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Congress: Boehner's calming influence -- and cocktail party

Roll Call: “Republicans and Democrats alike said Boehner has had a calming influence in a time of crisis.” Behind closed doors at bipartisan prayer service, he said, “Our nation mourns for the victims. It yearns for peace. And it thirsts for answers.”

Last night, however, Boehner hosted a cocktail party of the RNC at the same time as the memorial in Tucson. “Boehner turned down a Tuesday invitation from Obama to fly to Tucson with him, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers for the Wednesday night memorial service,” Roll Call reported. http://bit.ly/fHeWKb

Starting over: “House Republicans gather today in Baltimore to plot the path forward for their hard-fought new majority under the inevitable shadow of the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., which essentially put the GOP agenda on hold this week,” Roll Call writes. “But Members insist they don’t plan to forestall their agenda for long and see no reason to alter their strategy for implementing it, even if they get a later start than they hoped.”

More on speakers: “Conservative commentator Dennis Prager will keynote today’s dinner, while columnist George Will be Friday’s dinner keynote. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), who engineered the 1994 Republican revolution, and former Sen. Phil Gramm (Texas) will speak to Members at a Friday breakfast. Also Friday, conservative economists Larry Kudlow and Arthur Laffer, the economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan for whom the “Laffer curve” is named, will lead a session on creating jobs and growing the economy. And GOP Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Rick Perry of Texas will brief Republican lawmakers on innovative policies that they are pursuing in the states.”

Bloomberg News: Representative Darrell Issa, House Republicans’ new chief investigator, is expanding his oversight committee to focus on the heart of President Barack Obama’s legislative achievements. The California Republican, who has called Obama’s administration 'corrupt,' says he will hold hundreds of hearings as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform." More: "He has created two subcommittees to scrutinize policies defining Obama’s first two years in office: the $814 billion economic-stimulus plan and the bailouts of banks and automakers. A third panel will oversee Obama’s health-care overhaul."