Watch CBSN Live

Housing Gaffe Creep

John McCain's housing gaffe has finally spread into the energy debate. It was only a matter of time.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) today floated the idea that federal workers should be encouraged to work four ten-hour days per week rather than eight over five days to conserve energy. Some local and state governments have pushed the idea on their own workers and studies have shown it can reduce traffic, save gas and otherwise connvserve energy.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in something of a reprise of the tire-guage attacks, called the plan pitifully too little. “Today, Rep. Hoyer has finally given the American people a glimpse of the Majority’s long-promised energy plan: drive smaller cars, wait for the wind, and let bureaucrats work less,” said Boehner, before calling for a vote on the Republican energy plan.

Hoyer fired back by comparing Boehner's comments to McCain's housing gaffe. Here's the connection: McCain didn't know how many houses he owns and Boehner, said Hoyer, didn't...well, here it is in Hoyer's words: 

"Just like Senator McCain doesn’t know how many houses he owns, Mr. Boehner doesn’t seem to know what he has proposed for energy policy. In a statement released today, he criticizes a proposal for increasing conservation by more effectively implementing existing policy allowing a flexible 40-hour work week among federal employees, while at the same time saying that promoting conservation is a cornerstone of the House Republicans’ energy proposal. In addition, in an eagerness to score points rather than solve problems, Mr. Boehner failed to realize his key assertion, that federal employees would work less, is completely, factually wrong. Federal employees would not work less under a flexible work schedule, they would continue to work 40-hours per week, and this policy is already being implemented in a limited fashion by a Republican Administration."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel deflected the charge that Boehner had committed a McCain-like housing gaffe. “The Democrats’ response on this issue once again misses the point," he e-mailed. "They still refuse to allow a vote on any policy that will increase the supply of American energy to help bring down gas prices." He added that Republicans generaly favor a flexible and "family-friendly" work schedule but that unions often oppose it, "but let’s be clear: a four-day workweek for federal bureaucrats simply isn’t an energy policy."

Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards isn't convinced. "One thing is clear-Mr Boehner still doesn't know his energy policy. For conservation or not for conservation? Not family friendly or family friendly? When Republicans finally decide they really do support the comprehensive energy plan Americans want and are done playing politics they can let us know, we would be happy to make real progress in a bipartisan way," she said in an e-mail.