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Today’s Congressional odds and ends

(Sorry I didn’t get this stuff posted yesterday; I spent much of Monday on the road with Barbara Lee…)

mcnerneyportrait.jpgMcNerney tours the border: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, said Monday morning he was enjoying “a very impressive tour” of the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego County, meeting with Border Patrol officials and other federal agencies about their efforts to stem the tides of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. “What these agencies are facing is an immense challenge… They’re doing good work and we need to support them with any resources they require. It’s hard to understand the depth of the challenge just from reading over briefings and going to hearings,” he said, adding he’d like to see Washington ratchet down the fiery rhetoric of recent years and work toward a bipartisan immigration-reform solution. The National Republican Congressional Committee, striving to see the freshman lawmaker unseated later this year, issued a hit-piece yesterday assailing McNerney’s past votes: “Here’s a hint for Jerry McNerney about what ‘isn’t working’ in the federal government’s efforts to stem the flow of illegal border crossings: Voting in favor of taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants only provides greater incentive for illegal immigrants looking to cross the border. Instead of scrambling to spin his damaging record of supporting taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants, McNerney should stop pandering to his liberal leaders in Washington, and start spending more time listening to the voters in his district when it comes to an issue as important as border security and immigration reform.”

honda.jpgEshoo, Honda win Gold Mouse awards: The Web sites of Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, are among 26 House members’ sites singled out by the Congressional Management Foundation — a nonprofit, nonpartisan management consulting and research group — for being the best in Congress. (Honda won the “Gold Mouse” last year, too.) Sites were graded on how well they incorporate five basic building blocks deemed critical for effectiveness: audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation. An evaluation framework was developed by CMF and their research partners at Harvard University, Ohio State, and the University of California-Riverside that would be fair and objective while still taking into account qualitative factors that affect a visitor’s experience on a Web site.eshoo.jpg Said Eshoo: “As a member of Congress, it’s important to provide a website that serves my constituents with timely information and a convenient way to contact me with questions or concerns. I’m proud that the Congressional Management Foundation has judged my website to be one of the best in Congress. My constituents certainly deserve the best.” Read the whole 2007 Gold Mouse report here; it’s part of the CMF’s broader research project “Connecting to Congress,” funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

zoe-lofgren.jpgLofgren endorses Obama: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, yesterday announced her endorsement of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president, saying he “has the unique ability to unite Americans, and he’s building a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents that will allow us to win the White House in November and to bring the changes we desperately need. Obama understands that change does not begin in Washington, it begins by mobilizing Americans to take on special interests and to address the challenges we face. When it comes to pursuing a clean energy future, innovating to restore American competitiveness, and providing affordable health care for all Americans, Barack Obama is the leader who will bring change we can believe in.” For those keeping count of Bay Area endorsements, that’s Lofgren, Barbara Lee and George Miller for Obama, and Ellen Tauscher and Lynn Woolsey for U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; all the other local House members have stayed mum thus far.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.