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Heard on the Hill: Cross-Country Time Crunch

The cross-continental travel that some Members of Congress have to endure still takes a toll on some of the most seasoned legislators. 

HOH caught up with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) at a reception for Portland-based Mercy Corps on Tuesday night on the Hill and found him munching half-heartedly on hors d’oeuvres while waiting to speak to the gathered crowd.

“One of the worst aspects of this job is you have no control over your schedule,” he said, adding that he left Portland at 4:30 a.m. to arrive in D.C. and didn’t plan to get home that night until 9 p.m.

“I have one mediocre airplane meal, and … what time is it now? Is it lunch time or is it dinner time?”

Although he was unable to name a particular event that had outstanding food, Blumenauer did warn that caucus lunches are “not where you want to be eating.” But a Congressman’s schedule, he explained, tends to produce poor eating habits.

“You have too much of the wrong food at the wrong time and not enough time to do it right,” he said.

Blumenauer, who runs every morning at 6:30, said the drastic time zone change would also affect his exercise, noting the time is three hours earlier in Oregon.

After a long day that wasn’t yet over, he offered an unusually glum perspective on the Congressional lifestyle: “It’s no way to live.”

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