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October 24, 2007

I've been up and down the Hill so much I feel like Jill-- sans bucket

I think my favorite part of my job is going to hearings up on the Hill. I don’t care what they’re talking about; watching people in power interact is just fascinating. I especially like going to hearings in the Capitol building, which is just beautiful—from the murals on the ceilings to the mosaic tiling on the floor.

Today I went to a hearing of the House Rules Committee, one that I had hoofed all the way to the Hill for yesterday only to find it had been postponed. Today I discovered they had once again put off discussion on the bill I was there to cover to sometime next week, but I figured I’d stick around to hear a report from the Small Business Committee since I was there already.

The atmosphere in these hearings is enough to make someone with ADD scream for mercy. You’d think there would be some sense of decorum; it is, after all, a meeting of our nation’s leaders. But there are always people coming in and out of the room, banging the doors as they go about their business. The staffers seated behind their fearless leaders are nearly always chattering with each other, if not demanding said leader’s ear while people are testifying.

And everyone, I mean EVERYONE, is constantly on their Blackberries. There’s a near-constant hum in the room as vibrations from incoming messages demand attention. It's just rude.

Anyway, I’m ever-so-glad I chose to stick around today because I was lucky enough to witness some of the worst partisan bickering I’ve seen yet. The chair of the committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) got into a tiff with ranking member Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) over deadlines to submit bill amendments. Dreier was complaining that she roundly rejects Republican amendments for being as little as five minutes late.

Apparently her leadership of this powerful committee has rankled Republicans since she took the reins this session.

While Slaughter denied that she had a partisan motivation for rejecting amendments, Dreier kept up a constant drone of requesting to speak. When he finally got his chance he refused to look at anyone in the room in the eye, instead doodling in his notebook. I think this is what he was making.

2 comments:

  1. splendid. i love the way you make me laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Folks, you'd have been so proud of me--I celebrated the Pirate life last night at the annual Pirate Party.

    I celebrated but didn't exactly support the pirate life.

    I went like this:
    http://minnesota.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=41884419&id=13900725

    ReplyDelete