Heard on the Hill: Tiger Bill Declawed

Posted December 8, 2009 at 6:53pm

Rep. Joe Baca might just wish he could get a legislative mulligan.

Back in March, the California Democrat introduced a measure to give Tiger Woods the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can grant to a civilian. In the legislation, Baca highlighted the professional golfer’s service in “promoting excellence and good sportsmanship.—

[IMGCAP(1)]Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Woods’ dozens of tournament wins and status as one of the greatest golfers ever are mentioned in the bill, which also notes that Woods has “broken barriers with grace and dignity— and “has inspired countless people of all ages.—

(Insert your own adultery joke here.)

HOH called Baca’s office to see if the Congressman planned to continue his push for the bill, but no one got back to us by press time.

We’re guessing Baca will just play through on this one …

McHenry Staff Has Itch to Be Hitched. If marriage is an institution, consider the staff of Rep. Patrick McHenry committed. A veritable epidemic of matrimony seems to be breaking out in the North Carolina Republican’s office.

Of course, the boss always sets the tone for the office, and McHenry himself is engaged to Giulia Cangiano, a senior economist at the General Accounting Office.

Three McHenry staffers also are in the betrothed club, and all of the engaged folk are set to be married to their respective fiancées in the spring of next year. All of which means you can practically hear strains of Pachelbel’s “Canon— wafting around the office. “THOMAS has been replaced by the Knot as the office’s most visited Web site,— McHenry spokesman Brock McCleary tells HOH.

In March, staff assistant Krista McCoy and fiancé Grae Stafford (who works for T-Mobile UK) will tie the knot. Then it’s legislative assistant Austen Jensen’s turn. He’s planning to wed Jessica Koebensky, a former McHenry campaign volunteer who now works for the Young America’s Foundation, in an April ceremony.

June will be a busy month: Jennifer Mundy, McHenry’s legislative director, is getting hitched to Dan Flitton, a teacher at Urbana Elementary School in Frederick, Md. And the Congressman is planning on a June wedding, too.

By then, co-workers will no doubt have perfected that reception favorite, the “Chicken Dance.—

Every Dog Has Its Day. Move over, Dakota — there’s a new bichon frisé on Capitol Hill.

While Sen. Kent Conrad’s (D-N.D.) beloved pup has become a regular in Congressional circles, HOH hears Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and his wife recently adopted a stray pooch believed to be a mix of bichon and poodle that they’ve named Billie Sue.

According to a Rahall spokeswoman, Billie Sue — named in honor of Melinda Rahall’s mother — was first discovered roaming around in a suburban neighborhood that’s home to a Congressional technology staffer, who took her in.

Calls to nearby shelters to find the pooch’s owners were fruitless, and the Rahalls agreed to take the dog in as a foster, according to spokeswoman Diane Luensmann.

But the owners were never found, and so the Rahalls ended up adopting her. They took Billie Sue to the vet, who deemed her to be about 2 years old.

The couple also gave her a makeover, since life as a stray left her pretty matted. “She’s had a trip to the groomer and got a buzz cut. That’s about all they could do,— Luensmann joked.

Billie Sue hasn’t visited Rahall’s office since she officially joined the family, but Luensmann said she’s fitting in perfectly at her new home. “She’s got a very good, outgoing, friendly personality, perhaps ideal for someone who’s an elected official,— she said.

How the Congressman Saved Christmas. ’Twas the session before Christmas and all through the House, an antidote to the anti-Christmas movement roared like a mouse.

Here to save the holiday that dare not speak its name is Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.), who boldly introduced legislation on Tuesday that “recognizes the importance of Christmas symbols and traditions and also expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate this holiday.—

And in case it isn’t enough to simply acknowledge the awesomeness of Christmas, the bill shakes a Santa-gloved finger at those who would declare war on it. According to the Congressman’s statement, “furthermore, the resolution expresses disapproval of all attempts to ban or limit references to Christmas.—

Take that, you Grinches who wish people a “happy holiday!—

Sunny Day. While President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are inching down, first lady Michelle Obama remains more popular than ever — at least on the “longest street in the world.—

And her No. 1 fan might just be a furry blue monster with a pink nose.

“Sesame Street— Muppet Grover joined Gary Knell, the president and CEO of the Sesame Workshop, to speak at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Grover recalled Michelle Obama’s visit to Sesame Street for the show’s 40th anniversary episode in November to talk about gardening and the importance of vegetables.

“Oh, she’s a lovely lady, lovely lady, and very tall,— Grover said. “I think Big Bird even had to look up to her.—

Knell, who once served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that Obama called her “Sesame Street— appearance the favorite thing she’s done since becoming first lady.

But while Grover had very nice things to say about Obama, he didn’t seem to want to talk about other political power players. When press club President Donna Leinwand asked Grover what he thought of politicians and K Street lobbyists, the Muppet froze at the microphone and started shaking.

“You know, I think that is all the questions I have time for today,— Grover said, quickly ducking behind the lectern out of sight.

Looks like Grover fits perfectly in Washington — Members of Congress are known to employ the same tactic to dodge tough questions, too.

Overheard on the Hill. “That was Barney Frank. He asked me to be on the Finance subcommittee.—

— Fictional freshman Rep. Tripp Vanderbilt (Hunky-N.Y.), on the Monday-night episode of teen soap “Gossip Girl,— explaining a mysterious phone call. OMG!

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