Washington briefs: Richmond pitches D.C. shutout

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, predicted a win before the game and then promptly backed up his words with a pitching shutout to yet again star in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

The Democrats beat the Republicans for the fourth straight year and did so in overwhelming fashion with a 22-0 victory — the most lopsided win in more than 50 years.

Richmond pitched a three-hit shutout over seven innings at Washington Nationals Park and even got a few hits, including a triple, at the plate. The game was Richmond’s third straight starring appearance.

He pitched in school at Morehouse College and reportedly still throws at least 80 mph. Some colleagues have called him the congressional game’s most dominant player ever.

Richmond wore a No. 42 Brooklyn Dodgers jersey on Thursday night to honor Jackie Robinson.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, went hitless as the only other member of the Louisiana delegation to participate.

But the game also was about charity fundraising. Members of Congress said the event this year raised more than $300,000 for the Washington Literacy Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

Landrieu geography

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., made a geographical faux pas on the Senate floor while debating amendments to the proposed immigration overhaul legislation.

On the topic of border fencing, Landrieu referenced a Senate colleague from South Dakota and noted that the state “only has a border with Canada.”

That might take some people from North Dakota by surprise.

The Republican Party of Louisiana and conservative Internet blogs were quick to seize on the gaffe at Landrieu’s expense and contend that she “needs a geography lesson.”

During the same debate, the state party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee also criticized Landrieu for opposing a GOP amendment that would require building many more miles of border fencing before beginning to offer a pathway to citizenship for many living in the U.S. without legal permission.

The GOP seized on the wording Landrieu used to call it a “dumb fence” idea that would waste taxpayer funds.

What was left out of the criticism though was that Landrieu argued in favor of a “smart fence” approach because many people climb over or dig under the physical fencing.

She argued for the immigration bill’s approach that includes more actual fencing combined with increased border radar, sensors and unmanned drones to monitor the border.

“We need to build a smart fence,” she said. “And a fence is not just a physical structure, which could be built out of a variety of different materials with or without barbed wire on the top.”

Vitter and the EPA

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is continuing to help stall the Senate confirmation of the president’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA’s air and radiation office, was successfully voted out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month on a party-line vote just one week after Vitter had led a GOP boycott of the vote.

Vitter is blocking McCarthy from getting a final Senate floor vote until he gets more information that he has requested, including scientific data used to justify EPA rulemaking.

“In your nomination hearing, you pledged to provide the Committee with relevant information we requested and that you would provide all documents and other information to the Committee in a timely manner,” Vitter wrote in a recent letter to McCarthy. “This is especially important in connection with our ongoing pursuit of transparency.”

Critics have said even the EPA cannot access some of the decades-old information Vitter is requesting.

Vitter, who is the ranking GOP member of the committee, argued that what he is doing is similar to how Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is handling the confirmation process of Nuclear Regulatory Committee Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane.

Boxer has requested additional documentation on some nuclear plants before moving Macfarlane forward on her second term as chairwoman.

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com.