Heard on the Hill: A Link That Creates Division

Posted June 11, 2010 at 4:15pm

Looks like partisanship has gotten so heated that Members can’t even agree to post a link on a website.

The House took up a bill last week directing the Clerk of the House to post a link to the Congressional Budget Office on her website to make it easier to find cost estimates prepared by the CBO.

When the legislation hit the House floor, House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) called the bill, introduced by Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), an “excellent proposal” that will increase transparency.

But House Administration ranking member Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) opposed it, saying it is a waste of time when Members should focus on passing a budget.

“Have we run out of post offices to name? We have rid the world of the scourge of unnamed post offices in this Congress, and now maybe we’re going to start going link by link by link by link,” Lungren argued, later adding, “I didn’t realize it took us to pass a resolution to allow the Clerk to do this.”

That drew ire from Brady, who said passing the measure is just Members doing their jobs and added that they “would have gotten done in 5 minutes” if Republicans didn’t object.

The bill ultimately passed, leading one GOP staffer to quip: “Everyone can rest assured, Democrats are finally rolling up their sleeves and tackling the serious issues plaguing Americans today.”

But Brady spokesman Kyle Anderson downplayed the floor exchange, saying the chairman and ranking member have a “great working relationship.”

“Mr. Brady has been a pivotal player in Philadelphia politics for decades and has been involved in countless intense union negotiations,” Anderson said. “Compared to those two things, even the most vigorous debate on the House floor is a garden party.”

A Cameo From Larry Craig

Looks like former Sen. Larry Craig was back on his old stomping grounds. A tipster spotted the Idaho Republican eating lunch Thursday in the Hart Senate Office Building (where his old office was located).

The ex-Senator was accompanied by a man and a woman, and he was sporting “hipper eyewear” than we used to see.

It was HOH’s first report of a Craig spotting since he appeared on “The Daily Show” earlier this month.

In that interview, the infamous bathroom-sex-sting scandal that led to Craig’s retirement was an off-limits topic, but Craig still managed to turn in a cringe-worthy performance full of unintentionally suggestive comments.

Reality TV Fame Awaits

For Capitol Hill staffers dying to be on reality TV, here’s an option that falls somewhere between C-SPAN and the “Jersey Shore”: HGTV is looking for political types selling their houses or condos to follow for its show “My First Sale.”

The show is filming in the area, but so far, it hasn’t been able to find first-time sellers who are part of official Washington. “We’ve had folks like teachers, who are great, but we’d love to get people who work in Congress … or the White House,” says Andrew Olthuis, the casting director. Olthuis tells HOH that having subjects who are involved in politics would give the show a real inside-the-Beltway flavor.

And potential stars need not worry that appearing on the show will make them (or their bosses) look bad, he swears. First, you don’t have to divulge personal financial information. And the show won’t focus on the substance of what goes on on Capitol Hill.

“It’s HGTV,” Olthuis says. “There’s no Watergate here.”

Crews will be shooting 20 to 30 episodes in the Washington area through December.

Alas, there’s no big paycheck, just glory. Ready for your close-up? E-mail aolthuis@highnoontv.com.

Overheard on the Hill

“Now, we’d also like to hear from another real person.”

— Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introducing a “real” senior during a Thursday press conference on Medicare prescription drug coverage. HOH wonders whether other participants were fake.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.

Can’t get enough HOH? Get a midday dose of fun and gossip with HOH’s One-Minute Recess, delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here — because everyone deserves more recess.