HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Play That Patriotic Music

Posted September 1, 2009 at 11:02am

Updated: 5:10 p.m.

Without Congressional complaints, Aug. 11 might have gone down in history as the day the patriotic music died.

On that day, the staffers who oversee the House’s phone system opted to change the on-hold music for the chamber, removing the all-Americana compact disc that plays when callers to Congressional offices are put on hold. That CD had been playing on repeat for years, after all, and so staffers decided to try out another featuring smooth jazz tunes.

But that did not go over well with some Capitol Hill denziens, including Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who labeled the new sound as “elevator music— in an Aug. 28 letter to Chief Administrative Officer (and official House disc jockey) Dan Beard. Upton also asked Beard that Congressional offices be given “the option to select the patriotic music.—

“Our patriotic anthems embody the American spirit,— he wrote. “Throughout our nation’s history, patriotic songs have bound us together in times of peace and in times of war.—

Upton later added: “Certainly we would prefer not to put those who contact our office on hold; however, with the high volume of calls we receive it is sometimes necessary. Callers routinely express their delight in listening to a few notes of Americana while briefly waiting.—

Reacting to the controversy, Beard’s office made the move on Tuesday to return to the patriotic music, spokesman Jeff Ventura told HOH.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,— Ventura joked.

Paint the Town. Kathleen Sebelius just might be the new Rahm Emanuel.

HOH has had enough sightings of the Health and Human Services secretary out on the town to think she might be giving the peripatetic White House chief of staff a run for his money as the reigning Washington power diner.

[IMGCAP(1)]We spotted Sebelius on Monday night sipping a glass of red wine with an unidentified, be-suited man at the Senate side’s Bistro Bis. After finishing the vino while engaging in an animated conversation, the secretary slipped into her awaiting SUV, leaving her companion with the check.

Overheard on the Hill. “Traficant leaves prison tomorrow—

— A Twitter posting from the “it-takes-one-to-know-one— department by former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), noting the release of former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio). Ney himself served time in the federal pokey after being convicted on corruption charges.

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