The Washington Times - June 5, 2008, 03:27PM

The major question among congressional Republicans and Republican strategists is whether their party has yet come to terms with the sickness that has afflicted them for years, and which cost them their congressional majorities in 2006. Rep. Tom Feeney, a Florida Republican, would probably say the party is still ailing.

Feeney today blasted the groundbreaking of a headquarters for the U.S. Institute of Peace, attended by President Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying it was perfect symbolism for the same day Congress approved its record budget.

“Only in Washington would bureaucrats spend $100 million to build a ridiculous U.S. Institute of Peace and pass the largest tax increase in American history while Florida families are struggling,” he said. “Both parties need to pull their heads out the sand and listen to the cries from hardworking Americans,” he said.

The headquarters was the result of a $100 million earmark dropped into a bill by Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, reported CQToday, a publication of Congressional Quarterly.

CQToday said Bush once listed the earmark, which passed as part of a massive spending bill for 2005, as a project he’d like to see deleted, but he apparently got over that — in his remarks today he paid “homage to Ted Stevens for helping secure the funding for this important site.”

Stephen Dinan, National political reporter, The Washington Times