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Heard on the Hill: Paranoid, Much?

That kooky Rep. Dan Burton is continuing to champion an unlikely cause: wrapping the House chamber in a protective bubble. The Indiana Republican — who once famously tried to prove that former Clinton administration official Vince Foster’s death was not a suicide by re-enacting his version of it in his backyard using a pumpkin and a pistol — is again pressing the wacky idea of erecting a shield to protect Congress.

[IMGCAP(1)]And he didn’t mince words, as he introduced legislation in the House Rules Committee on Thursday.

“What this bill does is it would authorize a study to look at enclosing the chamber, the gallery chamber, with Plexiglas so that somebody can’t throw a bomb down on the floor and kill a lot of us,— he told the committee.

The colorful Congressman proceeded to describe in detail exactly how a terrorist could kill “half the Members of Congress right now.— Burton insisted that the protective shield had other benefits, such as improving acoustics in the House chamber. “And you can do it in a way that would be very attractive,— he enthused to colleagues, most of whom remained unconvinced of the wisdom of Burton’s plan.

Burton spokesman John Donnelly acknowledged that the measure, which ultimately didn’t make it onto the rule in question, could be a hard sell. “We hoped the Rules Committee would think outside the box,— he said.

Make that outside the bubble.

Ka-Ching! Can we borrow Rep. Marcia Fudge’s lucky rabbit’s foot? Please? Because all we ever seem to end up with at the slot machines is a headache and a dwindling bucket of quarters.

The Ohio Democrat, though, hit the jackpot, taking home a cool $1,500 last year in winnings from the Presque Isle Casino in Erie, Pa., according to her recent financial disclosure. Of course, Fudge isn’t the only Member of Congress to win big bucks last year — Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) raked in $2,500 in lotto winnings.

Fudge spokeswoman Aketa Simmons tells HOH that the Congresswoman won the big bucks at the quarter slot machines, but declined to elaborate further.

Um, OK, but about that rabbit’s foot …?

Method Acting, Hill Style. Sure, there’s plenty of talk about that Reese Witherspoon-Owen Wilson-Paul Rudd baseball movie that’s currently filming around town. But it’s not the only game in town.

Another D.C.-based flick, titled “Below the Beltway,— also is being shot right now, and HOH hears that one of the (admittedly lesser-known) stars came to Capitol Hill to conduct research last week.

Indie actress Iris Almario, best known for gigs on soap operas such as “The Young and the Restless,— met with staffers in the offices of Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) on Thursday to learn about what it’s like to work on Capitol Hill.

Almario plays a Senate legislative director in the low-budget independent film, which takes a satirical look inside the lives of the people who conduct the behind-the-scenes work in Washington. Filming is set to wrap on June 30, according to the D.C. Office of Motion Picture & Television Development.

HOH thinks the actress should go even further into her role research and take an intern spot to really get a taste of what it’s like to toil on the Hill.

We hear there are openings in the office of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Smoke Signals. Talk on Capitol Hill could soon go to pot.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced the Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use by Responsible Adults last week, seeking to eliminate most of the federal penalties for small-time pot users.

Co-sponsored by Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif), the measure would scrap most federal criminal penalties (but not override state law) for those possessing up to 100 grams of marijuana or are involved in the not-for-profit transfer of up to 1 ounce of the substance.

“I think John Stuart Mill had it right in the 1850s when he argued that individuals should have the right to do what they want in private, so long as they don’t hurt anyone else,— Frank said.

Aaron Houston, the government relations director for the Marijuana Policy Project, predicted that “there’s going to be a lot of discussion— about the measure on Capitol Hill, in part because attitudes about marijuana are shifting.

“Our federal government has had an absolutely draconian, non-science-based, non-fact-based view on marijuana for many years,— Houston said. “We’re starting to see that change.—

And in other good news for the pro-pot lobby, Frank also recently introduced legislation that would strengthen protections for state-authorized medical marijuana users.

We can practically hear the Peter Tosh song “Legalize It— playing in the chamber.

Overheard on the Hill. “The USS John McCain, a Navy destroyer, will intercept the ship Kang Nam as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China, according to a senior U.S. defense official.—

— A Fox News report on Friday, on the plans for the namesake ship of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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