In the know

Shuster pays tribute to his dog
During floor discussion of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards bill last week, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) paid special tribute to his 8-year-old Wheaton Terrier, Chloe. The bill, which passed by voice vote, included an amendment that requires FEMA to consider people and their pets during emergencies, such as Hurricane Katrina.

“I was in danger of being a big softy,” said Shuster of his floor speech in which he mentioned the family dog. “She’s the one who’s happiest to see me. Sometimes I just get a grunt out of my 15-year-old son.”

In his speech, he remarked, “I have a Wheaton terrier that has become part of the family, and it would be very difficult to leave Chloe behind in a disaster.”

During his childhood, Shuster had, at various times, an English Setter, an Irish Setter and a Saint Bernard. “Some people will say their dog is like their child to them,” he said. 

Chloe, wherever she was, appreciated the shout out.

Julia Carson spotted on House Floor in sweats
Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.) was spotted on the House Floor and in the Speaker’s Lobby in a gray sweat suit and sneakers last week. Her attire, which is forbidden by House rules, and the fact that the 68-year-old lawmaker is often seen getting physical help from an aide, is causing comment.

But Chad Chitwood, her spokesman, insisted that his boss is not sick. “She’s doing fine, she’s going back and forth [to the district],” Chitwood said Monday. Carson had bypass heart surgery in 1996.

As for concerns about her health, Carson in January told WISH-TV8 in Indianapolis, “I think people thought I was too sick to run. I’m not too sick to do anything.”  

 Political Feuds: Gilchrest v. Farr
Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) and Sam FarrSam FarrMedical marijuana supporters hopeful about government funding bill Marijuana advocates to give away free joints on Capitol Hill DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (D-Calif.) are arguing about who has the prettier district.

Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) jumped into the fray last week, declaring at her weekly press briefing, “Each of us believes that we represent the best district in the country, and I certainly do.  I am proud to represent San Francisco here.  Every day that I walk on the floor, I think I have this great privilege.”

In a jocular House Floor exchange during debate over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Organic Act last week, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) sparked the whole pretty district debate by referring to Farr and saying, “Just one of us represents a little prettier place than the rest of us.”

Gilchrest took up issue in the debate, saying,  “Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to a couple of items here. One, to the gentleman from California, Mr. Farr: As far as who has the prettiest district in the country, I would like to invite Mr. Farr from California to ply the placid waters of the Sassafras River and enjoy either a dawn or sunset in a canoe as we go past the marsh and beautiful forested areas along the coastal Chesapeake Bay.”

Farr apparently accepted the canoe date. But it doesn’t mean he concedes the issue. After all, he represents Monterey, Pebble Beach and Big Sur. “It is pretty tough to beat,” says Farr’s Chief of Staff Rochelle Dornatt. “Mr. Farr is well known for bragging about the beauty of Big Sur, but he will be happy to go canoeing with Mr. Gilchrist at any time.”

Gilchrest lives on Turners Creek Road in Kennedyville, Md. The Sassafras River is the closest river to the congressman’s home and can be seen at the end of his block.

Even Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) threw himself into the mix of pretty districts debate by saying, “I will, first of all, enter the sweepstakes for the most beautiful place in the United States and invite everyone to the western coast of Michigan on the Great Lakes of Lake Michigan.”


Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxBill to change joint-employer definition advances in House Reporter beats lawmakers to win charity spelling bee America’s workers, job creators need the Save Local Business Act MORE injured by constituent service
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was seen last week wearing a stylish black splint on her right arm. 

Her office said the congresswoman had not taken a spill but has carpel tunnel syndrome, which flared up last week after she signed 300 constituent letters. 

“She signs all the letters to her constituents,” said her spokesman, Michael Frolich, explaining that there is no stamp for letters to constituents.

Frolich maintains that Foxx doesn’t always go through such pain for constituents, but does if she has to. “It really depends on how many letters come in and how quickly they get responded to. She likes to sign the letters personally. As far as whether she can do anything about it, I can’t speak to it as I’m not a doctor.

“One of her biggest beliefs for being here is constituent service and she really does stand by that.”

In other bandage news, Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) was spotted last week with a Ace wrapping around her foot. “During the past few years she [has worn] an Ace bandage on her foot when it’s sore sometimes,” Kelly’s spokesman Kevin Callahan wrote in an e-mail.

Rep. Linda Sanchez adores Pink
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) is gaga over the singer Pink’s latest CD, “I’m not dead.”

She even has a new favorite song called “Dear Mr. President.”

One of the song’s verses is as follows:
How can you say  
No child is left behind  
We’re not dumb and we’re not blind  
They’re all sitting in your cells  
While you pave the road to hell  

 Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s wife walks for worthy cause

It’s not the typical activity of a congressman’s wife, but we are talking about the new wife of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a politician who has been known to pull a stunt or two in his political career.

Elizabeth Kucinich concludes her peace walk in downtown Cleveland on Thursday, which coincides with the United Nations International Day of Peace.

The full name of her walk is “Peace, Prosperity and The Environment.” She began walking on September 12, putting in about 11 miles each day. The purpose, a release from Kucinich’s office explained, was to link “students, inter-faith and community groups, peace, environment, women’s and family organizations by walking point-to-point” from Oberlin College to Baldwin Wallace College and then on to campuses in downtown Cleveland.  

Total distance: 53 miles.

Issues that Mrs. Kucinich are fighting for include reducing domestic violence, gang violence, child abuse and “other forms of social discord.” She said, “We are called to act with integrity in the name of the environment, unity, prosperity and peace.  That is what this walk has been all about.”

The lawmaker walked with his wife on the first day but had to return to Washington for the rest of the week.

“He walked the first couple of miles with her,” said Kucinich’s spokesman Doug Gordon. “He was thrilled she wanted to do this. Elizabeth has a very strong desire to make a difference in this community and discuss the issues that the congressman works on.”

McHugh: Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

Apparently you can’t be smart and good looking and be a snappy dresser these days.

Rep. John McHugh’s (R-N.Y.) Democratic opponent, Bob Johnson, is dogging him for dressing well and for being on The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People List for 2006.

The ad, which voters can watch on YouTube, criticizes McHugh for concentrating on his appearance rather than on the needs of his constituents and the billions of dollars Johnson believes is being wasted in Iraq.

In the ad, called “Empty Record,” a man’s voice comes on and says, “Congressman McHugh won an award from The Hill for his crisp suits and fancy ties, but where has he been as billions of our tax dollars are lost to corruption in Iraq?”

The ad unfolds, and McHugh’s head disappears. The viewer sees only his torso in a suit and tie. The man’s voice concludes: “It’s a nice suit, but when it comes to working for us, it’s a little bit empty.”

Brian Young, Internet and media manager for the Johnson campaign, remarked, “The point is to contrast his sartorial splendor with lack of achievement on things that really matter to voters.”

McHugh campaign spokesman Chris Mathey said, “The premise of the ad is so silly and has no relevancy to the issues before us that I’m not going to even dignify [it] with a response.”