Boehlert is serving his last year as Science Committee chairman thanks to term limits. Although he is next in line to head the Transportation Committee (a principal dispenser of pork), current Chairman Don Young of Alaska is expected to block Boehlert's ascension. Boehlert's lifetime support record by the American Conservative Union is only 40 percent.
A footnote: Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin is next in line at Transportation after Boehlert, but he may be stopped because of his support for a gas tax increase. That choice chairmanship could fall to Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. of Tennessee.
In sessions preceding their holiday recess, Democratic members of Congress peppered their floor speeches and press releases with references to Republicans as "Scrooge" and the "Grinch."
Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said the Republican budget bill was "a gift from an extremist Grinch." Rep. Dave Obey of Wisconsin said "Scrooge-onomics" best described Republican budget policy. "Bah humbug!" bellowed Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in two floor speeches. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said comparing Republicans with Scrooge "gives Scrooge a bad name." At least 19 members engaged in such rhetoric.
A footnote: Responding to this Democratic holiday-bashing, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire declared: "Let me point out that 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' is a wonderful story. A fellow who went to school in New Hampshire wrote it. It is a fantasy."