Sept. 2, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Heard on the Hill: The Diesel Rips Off the Viper

A Case of Mistaken Identity. While it’s no secret that there’s a tad bit of animosity between the House and Senate, Members rarely admit to it.

But Rep. Diane Watson alluded to the divide during a recent briefing that she hosted on the Senate side — and perhaps in a case of wishful thinking, she even mistook one of her own for a Member of the upper chamber.

The California Democrat sponsored a star-studded forum on the environment Thursday afternoon with “Avatar” director James Cameron, actress Sigourney Weaver, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist Thomas Friedman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. And Watson, who chairs the Congressional Entertainment Caucus, specifically mentioned she managed to reserve the ornate Dirksen Auditorium in the Dirksen Senate Office Building for the occasion.

“We’re always privileged to come over, and we will thank our upper house members for allowing us the privilege,” Watson joked.

Watson then spotted a fellow Member walking into the room and urged him to join her, saying: “Come down, Senator. Come on down.”

Only Watson wasn’t speaking to a Senator — she actually had spotted Rep. Ed Markey (D), who considered running for the Massachusetts Senate seat left vacant after the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) but decided to remain in the House. (The seat is now occupied by Republican Sen. Scott Brown.)

Watson quickly corrected herself — “I mean Congressman,” she said — and Markey took it in stride, shouting, “I didn’t run! I didn’t run!”

Want Bipartisanship? Add Booze. Actress Sigourney Weaver is becoming a regular on Capitol Hill — the “Avatar” actress not only appeared alongside director James Cameron at a forum on environmental issues last week, but she’s also headed back to the Hill on Thursday to lobby on ocean acidification for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The visits are a homecoming of sorts for Weaver, who revealed during the briefing that she briefly worked as a Congressional staffer for a Republican Congressman (whom she did not name) before hitting it big as an actress.

HOH asked Weaver how things have changed since she roamed the Capitol hallways decades ago — and the actress pointed to a decreased level of bipartisanship, which she said might be improved if Members socialized a little more.

“I do think, probably when I was here, there was a lot of informal discussion between party members,” Weaver said, adding while D.C. cocktail parties get a bad rap, they help friendships develop across party lines. “Apparently, there’s not a lot of that now. And I think that’s a shame, and I hope it changes.”

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