chased him down the steps. “You’re all equally beautiful.”
-FOX’s John Brandt contributed to this report.