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Fire Update

Capitol Police had no new information to report on who is to blame for six separate trash can fires that burned in women’s restrooms in Senate office buildings about two weeks ago. [IMGCAP(1)]

The fires, which took place in the Dirksen and Hart buildings, all quickly were extinguished and no one was harmed. No similar incidents have since been reported, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a department spokeswoman.

“We’re still asking the staff to remain vigilant, and if they see anything specific … to give us a call,” she said.

Committee Funded. The special House panel investigating the disputed Aug. 2 Agriculture appropriations vote now has a $300,000 budget.

The House approved a $300,000 tab last week without dissent for the House Select Committee to Investigate the Voting Irregularities of August 2, 2007. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had asked for a million bucks to look into the vote on a motion to prohibit providing welfare benefits to illegal immigrants.

But the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), was happy with what the committee got.

“I commend both parties for wanting to get to the bottom of what happened that night and for providing this initial allocation of resources for the Select Committee to do its work,” Pence said.

Medical News. Freshman Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio) was resting and in stable condition last week after emergency colon surgery.

Wilson underwent a routine colonoscopy Monday in Ohio. But after traveling to Washington, D.C., for legislative business on Tuesday, he reported to the Attending Physician’s office because he wasn’t feeling well.

Wilson eventually was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, where he underwent surgery for a colonic perforation.

A statement released Thursday by his office said the Congressman is expected to be in the hospital for five to seven days and then will continue to rest at home. He hopes to return to a light Congressional schedule within a few weeks.

“I’m optimistic,” Wilson said, according to the statement. “I want to go back to work as soon I can.”

Cards and flowers are not accepted at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) underwent successful surgery Friday at Massachusetts General Hospital to clear a blocked artery in his neck. His office said he would be released in several days, according to The Associated Press.

— Elizabeth Brotherton, Steven T. Dennis and Lauren W. Whittington

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