Congress leaders of advanced age: Not an issue

By Laurie Kellman

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 18 2010 11:30 a.m. MST

WASHINGTON — Growing old in Congress isn't for sissies. It's sometimes cited as an issue for the top leaders — especially this year after an election in which voters demanded new faces on Capitol Hill.

"There they go again," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, 71, responding to questions Thursday by adding a variation on a line from Ronald Reagan, whose age was sometimes mentioned.

Hoyer says he feels fine, and that it's not about age, it's about experience.

He is the oldest of the four lawmakers atop the leadership in the current Congress and the next.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 70. The top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, turns 71 next month. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is 68. The youngster among them is Ohio Republican John Boehner, who turned 61 on Wednesday.

Among Boehner's birthday gifts: a cake, a song, and election to be the next speaker of the House.

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