Heard on the Hill: Moore to Love?

Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:31pm

The economic crisis will be televised. Or at least turned into a documentary — and by “Fahrenheit 9/11— rabble-rouser Michael Moore, no less.

[IMGCAP(1)]The controversial filmmaker (paunchy, wearing his trademark baseball cap) was shooting on Capitol Hill on Monday, interviewing Rep. Marcy Kaptur on the East Front of the Capitol.

A Kaptur aide said Moore chose the Ohio Democrat for the film because of her outspoken opposition to government financial bailouts. Moore’s associates first interviewed Kaptur about a month ago, the aide said, and the film is set to be released in the fall.

And who could blame lawmakers for being excited about a cameo in a Moore film — appearances by lawmakers in “Fahrenheit— earned some Members of Congress, such as Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), fame. But others might want to be cautious: In that documentary, the filmmaker also pulled a stunt that wasn’t entirely flattering, in which he asked Members to enlist their own kids in the military.

A Member-Submitted Separated at Birth. Rep. Lee Terry recently contacted HOH with a startling epiphany — GOP Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), according to the Nebraska Republican, is a dead ringer for a certain folk-singing Grammy Award winner.

Terry told HOH he first noticed the resemblance while watching an episode of “The West Wing,— when he thought he spotted the conservative McCotter singing Sam Cooke’s liberal anthem, “A Change is Gonna Come.—

“I was really worried about my friend. … Thankfully, I found out it was not Thad but his look-alike, James Taylor,— Terry said. “Whew, was I relieved.—

Politics aside, Terry is pretty spot-on in his comparison.

Both Taylor and McCotter maintain legions of fans (or voters). Both sport a domed, balding head (sorry, guys). Both play the guitar and regularly hit the stage for charity. (Taylor joined Sting and Billy Joel on stage last year to raise money for the rain forest; McCotter played the Assembly Line Concert paying tribute to the auto industry, in Ferndale, Mich., on Saturday.)

McCotter told HOH he isn’t sure of the comparison, although he did quip that “it’s nice to be compared to a man who married Carly Simon.— And McCotter offered HOH his own “separated at birth.—

Lee Terry’s hair, according to McCotter, could easily be mistaken for “roadkill.—

Party On, Dave. House Appropriations Chairman David Obey might be gruff, but don’t say the guy doesn’t know how to party.

The notoriously prickly Wisconsin Democrat was planning last night to celebrate the anniversary of his 40 years in Congress with a shindig/fundraiser for friends and family that just might have included a special bluegrass harmonica performance by the guest of honor himself, HOH hears.

The official entertainment for the party, slated for the Washington Court Hotel, was folk stalwart the Chad Mitchell Trio. Sources say Obey is a huge fan of the folksters, who rose to fame back in the ’60s — back when Obey was a mere freshman.

Obey-o-philes know that the Wisconsinite was elected on April Fool’s Day of 1969 in a special election to fill the seat vacated when President Richard Nixon appointed former Rep. Mel Laird (R) to be his secretary of Defense.

Obey has since become an accomplished legislator and, apparently, a not-too-shabby harmonica player.

Another Payday? End-of-the-month ramen dinners might become a thing of the past for underpaid House staffers.

Don’t get too excited — those measly paychecks won’t be getting any bigger. They just might be handed out more frequently.

Right now, House employees are paid once a month, forcing cash-strapped staffers to stick to a disciplined budget when it comes to spending their hard-earned funds (not an easy task when the lure of happy hour is always calling).

But House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would give his panel authority to set the House’s payday, signaling that Members are moving toward paying staffers twice a month.

Brady spokesman Kyle Anderson cautions that it’s just a first step in a long process, as committee members would need to vote to approve any payday restructuring even if Brady’s bill passes. And while ranking member Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) supports Brady’s bill, he also “strongly believes that we should survey the 10,000 House staffers who would be affected before making any changes,— spokeswoman Salley Collins told HOH.

So for now, keep a little bit of that moolah tucked away for a rainy day.

Settling the Score. It’s a week of reckoning on Capitol Hill. Think payback time. This week will see the results of a few bets that lawmakers placed on their March Madness brackets.

Is that a whiff of barbecue in the air? That’s Sen. Claire McCaskill making good on her bet with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on the outcome of the Sunday matchup between the University of Connecticut Huskies and the University of Missouri Tigers (the Huskies won, of course).

The Missouri Democrat put up a delivery of legendary BBQ from Kansas City joint Arthur Bryant’s, her folks told HOH.

And if you notice Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) sporting an unbecoming black-and-red tie today, blame Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Kyl promised to wear a tie today featuring Louisville’s colors after the University of Louisville trounced the University of Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen.

Feeney Gets the Boot. After losing his Congressional seat because of ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Rep. Tom Feeney is finding life as a lobbyist himself isn’t always easy.

The Florida Republican was let go by the town of Dunnellon, Fla., after officials found out that Feeney, whose law firm works for the town, was lobbying on the municipality’s behalf, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. Some townsfolk were apparently surprised to hear that Feeney was lobbying to help the town purchase a parcel of land, the Rainbow River Ranch, that it wants to spare from development.

Councilwoman Louise Kenny told the paper that it wasn’t so much a matter of the money spent on Feeney’s services ($255 an hour, by the way), but rather whether there was “any benefit— to using him. The council voted 4-zip to send him packing.

Even in sunny Florida, things can get pretty chilly.

A Raven Alights. An HOH spy reports that Baltimore Ravens linebacker and all-around tough guy Ray Lewis was having lunch in the Members’ Dining Room on Monday. The Pro Bowl regular (and prominent Baltimore businessman/philanthropist) was dining with a large group, the spy says.

Good thing the portions in the eatery are big — we figure the 6’1— Lewis could put away some serious bean soup.

Overheard on the Hill. “Sophomoric, juvenile towel snapping. I can’t believe anyone would make them, much less pay for them.—

— Political uber-analyst Charlie Cook, going negative on the topic of negative political ads, during a speech on Sunday before the American Association of Political Consultants.

Tricia Miller contributed to this report.

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