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New Counsel

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Tuesday that she had selected Irv Nathan to serve as House general counsel. He will succeed Geraldine Gennet in the position next month. [IMGCAP(1)]

Nathan is currently a senior partner at Arnold & Porter and previously put in time at the Justice Department and in a variety of Hill staff jobs. Notably, Nathan recently worked on contract for the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the fired U.S. attorneys scandal.

While Nathan will be tasked with representing the interests of all House Members, a House GOP leadership aide said Republicans were not consulted on the pick.

CVC Tours Controversy Continues. Forty-one Senators sent acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers a letter last week urging him to ensure that staff-led tours continue once the Capitol Visitor Center opens.

Current plans would allow staff to accompany visitors during tours at the Capitol, but tours themselves would be led by employees of the Capitol Guide Service.

Official guides have better knowledge of the Capitol’s history and would be able to better coordinate groups during an emergency, supporters of the plan say. But Members on both sides of the aisle continue to advocate for Congressional staff to keep giving tours once the CVC opens.

“The feedback we receive from our constituents prove that this service is among the most appreciated and educational of the Washington, D.C. experience,” the Oct. 19 letter reads. “While staff-led tours are tailored to provide a unique historical prospective of our Nation’s Capitol as it relates to our home states, they also often serve to provide tours when the Capitol Guide Service is not able to accommodate additional tour groups.”

Early New Year. House Democrats will begin charting their course for the second half of the 110th Congress next month.

The Democratic Caucus will host an issues conference for Members on Nov. 13, focusing on topics such as Iraq War policy and energy legislation. Further details of the gathering, which will be held in Washington, D.C., have not yet been released.

— Ben Pershing, Elizabeth Brotherton and Jennifer Yachnin

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