Heard on the Hill: A Sex Surcharge?
And here we thought paying for sex was a no-no, especially for scandal-wary Members of Congress. But Rep. Steve Buyer thinks people who engage in the act (specifically, the kind that takes place sans protection) should have to pony up.
[IMGCAP(1)]The Indiana Republican floated his unlikely cash-for-sex proposal Thursday during the markup of the health care bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Under the plan Buyer posited, those who engage in risky behavior, like smoking, not exercising and (ding, ding!) having unprotected sex, should have to pay a premium for their health care. After all, the reasoning goes, those people are more likely to incur higher health care costs than cigarette-eschewing, condom-wearing gym bunnies.
“Someone who smokes, drinks, participates in bad conduct and behavior, unprotected sex, maybe bad things happen to them, maybe they should pay higher premiums,— he mused. “That is a radical thought, isn’t it?—
And HOH should note that under such a scheme, at least one of his former colleagues might see his health care costs go up: Former Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) fathered a love child and so presumably would get hit with the unprotected-sex surcharge.
Also, we have to wonder how such a plan might be enforced, since we can’t imagine many people would fess up to sneaking a ciggie or skipping a workout, let alone forgoing condoms.
Fast Food. Congress has a full legislative plate these days, making it hard for Members to find time for a decent meal — and as a result, many are eating like college students cramming for finals.
Facing a late vote Thursday night, Democratic Senators feasted on takeout Chinese food in the chamber’s cloakroom. Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) even tweeted about it, making sure to note that the food was “paid for personally by Senators NOT by taxpayers.— And about an hour later, McCaskill showed a bit of remorse over the not-so-healthy meal, posting: “now that I think about it, I should eat less!—
Just a few blocks from the Capitol, Sen. John Ensign proved that when the going gets tough, the tough get burgers.
HOH spotted the Nevada Republican (shirt and tie, no suit jacket) on Thursday evening leaving burger hotspot Good Stuff Eatery with a gaggle of what looked to be staffers. But the tasty fare didn’t seem to have done much to cheer up the sex-with-a-staffer-scandal-plagued Ensign, who looked grim as he left the eatery.
Maybe the GOPer isn’t a fan of the eatery’s “Prez Obama Burger—?
But the Senate wasn’t the only chamber grabbing a quick bite. While trying to power through a tedious, all-day markup Friday, House Appropriations Committee members nibbled on beef jerky and Georgia peanuts, an HOH spy reported. Staffers gave Members their own bags of the nuts, while Members shared the jerky. To ward off afternoon hunger pangs as the session wore on, Members were spotted munching out of small bags of SunChips.
Snacking, we note, is an Appropriations Committee tradition — Members on both sides of the aisle are known to bring in treats to share with colleagues.
Walk Off the Job. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) can’t be accused of ducking the health care debate.
Wyden and Spratt (and their staffs) are the 2009 winners of the Walking Works Capitol Hill Challenge, taking home the coveted Blue Shoe trophies for logging the most total miles and the highest average miles per walker, respectively.
Wyden staffers logged a total 7,648 miles during the six-week competition, while Spratt’s team averaged 273 miles per walker, the highest out of the 124 teams that took part.
Sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the seventh annual contest tracked how far Congressional offices walked during the six weeks. Participants were outfitted with pedometers to track the distance.
More than 5,000 Members and staffers took part — 42 offices from the Senate and 82 from the House — and participants logged more than 125,000 total miles, amounting to more than 250 million steps.
The key to victory for Wyden? Getting everybody involved, spokeswoman Jennifer Hoelzer said.
More than 60 Wyden staffers took part in the challenge, including those who work in Wyden’s six Oregon field offices. “We had some staffers who committed to getting off a Metro stop early and some in Oregon who agreed to walk at lunch,— Hoelzer said.
On lighter workdays, some staffers walked to Chinatown for lunch, and others took long walks during breaks, all of which she says helped burn calories and boost morale.
Even Wyden took part, walking the stairs instead of riding the elevator. And because his pedometer contained a battery, it had to be scanned for listening devices before he could attend closed-door intelligence meetings, Hoelzer said.
Overheard on the Hill. “In recent days he has reportedly been spotted waddling around the zoo’s public men’s room, skulking in stalls and inexplicably tapping his flipper. There’s even speculation that, as things continue to spiral, he may consider a run for political office.—
— Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, comparing Pepper, the jilted gay male penguin at the San Francisco Zoo whose partner dumped him for a female, to former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), in a July 16 opinion piece on Townhall.com.
Steven T. Dennis and CongressNow’s Emily Poe contributed to this report.
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