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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

 11:45 AM 

Kagen off to White House for social gathering

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, is headed to the White House tonight for a bipartisan social gathering.

President Obama has made a practice of inviting lawmakers to the White House for various social functions, and Kagen said during a conference call with reporters this morning that he hoped to hook up with the president and his wife to talk about issues other than just health care.

Kagen said the Dem caucus met with Obama aide David Axelrod yesterday about health care. The allergist said he told Axelrod about his belief that there needs to be more transparency in the marketplace for health care costs.

"I'd like to see a medical menu where you stand in line at the pharmacy and you'll get to pay the same lowest price as the person in front of you or behind you," Kagen said.

Tonight's event will be Kagen's third trip to the White House since Obama took over. He also participated in a news conference on small business and stimulus funds and attended a meeeting with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel.

Kagen was also asked this morning about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's insistence that the CIA misled her in its briefings about torture techniques being used after the 9/11 attacks. Some Republicans have criticized Pelosi for accusing the CIA of lying and some want her to step down from her post.

Kagen called it a "he said, she said" situation in which the truth may never be known. He said he'd like to see an investigation into the use of torture in interrogations.

"I think it's very imp to establish that the United States does not believe in torture, does not engage in torture and would be pleased to see an investigation into all uses of torture," he said.


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