Congressional Delegation Planning Summer Recess Trips

Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nevada
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Two Nevada lawmakers plan trips to Israel during the congressional summer recess, while a third is due to leave Friday on an intelligence mission.

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., is scheduled to leave Friday for a two-week trip on behalf of the House Intelligence Committee. Spokeswoman Amy Spanbauer said the destination could not be disclosed.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is among 25 House Democrats leaving Aug. 3 for an eight-day trip to the Mideast.

Costs for Berkley and her husband, Larry Lehrner, are being paid by the American Israel Education Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes relations between the nations, chief of staff Richard Urey said.

On Aug. 23, the foundation is sponsoring a nine-day trip to Israel for House Republicans including Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev. It will be the first Middle East trip for freshman Porter and his wife, Laurie.

"The Middle East obviously is in an important phase right now and the congressman wants to enhance his knowledge," Porter spokeswoman Traci Scott said.

Berkley, a member of the House International Relations Committee, will make her third trip to Israel since being elected to the House in 1998.

The House recessed July 25 for an annual August break. It is due to reconvene after Labor Day. The Senate is expected to recess at the end of this week.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans no overseas travel during the recess, spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said. He plans a campaign fund-raising trip, plus a vacation and public events in Nevada.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., has not finalized his plans, spokesman Jack Finn said.

Porter is on an eight-day trip to Alaska focused on touring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Scott said. He departed Saturday on the excursion sponsored by the House Transportation Committee.

In Israel next month, Republicans and Democrats are scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Knesset officials, and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, according to Urey and the office of Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., who will be traveling with Porter.

Democrats also will meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, Urey said. It was not clear Monday whether the Republicans also will meet with Abbas.