Heard on the Hill: Best Floor Speech Ever

Posted March 1, 2010 at 6:35pm

Correction Appended

Sometimes, Members of Congress get to do some pretty cool stuff — like paying tribute to their favorite television show on the House floor.

[IMGCAP(1)]Rep. Mike Quigley honored TV’s treasured animated family “The Simpsons” in a one-minute speech last week, noting the show recently marked its 20th anniversary. And as it turns out, the Illinois Democrat is a “Simpsons” superfan.

Quigley spokeswoman Aviva Gibbs tells HOH that she has “never met a bigger fan of any TV show,” noting that her boss can do spot-on imitations of several characters. For his part, the Congressman says he appreciates the show on two levels, for its slapstick comedy traits and its underlying deep themes. “In the end, it can be a very tender show,” he says.

Among Quigley’s favorite characters is the similarly named (and similarly employed) Mayor “Diamond Joe” Quimby — the Congressman joked that Springfield’s mayor is “our mentor.” Quigley is such a huge Quimby fan that when he filmed a recent “Better Know a District” segment on “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert began the interview with, “Mayor Quimby, good to have you here.” (Unfortunately, the clip didn’t make the show’s final cut.)

Quigley also is a big fan of uber-awkward second-grader Ralph Wiggum.

“I grew up on a block filled with Homers and Ralphies,” he says. “There were more Ralphs than ‘Leave it to Beavers.'”

It’s tougher for Quigley to pick a favorite “Simpsons” episode. “It would be like asking him which of his children he loves the most,” Gibbs joked.

But the Congressman is fond of “Bart Sells His Soul,” a seventh-season episode in which Bart sells his soul to Milhouse for $5; “The Cartridge Family,” a ninth-season episode that sees Homer buying a gun; and “Mother Simpson,” which features Glenn Close in a cameo as Homer’s long-lost mother.

So where does Quigley weigh in on the heated debate among “Simpsons” fans over whether the animated sitcom is past its heyday?

“It’s still my favorite show,” Quigley says. “I guess, overall, earlier was a little better. But there are some real gems that still pop up.”

The Comedy Caucus. The snow wordplay thankfully has gone the way of the blizzards that hit D.C. (SnOMG? Snowpocalypse? So last month), but Rep. Earl Blumenauer is set to revive it. The Oregon Democrat’s annual comedy fundraiser is titled “Snow More Puns: A Blizzard of Comedy.”

The event, slated for March 16 at the Washington Court Hotel, features a stellar lineup of Members of Congress doing their best stand-up acts. This year’s roster includes Democratic Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), John Larson (Conn.), Linda Sánchez (Calif.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).

Although Blumenauer’s fundraising comedy show is not technically a contest, like anything in Washington, it’s bound to be competitive. So who will get the most laughs?

Our money is on Sánchez, who once walked away with the title of “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” with withering quips about fellow lawmakers. Another prediction: Since Blumenauer’s the host, look for plenty of jokes about bikes and bow ties.

A Call for Girl Power. We’re not sure how she feels about the cookies, but Rep. Linda Sánchez is proud of the work that the Girl Scouts are doing to elevate the self-esteem of girls everywhere.

The California Democrat took to the House floor Thursday to highlight a new study from the Girl Scout Research Institute that shows 90 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 “feel pressure from the media to have an ideal body type.” And Sánchez called on her colleagues to fight “media images that detrimentally affect many girls’ self-esteem.”

“We have about 30 million girls under the age of 20 living in the United States — 30 million wonderful and beautiful people, full of creativity, energy and dreams,” Sánchez said. “As a result, their body image and their psychological and physical health are damaged when they do not measure up to these unrealistic beauty standards.”

Sánchez noted that the Girl Scouts of America held an event in New York City last month — on the eve of Fashion Week — to promote healthy body images among girls and women. “Our daughters and granddaughters need to see more girl-positive media, more natural and real female role models instead of touched-up, airbrushed models,” Sánchez said.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) honored NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray on the House floor last week for his thrilling win in the 2010 Daytona 500.

McMurray, a Show Me State native, finished first in a contest that featured 52 lead changes among 21 drivers. He led for just two laps, the least in the race’s history, Blunt said.

Blunt added that McMurray’s win was especially exciting not just because the driver grew up in Missouri, but because he rode to victory in a car sponsored by Bass Pro Stops, which is based in the state.

“McMurray endured years of hard work on local tracks to earn his way into the winner’s circle of America’s greatest stock car event,” Blunt said. “For NASCAR fans in Southwest Missouri, I want to offer my congratulations.”

Overheard on the Hill. “I kept getting distracted when I was supposed to be taking notes, because I could not stop looking at you! You were so cute! We made eye contact and smiled several times throughout the hearing.”
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— A female poster of an “I saw you” ad on Craigslist, making us realize that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Wednesday hearing on the Workforce Investment Act might have been a little more exciting than we imagined.

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Correction: March 3, 2010

The incorrectly stated that Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) would be performing at a March 16 comedy show fundraiser for Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).