Berman: House may be “lame” after elections but won’t be paralyzed

September 20, 2010

The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs hasn’t lost his sense of humor…yet.

USA/Representative Howard Berman said he has been struggling for 24 years to get Congress to ease up on travel restrictions for Americans who want to go to Cuba. He’s determined to get it through his committee this year, even if it doesn’t happen until after the November election when the lawmakers are in “lame duck” session.

“We’re lame but we’re not paralyzed,” he told the Reuters Washington Summit when asked if it was possible to still get bills out of committee and to the full House for a vote during the time between the November election and the beginning of the new session in January.

Berman said he does not want to bring the topic up for a vote until he knows it can pass. So far, that is apparently not the case.

Though he could joke about the lame duck session he got in a few digs about the conservative Tea Party movement and then fiercely defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“She is always under-estimated. Yes she wants to get certain things done, and there are people who don’t want to be pushed to do those things and so that can always cause a little bit of tension,” he said.

“I think anybody who reaches the conclusion that she is part of our problems is really misreading everything about the last year and a half.”

Aside from all the intelligent talk on foreign policy and domestic politics, Berman said something that made him sound just like any ordinary American juggling car use with the family.

Asked if he had time constraints in his interview, he said “I have to get my wife so she can take the car and she can drive me back to the Capitol.”

For news from the Reuters Washington Summit, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Berman speaks at Reuters Washington Summit)

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