Kathryn Lyons

Therapy dogs provide paws to impeachment hearing stress
Capitol Hill wasn’t entirely miserable on Wednesday

First high-tension impeachment hearings in a generation got you stressed? Then take a little, ahem, “paws” from the proceedings and allow therapy dogs Lola, Zamboni and Spumoni to soothe some of those, um, “ruff” feelings.

The pups came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, courtesy of Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, to spread some positive vibes among the two-leggers, and timing of their appearance couldn’t have been more opportune as the House Intelligence Committee began its first public hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

Kamala Harris discusses campaign struggles with Cosmo
Democratic presidential hopeful also talks women’s issues, climate change and skin care

There’s still five women in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and after three men beat them to it, one stopped by the headquarters of the magazine that bills itself the “biggest media brand in the world for young women” for an interview.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, in the latest entry for Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Candidates Come to Cosmo” series, discussed tough decisions to pare her campaign staff, issues such as climate change, and even her skin care regimen.

‘Embrace the suck,’ Ernst and McSally tell young women considering military
Republican senators reflect on their ‘boot camp’ experience

Veterans Day is a significant time to honor those who have fought to serve the country. And while Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Martha McSally of Arizona did just that, the two military veterans also took time to address future generations of servicemembers, particularly young women.

In a video posted to Twitter Monday evening, the Republican senators gave advice to young women considering entering basic training, or “boot camp,” which is known to require significant physical and psychological stamina.

Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ tradition very much alive on Capitol Hill
Offices display lively altars with vibrant colors and food for dead relatives

Marilyn Zepeda may have left Mexico, but she made sure to bring along a piece of its culture to the United States: vibrant “papel picado,” loaves of “Pan de Muerto” and photos of the dead.

The legislative correspondent for Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who is himself the son of a Mexican immigrant, Zepeda has been in Washington, D.C., just over a year, and she’s already raising spirits around the office. After all, it’s almost the Day of the Dead, or “Día de Los Muertos.”

When the president calls an Ebola crisis meeting on your daughter’s birthday
Sylvia Mathews Burwell joins congressional Moms in the House for breakfast

It’s just before 8 o’clock on a recent Wednesday morning, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is getting settled in the Speaker’s Dining Room on the House side of the Capitol.

She’s meeting with a handful of female lawmakers, but she’s not there to talk policy. She’s there to talk parenting.

Rep. Lance Gooden’s phone password (used to be) 777777
‘Just another thing Kanye West and I have in common,’ tweeted the Texas Republican

The internet has caught another person of interest in a highly sensitive act once more.

A video shows Rep. Lance Gooden unlocking his iPhone during (what was likely) Wednesday’s House Financial Services hearing where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions about the company's mishandling of user data and privacy concerns.

First it was lawmakers, now Members’ Dining Room has to deal with Yelp
Restaurant has frequently been subject of lawmaker criticism, scrutiny

The House Members’ Dining Room has historically served only lawmakers and their guests in a private annex on the first floor of the Capitol. But over the past year the restaurant has opened its doors, first to Capitol Hill staffers and now to the general public to dine — not like kings, but like members of Congress.

Other restaurants with tough-to-get tables may have Michelin stars or James Beard Award-winning chefs. The House restaurant, despite its privileged pedigree, has tough critics and a troubling track record on profitability.

Does your member of Congress like pumpkin spice lattes?

It's fall and you know what that means — the return of pumpkin spice lattes.

‘We have been scorned’: Democratic Women’s Caucus lays out agenda
U.S. maternal mortality rate is a top concern

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — well, we have been scorned,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley said Tuesday, lending a little sass to  the Democratic Women’s Caucus news conference to roll out its policy agenda.

Formally launched this spring, the caucus laid out plans for the 116th Congress that focus on economic opportunity, safety and freedom from violence, equality, access to health care, supporting women in the military and veterans, and empowering women across the globe.

How to choose a proper name for your secret identity/Twitter burner account
Sorry, but Pierre Delecto, Reihnold Niebuhr are already taken

Let’s say you’re a public official who wants to concoct a secret identity so you may pass among the commons, at least on Twitter, undetected. What’s one to do in choosing that all-important double’s name? 

It’s become more than an academic question with the news that Sen. Mitt Romney let slip during a recent profile that he devised a secret Twitter account so he can follow conversations happening on the social media website. “What do they call me, a lurker?” the Utah Republican asked The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins.

From poverty to power: Staffer for Rep. Darren Soto reflects on childhood
23-year-old Clarissa Rojas is communications director for the Florida Democrat

“My mom would be upset that I’m doing this interview,” Clarissa Rojas said softly inside the lively Longworth House Office Building cafeteria. “I’m doing it because I think it’s important that people know what Capitol Hill is made of.”

Rojas, the new communications director for Florida Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, didn’t find herself in one of the nation’s most expensive cities because her parents could afford it. After all, her father didn’t even pay the child support she and her older brother could’ve used growing up.

Iowa battlefield extends from politics to gridiron
Healthy trash talk is all part of life in Iowa-Iowa State rivalry

Iowa is a perennial political battleground, but Iowans know the most intense contest happens on the gridiron every year, when the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones try to demolish one another in one of college football’s oldest rivalries.

The reward? A move up in conference ranking, bragging rights and the coveted Cy-Hawk trophy. This year, ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast from Iowa State territory in Ames for the first time in school history on Sept 14. Iowa won, 18-17. 

Marilyn Monroe, Ritchie Valens highlight post office namings
1950s star power on display, along with regular cast featuring war heroes, political titans

Wednesday was a good day for post office namings, with references to some 1950s pop glitz gracing the House floor alongside the more typical war heroes and political titans. 

Sure, it’s not unusual to see your occasional celebrity post office designation. But when both Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe and crooner Ritchie Valens are in a vote series along with the late lawmakers Jeannette Rankin of Montana — the first woman elected to the House — and Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, well, HOH likes to make note of it.

Ride, McSally, Ride
Arizona Republican celebrates women being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Sen. Martha McSally on Wednesday shared a video on Twitter of her driving a car in Saudi Arabia. The Arizona Republican recently returned from a congressional delegation trip to the Middle East with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

It was McSally’s first time in the kingdom in nearly two decades, according to her tweet.

Members’ Dining Room embraces 21st century — sort of
Recess time will be open to the public, via OpenTable

Quite some time has passed since the Capitol’s Petinaud and Bennett rooms opened their doors as the Members’ Dining Room in 1858, but walking into the House-side restaurant, with its red carpet and 20th century chandeliers, you’d hardly notice — unless you booked a reservation on OpenTable.

And when Heard on the Hill found out the dining room was opening to the public this recess, that is exactly what we did. Once a haven of exclusivity, the eatery can now enjoy a global presence outside Congress with the reservation-booking app.

Sen. Tina Smith just took a DNA test ... turns out she’s 100 percent a Lizzo fangirl
The 61-year-old senator said she was ‘easily’ older than the 20-somethings that filled the venue

Senator Tina Smith opted for a later bedtime Wednesday night to catch one of her favorite artists take the stage at The Anthem — and to sing her praises in person.

“I am tired, a little tired, but it was so much fun,” Smith told me Thursday morning, still beaming from the night before.

Rep. Harder wants to fight the swamp rats (outside D.C.)
Democrat hopes bill will eradicate invasive species in California

As bunnies hopped around the Rayburn building on Tuesday, Longworth hosted a critter that wasn’t so cute — or cuddly.

Rep. Josh Harder toted a taxidermied “swamp rat” named Nellie to his hearing in front of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife.

It was a good hare day for Rep. Tony Cárdenas
California Democrat is co-sponsor of the Humane Cosmetics Act

What has two ears, continuously eats and can barely stay still? No, not me (but not a bad guess).

I’m referring to the rabbits that took over Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning. The Humane Society Legislative Fund, along with other animal advocacy groups, hosted around a dozen “House” bunnies in the Rayburn foyer.

Stressful day on the Hill? Check out these adoptable bunnies at Rayburn

Advocacy groups brought adoptable bunnies to the Rayburn House Office building on Tuesday to promote upcoming legislation to ban testing on animals.

Heard on the Hill’s Kathyrn Lyons spoke with Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who plans to co-sponsor the legislation, and got some face time with the bunnies themselves.