Out for Summer
The lyrics to Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” have been firmly lodged in HOH’s head these past few days, and it looks like staffers and Members, too, are hailing the August recess with a musical salute. Especially the all-Member rock band the Second Amendments, which is set to perform for reveling staffers and other relieved Capitol Hill types at the third annual “End-of-Session” party tonight at waterfront watering hole Cantina Marina. [IMGCAP(1)]
The group, made up of GOP Reps. Jon Porter (Nev.), Dave Weldon (Fla.) and Kenny Hulshof (Mo.) and Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), is a favorite on the Washington legislative-geek-rock circuit. “Rumor has it that the band is going to be even better this year because the Republicans have had a lot more time to rehearse,” joked Jane Adams, a health care lobbyist who sings in the band Blame It on Jane. Her band, whose members include former Hill staffers, will perform after the Second Amendments’ set.
Peterson admits to HOH that he’s had to miss some of the Second Amendments’ jam sessions because of his work on the farm bill, which has translated into the group playing more “heavy metal” songs — not his preferred material. “I have to keep them in line,” he joked.
But Peterson says the band is going to get down to business in September, finally getting around to cutting the CD they’ve been talking about.
Their set tonight will include crowd favorites like “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones, and others from their 30-song repertoire. And just like the staffers who are packing their beach bags, Peterson’s crossing his fingers that the House is out of session as scheduled.
That’s because the Second Amendments are booked for a Sunday night performance at the super-swank Venetian hotel on the Las Vegas strip, an engagement organized by the nonprofit Armed Forces Foundation for military families. “Right now we are confident that we can make the gig,” says Porter spokesman Matt Leffingwell.
Someone Forgot the Ritalin. Fiscal conservatives would surely argue that the federal government has a deficit disorder. So when an e-mail alerted Senate staffers on Wednesday that the chamber would be voting later in the day on a measure designating a “National Deficit Disorder Awareness Day,” some spending hawks were no doubt cheering.
But 29 minutes after the first e-mail was sent, a second e-mail appeared. “Correction,” it read. The new e-mail informed recipients that the measure slated for the Senate floor would, in fact, establish a “National Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness Day.” That’s ADD, the condition that seemingly every other kid suffers from — not plain old deficit disorder.
Which, unlike ADD, has no treatment that we know of, except, we hear, earmark reform.
Bend It Like Ripken. The streak continues. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) managed to keep her record-busting perfect attendance record going on Wednesday, despite an apparent slip-up that almost caused her to (gasp) miss a vote.
Twelve of the 16 Senators who missed a vote Wednesday morning on an amendment to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill were members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which was holding a markup when the floor vote was announced. When the Senators realized a vote was on, the panel’s chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), assured members that the vote would stay open long enough for the committee to finish its work. But although Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) held the vote open for 24 minutes — nine longer than the allotted 15 — many Senators found, despite Lieberman’s assurances, that they had been counted as no-shows.
Collins, who is the committee’s ranking member, apparently has a second sense when it comes to all things voting and hustled over to the floor anyway. “Sen. Collins considers voting to be her most important responsibility, and she just didn’t trust that they would leave the vote open,” spokeswoman Jen Burita told HOH.
Collins has cast an all-time record-breaking 3,525 consecutive votes; she passed former Maine Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith’s previous record of 2,941 in 2005.
Reid apologized to the Senators who missed the vote and chalked the matter up to a “misunderstanding” between Lieberman and the Cloakroom staff over how long the vote would remain open.
Some Senators, though, were none too happy, including freshman Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who had not yet missed a vote.
A Reid spokesman dismissed the conspiracy theorists who had posited that the incident was an effort to cause Collins to miss her first vote, effectively robbing her of the perfect-attendance record she no doubt will tout on the campaign trail, since the Maine Republican is facing a tough challenge from Rep. Tom Allen (D). “Not true,” the Reid spokesman said.
A Markey-ed Man. Rep. Ed Markey is not afraid to play a young man’s game. And he has the crutches and ruptured Achilles tendon to prove it. The Massachusetts Democrat injured himself on Friday when he took on some of his (far younger) staffers in a game of five-on-five basketball at a court in Capitol Hill’s Garfield Park.
Markey is now hobbling around the Capitol on crutches, and the damage is expected to take several weeks to heal. But the avid b-baller is already engineering his comeback, spokeswoman Jessica Schafer says. “He is looking forward to a successful surgery as soon as we recess,” she tells HOH.
Play D’Oh. Capitol Hill is looking a lot more like Springfield, the home of the fictional family the Simpsons, these days. Now that the wacky animated family has its very own movie, plenty of Hill folks are trying to emulate them. The always-mirthful staff in the office of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) this week debuted their Simpsons-style makeover on the office’s intranet site, using simpsonizeme.com to turn themselves into Simpsons-style characters.
The lineup includes the Senator himself, looking perfectly ready for a stroll into Moe’s Tavern, flanked by his similarly Simpsonized staff.
HOH reported last week that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) also morphed into a Simpsons-esque character for the photo accompanying his profile on MySpace.com, using a function on “The Simpsons Movie” Web site.
Reached to comment on the staff’s new look, a Nelson spokeswoman had this to say: “As Homer might say, ‘Woo-hoo!’”
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