The unsung food heroes of the debt debate
August 2nd, 2011
03:00 PM ET
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The long road to compromise over America's debt ceiling was paved with harsh words, hard work and, of course, takeout dinners.

Beyond the headlines and the partisan attacks were the real people doing the work of governing - and working up quite an appetite. And those folks feeding the hungry mouths on Capitol Hill kept things moving. As one 18-hour day rolled into another, takeout kept people going.

"Pizza seems to be the food of choice when they are arguing," Ron Neumeyer, part owner of Armand's Pizza franchise in Washington D.C. explained to CNN’s Lisa Desjardins. Guys like Neumeyer, those veteran caterers of late-night policy debates, know to keep an eye on the news because intractable debate means an uptick in orders.

Still, this time, they noticed something different.

"They look tired," says Chris Park, manager of the Capitol Hill franchise location.

Neumeyer agrees. "It feels a little different. It feels like everyone is insisting my way or the highway."

Still, both parties reportedly agree on pizza, at least in principle. But like public policy, the devil is in the details or, in this case, the toppings. "Republicans probably favor more meat," Neumeyer says, and "more vegetarians on the Democrats’ side." Yes, that old cliché does bear out, at least for orders from Armand’s.

But no matter what they put on the pie, the folks at Armand's take a special pride in their work, Neumeyer explains: "It's nice to be kind of in the buzz and the activity and knowing that you’re feeding them some good pizza so they can work late and hopefully clean this mess up."

Pizza wasn't the sole food represented at the gab fest. According to The New York Times, Chinese food was on the menu during one session involving Senate Republicans and their staff. The paper says the group laughed when they opened a fortune cookie, which reportedly read: “You may be spending too much money.”

More on the debt debate

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Filed under: Fast Food • Pizza • Radio • White House

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sue Haarmann

    Concerning all the pizza's ordered for our wonderful congressmen debating raising the debt limit. How much money was the taxpayers on the hook for all those pizzas? Maybe, we should have docked all those eager Republicans and Democrats $100 a day for taking so long to do their job!! How much did these idiots get paid for debating for so long?? Sue Haarmann, Illinois

    August 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  2. deployedmarine

    I love the people who come to the food and entertainment sections and complain about the new relevancy of the articles. Seems these people forget that these sections are not hard news sections.

    August 3, 2011 at 6:43 am |
  3. RB2

    I'm sure the average citizen's tax dollars covered this too. How about the representatives of the American people start bringing their lunch from home like a sensible role model instead of getting all the handouts from us hard working Americans.

    It's a shame that these idiot's can't be fired based upon their performance. These goons are supposed to be representing our country. It's no wonder most other countries hate us when the folks representing us do such a horrible job. The only thing these people want to represent and protect is what's in their bank accounts. Security of our homeland? No, more like security of their own little individual thrones.

    Sea lions would make better representatives of our country!

    August 3, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  4. EB

    Fun topic.

    @Truth this isn't the Vatican sir.

    @Sheri Pizza is also a big part of why we're losing the battle against obesity in this country, especially child obesity.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • RB2

      True, where was Michelle Obama when they were ordering their 50 everything garbage pies with extra grease saying, "No... We... Cant!"

      What a circus. A bunch of circus monkeys with symbols, clanging them together dancing around, flinging verbal poo at each other.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:08 am |
      • YM4


        August 3, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Faith

      No, inability to regulate amounts of food is why we're having such a problem with obesity. One, two, even three slices of pizza for a meal isn't going to make someone fat. A whole pie, multiple times a week, with no exercise, THAT is going to do it. Let's not attack the food, it isn't doing it. We are.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  5. Steve

    Once I again I must comment on how patheric this so called "news agency" is. How can you post such dribble , whether it be in print or online? If you think this is news or journalism, then you need to get a refund on that internet degree you received. This "story" is not worthy of the time I wasted reading it. In fact, everyone that reads it will be dumber for doing so. Congradulations CNN, you have created the first stupid machine.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Steve

      Yes, I spelled Congratulations incorrectly.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
      • okie joe

        Also, the word is drivel, not dribble. You can look it up.

        August 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Jason

      I highly enjoy the fact that you obviously continue to read , and post messages on, websites that you think so little of.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Ken

      Troll alert...oh wait, too late...

      There are hard news stories carried by CNN, but we also need the lighter fare from time to time. This news story just shows a side bar as to how such an event affects other parts of the community. (Must be hard to open up a food place in D. C. nowadays, with the established ones in place...)

      August 3, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Pete@Steve

      Chuck Norris told me that you are an idiot.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  6. Sheri

    I will say that pizza seems to be one of those businesses not harmed by the low economy. I own a pizza parlor in a small town in northern California and our business has actually doubled even tripled its profits since the economy went south. This is also in a county with an almost 20% unemployment rate. Pizza is good and pizza is cheap and you can feed a whole family for around $25. We are one of those businesses that has actually thrived in this economy.

    August 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Jason

      So, you own the business, but have no idea if business has a) doubled or b) tripled? Wow.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
      • gsn

        @Jason: She could be telling her profit from month-to-month basis. There is no need for more sarcasm.

        August 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
      • Sheri

        My husband runs the books. And from month to month it changes. Go bully someone else.

        August 3, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  7. Truth

    Takeout meals are part of why this dragged on so long. My thought is to lock the chambers, and let NOBODY in or out until agreement is reached. No going home, no meals coming in and NO bathroom breaks. By the end, the place will look like the Wisconsin Capital building did after the prolonged sit-in, but I think it would have eliminated a whole lot of general foolishness.

    August 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jason

      Arguing out the minutiae of complex disagreements until they come to an agonizing compromise that pleases no one, is actually what they're supposed to do. That's democracy, the ugly side of it at least. A dictator can decide something in two seconds, but try having one first and let us know how you like it.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
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