If Congress wants to shamelessly pander to the women's vote, it just might have figured out the best way to do it. A House committee is today addressing one of the most, er, pressing issues facing womankind: the inevitable long line for the ladies' room.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is tackling what it has, in bathroom-humor style, dubbed "potty parity" in federal buildings, holding a hearing on bipartisan legislation that would end the problem of "insufficient restroom facilities for women in federal buildings."
Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), the bill's sponsor, apparently wants to flush out the issues surrounding the scarcity of women's facilities.
And perhaps sensing that a Congressional hearing focusing on the tee-hee subject of the W.C. might get some attention, the committee's staff came up with a hash tag for the topic to identify it in potential tweets: #pottyparity.
"It was too good not to use," a spokesman tells us.
Witnesses will include noted restroom experts Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), former D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt and I.P. Daily (OK, so we just made that last one up).
Rachael Ray Is Cooking Up a New Cause
Food Network star and talk-show host Rachael Ray might know her way around a bottle of E.V.O.O. (that's a Ray catchphrase, for the uninitiated), but when it comes to lobbying, she's just a rookie.
The perky chef, who visited Capitol Hill with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), spent the day asking lawmakers to provide more funding for the fight against obesity.
And although Ray is a newbie, she certainly blended in among Washington types: She and Gillibrand sported nearly identical outfits — conservative black suits accessorized with pearl necklaces.
Ray seemed impressed with her first glimpse at sausage-making. "It's like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'" she gushed during a press conference with Gillibrand.
"I feel like they're actually listening."
To Run for Office, Ask: What's in a Name?
It's time to play the Name Game, in which HOH submits a "dream team" roster of Congressional candidates who have names with which we'd most like to write headlines.
So far, our highly subjective list includes Krystal Ball, the Democratic nominee looking to snag GOP Rep. Rob Wittman's Virginia seat; Taze Shepard, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in Alabama's 5th district (his name sounds like a soap opera character); Loren Hooker, a Democratic hopeful looking to unseat Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); Blake Curd, who wants to be the Republican nominee for South Dakota's at-large seat; and Idaho's Raul Labrador, a GOP hopeful in the 1st district.
(Also, we can only hope that if Labrador makes his way to Congress and so does Republican Diane Black of Tennessee, the two will co-sponsor a Black-Labrador bill, which would be our second-favorite fantasy legislative duo, right behind Democratic Reps. John Dingell of Michigan and Marion Berry of Arkansas.)
And although he isn't running for Congress, HOH would be remiss if we didn't mention our current favorite candidate name: Young Boozer, who's running for Alabama state treasurer (though we think he'd make a great rapper, too).
Goofy-sounding names might at first seem like a political liability, but Jennifer Moss, the author of "The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book," thinks they're a plus.
"First and foremost, it makes them memorable," says Moss, who is also the founder and CEO of babynames.com. "They conjure an image, and when it comes to memorization techniques, you always use a name and an image."
And Democratic campaign consultant Steve McMahon agrees. "It makes them unforgettable, even when they shouldn't be," he tells us.
Moss tells HOH that she cautions parents who want their children to someday have a big future — including in politics — to avoid punny kid names and to give children a full name that they could someday use on a political bumper sticker, saving the cutesy stuff for nicknames (we agree that Congresswoman Buffy just doesn't sound right).
Overheard on the Hill
— The description of then-male model Sen. Scott Brown, posted Tuesday on the Huffington Post, along with photos of the Massachusetts Republican. Brown's most famous photo spread (nude in Cosmo) was well-documented, but his other modeling shots hadn't surfaced until now.
Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.