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Heard on the Hill: What’s the Buzz?

It’s often true on Capitol Hill that the boss (i.e., the Member of Congress) sets the tone for an office. Staffers frequently come to dress and speak in the style of the guy (or gal) in charge.

Aides to Sen. Frank Lautenberg are taking that maxim to the extreme: Five of the New Jersey Democrat’s staffers have buzzed their hair to show camaraderie with Lautenberg, who is losing his own silvery mane as he undergoes treatment for cancer in the stomach.

The freshly shorn staffers include Chief Counsel Doug Mehan, Senior Policy Adviser David Garten, Legislative Assistant Dan McCarthy, Communications Director Caley Gray and Project Specialist Chris Summerhayes (who works in the Senator’s state office). The nearly bald staffers welcomed Lautenberg when he arrived in Washington this week.

Lautenberg was diagnosed on Feb. 18 with lymphoma, a treatable form of cancer, and began chemotherapy the next day. He’s had two sessions so far.

Lautenberg professed being surprised and touched by the gesture. “When I first saw the buzz cuts, I thought an Army recruiter had come through the office,” he tells HOH. “The work we do brings about solidarity — both professional and personal. I am very grateful.”

Lautenberg’s Chief of Staff Dan Katz (who HOH notes already sports a close-cut ’do) tells HOH that the office trend is stimulating the economy. “Lately, when Tony and the gang in the Senate Barber Shop sees one of our staffers walk in, they don’t even have to ask — they just fire up the clippers,” he says.

We guess it’s true that the staff that shaves together stays together.

[Insert Toilet Humor Here.] Starlet Mandy Moore did all the typical celebrity visit stuff when she came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday — you know, met with Members, ran her potty mouth and posed for photos in front of a row of toilets.

The singer-actress took part in the World’s Longest Toilet Queue in Upper Senate Park, part of a mass event across the world held to raise awareness of water and sanitation issues. As a celeb ambassador for Population Services International, Moore met with Members including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to discuss her recent trip to Southern Sudan, where she visited with locals who lack access to clean water and studied ways to provide better sanitation.

Blumenauer tells HOH that the starlet was well-informed, noting she knew about his Water for the Poor Act, which allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to bring clean water to the world’s poorest areas.

“It’s impressive to see actors and musicians so engaged in the global water crisis, which impacts one-sixth of the world’s population,” Blumenauer says.

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