Fla. congressman asks Pelosi for football break

Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Thursday's championship football game between No. 2 Florida and No. 1 Oklahoma is obviously a big game, but big enough to shut down Congress?

Rep. Cliff Stearns hopes so.

Stearns, a Republican from Ocala, wrote to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday asking her to move votes scheduled for Thursday evening and Friday so House members from Florida and Oklahoma can go to the Bowl Championship Series national title game.

Stearns wrote, "As you may be aware, on Thursday January 8, the University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma will play for the national football championship. Members of the Florida and Oklahoma delegations have expressed interest in attending the game as the congressional schedule allows. However, votes are currently scheduled to continue into Thursday night and Friday afternoon. We ask that you move these votes to either Wednesday and/or Thursday morning to allow Members to attend this historic game."

Oddly - or maybe not - none of the other members Stearns referred to as "we" signed the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

To help his cause, Stearns added a handwritten message to Pelosi.

"Madam Speaker - Kindly consider. Thanks, Cliff," he wrote.

Pelosi's office said she would not agree to the request. Among the votes to be considered Thursday afternoon is certification of the Electoral College vote that gives Barack Obama the presidency.

Stearns was first elected to Congress in 1988. While he didn't attend the University of Florida, his district includes the Gainesville area, where the school is located. The game is being played in Miami.

A message left after hours at Stearns' Washington office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

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