Robert Novak

Once the White House agreed to Jaczko, Reid released the holds he had placed on close to 40 nominees. The Senate immediately confirmed a dozen previously stalled nominations -- including ambassadors to the Czech Republic, El Salvador and Ireland, and the U.S. attorney for Oregon.


The House conservative economy bloc's pessimism over controlling federal spending deepened Tuesday when Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson granted $1 million to start a national health museum.

President Bill Clinton got the ball rolling for the museum by authorizing $500,000 in 1997. So far, only $10 million has been raised for the $200 million project.

High-spending Republican chairmen of the Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittees -- Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and former Rep. Jon Porter of Illinois -- for years sought museum money against conservative economizers. In joining the appropriators, Thompson said visitors to the museum would be educated on how to live a healthier life.


Republican "Eagles," the party's high rollers, were brought into Washington Tuesday and Wednesday for the Republican National Committee's (RNC) "2003 Presidential Gala" and enjoyed a rare treat: a private dinner with Dick Cheney.

An Eagle qualified for a seat at the Wednesday night "gala" addressed by President Bush, along with two breakfasts, a lunch and a post-dinner reception. But the biggest benefit was a relatively intimate dinner Tuesday night at the Willard Hotel addressed by the usually reclusive vice president.

The price for being an Eagle is $15,000 annually. That fee qualifies the contributor for two major RNC events a year, including Wednesday's "gala."

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

©Creators Syndicate