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Richard Neal

The best of times

WASHINGTON - With its red and blue lights flashing, Steny H. Hoyer's burly, black Chevy Suburban hurtles through the streets of the capital, taking him to old places in new ways.

For the first time since the Maryland Democrat assumed his influential role as House majority leader, he's able to sit down at the White House with a president from his own party.

"I get along very well with President Obama," Hoyer said in an interview. "He is a very easy guy to work with, very thoughtful, very open to suggestions."

Hoyer came to Congress in 1981 after gaining prominence in Annapolis. But until now, for all his time in Washington, he had served in the...