Heard on the Hill: The Stars Are Aligning

Posted March 5, 2010 at 5:44pm

The status level of celebs who have visited our fair city in recent months to push various do-gooder causes has been mixed, to say the least. (Shakira, you’re hot; sorry, Dionne Warwick, you’re not.) But after superstar rapper Jay-Z’s recent D.C. appearance, several A-listers are heading into town this week to promote their charitable agendas.

[IMGCAP(1)]Topping the list is Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, who is scheduled to attend a three-day conference at the State Department studying ways to combat violence against women worldwide. Witherspoon, an Avon global ambassador and honorary chairwoman of the Avon Foundation for Women, will be in pretty good company, joining experts and delegates from 15 countries.

Actress Kerry Washington will also shine a light on women’s issues, and she’ll be in good company, scheduled to appear alongside ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the White House today for an event marking International Women’s Day.

Capitol Hill won’t be left out of the celeb-spotting: On Tuesday, actor Emile Hirsch and hip hop star Lupe Fiasco are expected to join Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) at a screening of the documentary “Summit on the Summit,” which highlights the global clean water crisis. Hirsch and Fiasco recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to draw attention to the issue — and HOH hears one of their fellow climbers, actress Jessica Biel, might stop by the screening.

“Will and Grace” star Debra Messing is also coming to Capitol Hill, slated to testify Thursday before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the need for increased funding for HIV prevention and treatment in developing countries.

Country music fans should keep an eye out for Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn and John Rich of Big and Rich, who will perform at the Library of Congress on Tuesday.

And if you’re more of a sports fan than into the Hollywood scene, keep an eye out for former National Football League star Herschel Walker. The Heisman Trophy winner is set to appear on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for an event promoting physical fitness.

London Calling.That enormous silver Rolls-Royce parked on the Senate side of the
Capitol on Thursday morning belongs to British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald.

The posh Rolls, which stood out
among the humbler cars owned by Senators and staff (here’s looking at North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s decrepit 1974 VW Thing), is leased by the British Embassy for a “very reasonable rate,” a spokesman for the embassy tells HOH.

Sheinwald was on the Hill for meetings with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the spokesman says. Sheinwald is no stranger to the Hill, often popping by offices in both chambers to discuss an array of issues, the spokesman notes.

And luckily for the ambassador,
he isn’t personally responsible for
navigating the expensive (and large!) vehicle around the city’s pothole-ridden streets. He has a driver to do that, we’re told.

And … his other ride is a Bentley.

Congressional Injury Update.Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) just can’t seem to give his boot the boot.

The Marine-turned-Congressman broke his right foot on Christmas morning while jogging with his dog on a snow-filled golf course near his home. An avid runner who completed the Marine Corps Marathon last year, Coffman spent several weeks on crutches before upgrading to a walking boot.

And it appears he’ll stay sidelined for the immediate future.

“Met with the Orthopedist — still no word on when the boot comes off,” Coffman tweeted Thursday.

Coffman remains in good spirits despite his lingering injury, his spokesman tells HOH. Perhaps the hardest thing for the tough-guy Congressman (a veteran of the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars) isn’t the injury itself, but coping with the fact he can’t do everything how he likes.

Coffman takes such pride in being independent that when he originally broke his foot and was on crutches, he stuffed his papers and other supplies into a huge backpack rather than ask his staff to carry his things, spokesman Nathaniel Sillin recalls.

And Coffman is a tad bit annoyed that he can’t exercise how he likes — he even has to take the elevator these days because he can’t traverse the stairs.

“It’s obviously somewhat frustrating,” Sillin says. “He has a lot of pent-up energy.”

Overheard on the Hill.“Gotta approve something.”

— Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) telling attendees at the Women’s Policy Inc. 2010 Congressional Gala on Wednesday that Members expect legislation approving a new National Women’s History Museum will pass Congress this year.

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