Penny Pinching

More Money for Town Halls

Town-hall protestors may be crazy ,but Congress is hoping they at least have the courtesy to RSVP: $500,000 is being set aside for a pilot program for senators to send out town-hall-meeting reminders as part of a 5.8 percent budget boost that Congress recently gave itself. Other items in the $4.7 billion budget include $30,000 for receptions for foreign dignitaries and $4 million for consultants, with Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed nine each. The largest increases dealt with infrastructure; the House office building budget jumped by 128 percent to $84 million, some of which will go to replace a roof at the Rayburn House building and renovate the Cannon House, while the Government Printing Office will nab 155 percent more than last year, a total of $12.7 million for technology upgrades and repairs. The bill heads to the Senate this week, where it's likely to be approved.