Capitol Hill Buzz: House Republicans quiz Scott Walker

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2015 1:28 PM
Capitol Hill Buzz: House Republicans quiz Scott Walker

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans wanted to know what Scott Walker tells voters about a would-be president who lacks a college degree. So they asked the GOP Wisconsin governor about it Tuesday, and they say he passed the quiz with flying colors.

The potential presidential candidate met privately at Republican Party headquarters with dozens of GOP lawmakers. Fellow Republican Wisconsinite Rep. Paul Ryan, among those who sponsored the gathering, said most hadn't met Walker before and wanted to "kick his tires."

Attendees say he spoke about topics ranging from foreign affairs to immigration, and took some questions. One of which came from Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, who wanted to know how he handles the question about his failure to graduate from Marquette University.

"He said 70 percent of the country is with him," said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., who happens to be a college professor.

That number was a reference to Census Bureau figures showing that around 71 percent of Americans age 18 and up do not have a college degree.

Some lawmakers said Walker's lack of a degree might help voters relate to him. They say he told them he left college to take a job and hopes people will judge him by his more recent accomplishments, such as being Wisconsin governor.

Walker's lack of a degree has been highlighted during his fight this year to cut the University of Wisconsin's budget. He has said the university system could make up the cuts if professors taught extra classes, leading professors to say Walker doesn't understand how much time they spend meeting with students and doing research outside class.

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer thinks members of Congress should get a raise.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate make $174,000 a year. Although that's far more than most Americans, they haven't gotten a raise or a cost-of-living increase since 2009.

Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, says it was appropriate to keep congressional salaries flat during the recession, but that it's now time for members to make more.

"To continue that on simply will dictate that the only people who can serve are the rich, and I don't think that's what the founding fathers had in mind," the Maryland Democrat said at his weekly briefing for reporters Tuesday. "And frankly I see the cost of living adjustment as not a raise, but a staying even."

Hoyer didn't mention a dollar figure, but his idea won't go anywhere without support from the Republicans who run the House. They have not embraced it and the House was on track to approve a spending bill Tuesday that would block an automatic cost-of-living increase for lawmakers.

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Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.