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Heard on the Hill: Frank Says Kirk’s Got ‘Senate Envy’

As the rest of Capitol Hill was playing the “will he or won’t he” game over whether Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) would run for the Senate, one of his colleagues called him out for having Senate envy.

On Thursday night, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) challenged Kirk, who had asked that the entire text of a bill be read on the House floor. “In the alternative,” Frank snarked, “those Members who suffer from Senate envy could write a 700-page nongermane amendment.”

Unless you speak parliamentary-geek-ese, that might not sound like much, but those who do recognized it for a “zing!” Republicans on the House floor did, and they let loose with a round of jeers.

Their reaction caused Frank to reconsider the insult, and a moment later he added this: “Let me amend what I said and refer to ‘those thin-skinned Members with Senate envy.’”


Cheap Eats. It’s not quite the McDonald’s dollar menu, but cheaper lunchtime choices are coming for cash-strapped House staffers.

HOH hears that the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria will unveil “House Value Meals” this week, offering patrons $5 lunchtime menu options, from burritos and quesadillas to soup, chicken wings, sandwiches and hot dogs (a fountain drink is included).

The current entree salad station in the cafeteria will permanently change to accommodate the new fare. Staffers won’t be allowed to substitute menu items, but station options will change weekly to keep the choices fresh.

The cafeteria will offer specials on Fridays, including $1.50 for a quarter-pound hamburger and $1.25 for bottled water.

And Twitter-ers could have an advantage over their digitally impaired friends: HOH hears a special-value menu choice will be revealed each Friday via the cafeterias’ new Twitter page,

The value menu comes amid escalating staffer complaints about a sharp increase in cafeteria prices. In fact, Members such as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) recently grilled Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard about an average 30 percent price increase in cafeteria meals over the past two years.

As in ‘Mary Jane,’ Not ‘Michael Jackson.’ Given the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson coverage last week, you can’t blame people for seeing Jackson references everywhere. And so it seemed plausible that some sneaky staffer had made a sly joke about the late pop star’s rumored drug use.

At a Thursday press conference on illegal drugs, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) clutched a prop, a box that represented a shipment of medical marijuana. On the box was the handwritten phrase “Medical Rx” and a drawing of a pot leaf.

And in what some onlookers suspected was a crack at the late pop star, the initials “M.J.” were doodled on the box as well.

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