GOP Retreats From Greenbrier, to Philadelphia

Members Choose Closer Site for Annual Gathering

Posted January 21, 2004 at 4:56pm

House and Senate Republicans’ traditional weekend in the country has been replaced this year with a trip up Interstate 95, as GOP lawmakers will head to downtown Philadelphia next week for their annual retreat.

The gathering, scheduled to take place Jan. 29-31 at the Loews Hotel in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, will be themed “The Congress of Tomorrow.”

Retreats typically take place at resorts such as West Virginia’s Greenbrier and Pennsylvania’s Nemacolin, but this year’s confab has been slated for Philadelphia, according to Republican sources, partly because some Members were unhappy about taking the six- or seven-hour train ride to the Greenbrier.

While some other facilities are situated closer to Washington, none was deemed to be large enough to accommodate the combination of House and Senate Republicans.

Entertainment during the retreat will be provided by country music singer Sara Evans and comedian Dennis Miller, who has been meeting recently with top Republicans in advance of launching his new television show on CNBC.

Also on tap for Members is a video produced by the House Republican Conference featuring clips of GOP lawmakers touting the party’s legislative achievements on television.

In honor of the host city, the video will be set to music from “Rocky,” the boxing movie set in Philadelphia.

But the trip won’t just be fun and games. House and Senate Republicans will have some joint events and will then separate for breakout sessions on various policy issues. Representatives from the Bush administration will be on hand to lay out the White House’s legislative priorities. The Bush- Cheney ’04 campaign is likely to send emissaries as well.

Also on the political front, the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee will brief lawmakers on the electoral map, while a handful of GOP pollsters will talk about the party’s standing with the public.