When legislating doesn't require legislation

Two-thirds of the 109th Congress is in the books already, and two members have yet to introduce any legislation.

According to a tally kept by the Library of Congress’s Thomas website, Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) are the only two House members who are the original sponsors of exactly zero bills.

Two-thirds of the 109th Congress is in the books already, and two members have yet to introduce any legislation.

According to a tally kept by the Library of Congress’s Thomas website, Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) are the only two House members who are the original sponsors of exactly zero bills.

Westmoreland is a freshman member; Napolitano, who is in her fourth term, sponsored four bills in the 108th.

Brian Robinson, press secretary for Westmoreland, joked, “We hope we’re the last man standing.”

He explained that his boss’s focus is not on making laws but on reducing regulation and the size of government. “If someone wants to hold it against us for not renaming a post office in the 8th District, that’s fine,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Napolitano did not offer a comment before press time.

Barely getting on the board, with one bill each, are Reps. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.). Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and John Campbell (R-Calif.) also have introduced a single bill, but they joined Congress midsession.

The above members are a far cry from Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), who takes the prize so far with a whopping 119 bills introduced — nearly double the output of Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), who is second with 64.

In the upper chamber, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), is out in front with 123 bills. Checking in behind him are Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) with 78 and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) with 69.

Santorum spokesman Robert Traynham said the senators has introduced a “multitude of bills” to bring jobs to western Pennsylvania.

Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the fewest Senate bills to his name, with seven, followed by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) with eight and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) with nine.


A Bush and a Frist pick Clinton for graduation

President Clinton will be giving the Class Day address, an important commencement-week speech, at Princeton University this year. That’s not news; the former president regularly speaks at colleges.

What is news is who chose him. Lauren Bush, the niece of President Bush, and Harrison Frist, son of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), made up half of the panel that selected the Democratic Party hero.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the graduating class also nominated actor Bill Murray and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

“We all agreed that Bill Clinton was a really engaging speaker,” Chris Lloyd, another member of the committee, told the paper. “We were very impressed with his extensive career in public service and the global work of the foundation he formed since leaving the presidency. We also appreciated his experiences as the parent of a recent college graduate.”

A Princeton spokeswoman, citing security concerns, would not even confirm that Bush and Frist attend the school.

So what was the reaction of the university’s conservative students? Surprisingly tame.

Princeton College Republicans President Alex Maugeri, in a statement that might raise the eyebrows of many a House impeachment manager, told The Hill that Clinton is “not a very objectionable individual.”

“The overall reaction was overwhelmingly positive to have a former president,” he said. “It reflects how President Clinton has carried himself out of the White House.”

Perhaps the enmity that characterized Republicans’ relationship with the former president hasn’t been passed down to the next generation.


Renzi loses house to fire

Rep. Rick Renzi’s (R-Ariz.) guesthouse in Burke, Va., burned to the ground Sunday after a candle was left unattended.

No one was injured.

According to news reports, firefighters had difficulty pumping water to the fire, as the nearest hydrant was some 3,000 feet away.

The guesthouse was on the same property, but unattached to, Renzi’s large home in Burke, which houses his family of 14.

According to last year’s financial disclosure reports, he also owns two homes in Arizona.


Remini reveals number of majority team whips

The number of whips on the majority team has been a closely guarded secret since at least as far back as the tenure of Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) as majority whip.

But the actual number has finally been revealed. In the appendix of his soon-to-be-released history of the House, aptly titled The House, House Historian Robert Remini reveals that “the whip has 16 deputy whips and 60 regional whips … a whip for every three or four members.”

And whom does the author list as the source for that information? None other than House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

With the secret finally revealed, one wonders what all the fuss was about.


Capitol cop entering Leesburg political world

Sgt. Frank Holtz of the Capitol Police spent seven years in dignitary protection, listening to the stump speeches of congressional leaders such as Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) in their home states. Now, he says, “I’m glad I paid attention.”

Holtz is among nine candidates running for three open seats on the Leesburg Town Council in a May 2 election.

The 21-year veteran of the force, who now serves in its first-responder division, represented Leesburg on Loudon County’s community-justice board when some local leaders asked him to run for the council post.

So, he said, he started knocking on doors and discussing issues with voters. He said he’s focusing his campaign on growth, quality-of-life issues and crime.

Fortunately, he said, the council is nonpartisan. Otherwise, as a federal employee, he’d be ineligible to run.

“We don’t pull on anybody’s coattails,” he said.


Rayburn foyer heart clinic

The Sister to Sister foundation is providing free heart-health screenings in the Rayburn foyer today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Founded in 2000 by Irene Pollin, wife of Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, Sister to Sister provides the screenings nationally.

“Heart disease kills more American women than any other disease, yet most women don’t think they are at risk,” said Pollin in a statement.

Women and men alike are welcome at today’s event, at which you can get free cholesterol, glucose and blood-pressure screenings, free massages and “heart healthy” refreshments.

Curious that they would screen for blood pressure coming off a two-week recess. Perhaps the results will be artificially low.

Patrick O’Connor contributed to this page.