U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, was taken to task on national television this past week after stating that he would have $400,000 to invest in his businesses after President Barack Obama’s tax increases take effect.

MSNBC host Chris Jansing was flabbergasted by the remark, telling Fleming that most Americans average earning between $40,000 and $60,000 a year.

“When they hear that you only have $400,000 left over, it is not a sympathetic position,” Jansing said.

Fleming acknowledged he made $6.3 million in 2010.

He stated 90 percent of that money went into his businesses, which include dozens of Subway shops and UPS stores.

That leaves Fleming with $600,000, he said.

After feeding his family, about $400,000 remains to invest in his businesses, including new locations, updating existing locations and buying more equipment.

“Class warfare has never created a job,” Fleming said. “That’s all about creating jobs, not attacking people that make certain incomes.”

Fleming called his business acumen a virtue.

“Once we identify it as a vice, this country is going down,” Fleming said.

Boxer backs Sooners

Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., had some fun before a hearing last week to consider steering 80 percent of any BP fine money to five coastal states, including Louisiana.

Boxer thanked her colleague, committee veteran Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., for working with her. Boxer stood up and displayed a football jersey under her suit jacket bearing the crimson and white of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who sits on the committee, quickly alerted Boxer that she might have made more enemies rather than gaining a good friend through the move.

“The problem is you just lost the Alabama” senator, Vitter joked, pointing to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law, sitting next to him.

“We’re walking out.”

Scalise injured in game

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, was hobbling around the House on metal crutches last week after tearing a main ligament in his knee.

Scalise got the injury in a charity basketball game between legislators and lobbyists.

Scalise’s district neighbor, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, also played in the game.

Richmond teased Scalise in the House hallway as the injured congressman passed by.

“He was running down that line on the court, and I guess some paint just jumped up and tackled him,” Richmond said.

Landrieu secures funding

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, this past week secured $125 million in the Senate Defense Appropriation Bill for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program.

The allocation was a $5 million increase over President Barack Obama’s budget.

Louisiana has three of the most prominent programs in the country, graduating nearly 1,400 cadets each year.

The sites are at Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard and Carville.

The program takes troubled youths and high school dropouts, moving them toward college, jobs or the military.

“These programs — run by our own Louisiana National Guard — provide second chances to our students who have fallen through the cracks,” Landrieu said in a statement.

“This critical funding will continue to provide these young men and women the chance to turn their lives around.”

“The Youth ChalleNGe Program not only changes the lives of those cadets who make the choice to better themselves but also improves the communities these cadets return to upon graduation,” Landrieu added.

Cassidy holds office hours

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is receiving constituents from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at his Baton Rouge office.

Residents of the 6th District are encouraged to discuss their thoughts on legislation and federal programs with Cassidy.

Meetings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who can’t attend are encouraged to share their thoughts via the Internet at http://Cassidy.House.gov/contact-bill.

Cassidy’s Baton Rouge office is at 5555 Hilton Ave., Suite 100.

Additional information is available by calling (225) 929-7711.

Compiled by Gerard Shields, chief of The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. His email address is GerardShields@theadvocate.com.