The Washington Times - November 18, 2010, 01:36PM

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, still smarting from the thumping Democrats took in the Nov. 2 congressional elections, showed off some well-received gallows humor during his weekly briefing with reporters.

Mr. Hoyer, who come January will be forced out of his post when Republicans seize control of the House, pleaded with reporters not to ignore him during House Democrats exile to the minority party.

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“The test is going to be how many of you will be at the pen and pad (reporters briefing) that I have on January 5,” joked the Maryland Democrat at the beginning of Thursday’s media briefing. “I want to see all the loyalists here.

“I’ve been there, done that. Remember when we started this cycle when I became more relevant? There were more people sitting around,” he said, referring to when he assumed the post of House majority leader when his party took over the House in January 2007.

“We’re going to reserve the seats in whatever room we may have — in the parking lot or where ever it is.”

Hoyer’s lighthearted comments generated hearty laughter from the packed room of reporters, with one shouting back “you’ll always be relevant.”

The lawmaker will retain his spot as the No. 2 House Democrat when the 112th Congress convenes in January  — albeit it in the minority — as he was elected House minority whip by his peers on Wednesday.

Current House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, the incoming House Majority Leader, likely will move to

Hoyer’s spacious Capitol office by the end of the year.