Sensenbrenner won’t be on Stupak’s Christmas card list

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) probably shouldn’t ask for any favors from Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee anytime soon. One of the panel’s Democratic members is looking for payback.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sat through much of a three-hour hearing of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming last week. He’s been active on the issue of alleged price-gouging by oil companies, and was looking for a chance to question oil executives who were testifying.

But when Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) asked for unanimous consent for Stupak, who is not a member of the committee, to speak, Sensenbrenner wouldn’t go along. As originally reported by the blog of The Detroit News, Sensenbrenner said Democrats hadn’t cleared the request with committee Republicans.

That apparently left Stupak fuming.

“That’s OK,” he told Sensenbrenner. “What comes around goes around.”  

Members of Congress — vain or not?

Lawmakers are often accused of being disingenuous. But with the new congressional facebook hitting the streets comes a new era of lawmakers who chose to have their pictures retaken and not use the photo that was displayed in last year’s edition. Many said they wanted to appear as they actually are, and not display themselves as they looked a decade ago, as some members prefer. In total, 16 percent of women and 14 percent of men in Congress changed their photographs, according to an ITK review of all members’ pictures.

In some cases, the retaken photo is not much different, as backgrounds are changed or the lawmaker dons a necklace, as in the case of Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.). In others, the hairdo has changed and the face appears, well, fresher.

A few lawmakers look significantly different in their new photographs. For instance, Rep. Phil English’s (R-Pa.) lost the glasses, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Calif.) hair is grayer and Rep. Frank LoBiondo’s (R-N.J.) locks are far shorter.

Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), meanwhile, went from the serious look in 2007 to smiley in the 2008 edition.

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) said that her mother always told her to keep her publicity photos current. “I like them both,” she said after comparing the two pictures.

“There are people who have what we say is their bar mitzvah pictures,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who appears to have had a significant makeover in her new picture, with blond highlights and a new cut. “I certainly want to keep it so there is some resemblance to the current me.”


Redford turns down Sens. Obama and Clinton

Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) have both approached actor Robert Redford for his endorsement. But so far, the actor isn’t publicly supporting either of them — instead, he told ITK, he’s directing his energies to the “grassroots” congressional House races.

“I’m staying out of that territory,” he said at an Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill last week. “A better place for me to work is the grass roots.”

The last time Redford opened his wallet to give to a candidate was 2004, according to Opensecrets.org. Redford gave $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that year, according to the website.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns declined to comment.
    

Sighting: George Stephanopoulos pops into French bistro

George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” was spotted last week walking across Connecticut Avenue at the intersection of S Street near Dupont Circle. His wife, Ali Wentworth, accompanied him along with their two young daughters.

Stephanopoulos certainly had his hands full with daughter Harper, a toddler whom he was carrying sideways. The child appeared to be kicking, flailing her arms and legs about, making the journey difficult for the former Clinton administration official. At one point, Wentworth took over the operation and pulled the child out of his arms while Stephanopoulos took the hand of Elliott, his older daughter.

Stephanopoulos and his family ultimately walked into Bistro du Coin, a popular French eatery in the neighborhood. We can only assume they had a nice, quiet meal.

Stephanopoulos did not comment by press time.


Angelina Jolie’s brother to educate lawmakers

Angelina Jolie’s brother, James Haven, plans to visit Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday with Global Action for Children (GAC).

GAC Executive Director Jennifer Delaney is taking him to educate members of Congress about orphans’ and vulnerable children’s issues and discussing a bill regarding the passage of the reauthorization bill aimed at combating AIDS.

Some might remember Haven best for the French kiss he shared with sister Angelina at the 2000 Oscars.


Obama: The karaoke candidate

The House Budget Committee is more known for policy jargon than rockin’ out — remember the Social Security lockbox?

But on Sunday night, Diana Meredith, a budget analyst for the panel, and Kitty Richards, a policy associate, tried to change that by delivering rousing renditions of Prince and the Temptations at Solly’s U Street Tavern.

Thankfully, the duo didn’t bring any oversized bright blue charts on stage.

They joined several Hill staffers for the karaoke fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). For a $20 campaign donation, guests took turns as lead singer for the local band Northeast Corridor.

“Obama’s the karaoke candidate because he wants to put the microphone in the hands of the people,” said organizer Jason Levitis.

Meredith said Obama is so motivating that “I’m even considering phone-banking for him — and I hate phone-banking.”

Drawing a sharp contrast with Obama’s rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), she said, “Hillary does not inspire me to phone-bank.”

Hill staffers are invited to attend the next Sing for Obama karaoke fundraiser on May 21 at the Wonderland Ballroom, a bar at 1101 Kenyon St. NW.