Longing for the long-gone cherry blossoms

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) is certainly no tourist, having served in Congress since 2005.

But he wants to see the cherry blossoms at the tidal basin — badly. Green last month told ITK he had been too busy over the years to take time out and bask in the D.C. blossomness.

He then stopped mid-sentence and called his office to set up an appointment with the cherry blossoms.

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ITK didn’t have the heart to tell him, but he soon found out the cold, hard truth.

“They told me that it was too late. The blooms were already gone,” Green said later. “Oh well, I guess I will have to see them next year.”

Green pointed out that between the demands of work and the constant trips to and from his district, he has very little time left for personal activities. “You know, if I want to go shopping, I have to put it on my calendar so I don’t get scheduled to do something else.”

Asked if he had already put in a request with his staff to schedule time for him to see the cherry wonders next year, a smiling Green responded, “That is not a bad idea.”


Don’t mess with Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley doesn’t appreciate when his Twitters are questioned, so when The Hill’s Michael O’Brien raised the possibility that a stand-in was Tweeting for the Iowa Republican, Grassley struck back.

It all started when a Tuesday posting on The Hill’s Twitter Room asked, “What have they done with the real Chuck Grassley?”

The post noted that Grassley’s latest Tweet had spelled words out and had the proper punctuation, which broke from Grassley Twitter tradition.

Hours later, Grassley fired back on Twitter: “To the Hill reporter who thought I didn’t input my own AM Tweet today. Well believe me I did. My Bb is always w me.”



The longest title in Washington

Headhunters always say that it is important to negotiate the title of your new job before starting.

If there was a negotiation between Philip Verveer and the White House, Verveer won.

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In what has to be the longest title in Washington, the White House announced Verveer’s new job this week as: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Department of State.

It is unclear what Verveer says when people ask him what he does, but ITK would love to see his business card.

Verveer has bragging rights at home. His wife, Melanne Verveer, has a title of only 10 words: Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, Secretary of State.


It’s still the preseason

Despite the item above, ITK is going to respectfully and cautiously call out Grassley on another topic.

During an interview on MSNBC earlier this week, Grassley warned against a huge government role in reshaping the nation’s healthcare.

Now, when Democrats and Republicans warn against what they think is bad legislation, they like to bring out the fear factor.

In seeking votes for the Iraq war, the Bush administration spoke of mushroom clouds, while President Obama basically suggested the nation’s economy would turn to dust if the economic stimulus package didn’t get to his desk.

Grassley, meanwhile, reminded America on national television that a government solution to healthcare would repeat the errors of the past and, specifically, the Senate dining room!

He said, “We just had to turn the Senate dining room over to private enterprise because it was losing so much money when the Senate was running it. So you’ve got to be careful about government-run programs.”

Hey, it’s still early in the healthcare reform debate. Grassley, who has forgotten more about healthcare than ITK will ever know, is probably holding his best material for the Senate floor.

And in the news-you-can-use department, Grassley said the Senate dining room is still serving the bean soup.

“Since 1907,” Grassley noted.


Sighting

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was spotted looking all summery in an electric pink shirt doing her Saturday shopping at Trader Joe’s in Foggy Bottom. The senator did a hefty shopping trip by herself, loading up a full cart that included a couple bunches of tulips.


Schock: I don’t know if I want to do this forever

The congressman Republicans hope could represent a new generation of the party said Wednesday he’s not sure he wants to make a career out of politics.

“I’m enjoying the role now, but I don’t know if I want to do this forever,” 27-year-old freshman Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) told CNN in an interview that aired Wednesday.

Schock’s age has drawn him attention and some fawning admirers of his looks, but he may not become a Capitol Hill institution.

“I look around the Congress right now as a new member and see people who have served for 20 or 30 years, and I’m not sure I want that to be me,” he said. “So I take one day at a time, one election at a time, and, ultimately, the decision’s with the voters.”


TV pilot project comes to Capitol Hill

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If you are a member of Results Gym on Capitol Hill, you could soon land a role in a new TV pilot project.

The creators of “The Gym” recently reached a deal with the owners of Results to film there. One of the stipulations is that a member of the gym will land a “walk-on” role in the sitcom.

To learn about how you could become a star (or perhaps an extra), the show is having a fundraiser this Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight at My Brother’s Place on 237 2nd St. NW. More information is available at www.thegymtvshow.com.


Kudos to Rep. Bill Young

ITK gives a big-time shout-out to Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) for casting his 20,000th recorded vote on Wednesday.

The big vote happened on an amendment to the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act.

Young and his staff subsequently celebrated with a cake shaped in a 20,000 figure.

Earlier this month, Young was deemed one of the most bipartisan lawmakers in the House in a survey conducted by The Hill.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) deemed Young a “legislator’s legislator,” which is one of the best compliments you can get from a member of the opposing party.

Young cast his first vote in 1971, two years before the House adopted an electronic voting system.