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Heard on the Hill: NFLers Ask Members to Tackle Bargaining Issues

National Football League defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday will suit up with the Washington Redskins this season, but on Tuesday, he came to the nation’s capital to handle business off the gridiron.

Holliday joined fellow players and the NFL Players Association to ask for Members’ help in negotiations over the players’ collective bargaining agreement, which expires at the end of the season. Unless a deal over the agreement is struck with team owners, the 2011 season could get canceled.

“It’s going to take the House and Senate to step in and champion our cause,” Holliday told HOH.

Holliday met with several Members, including former NFLer-turned-Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who he called “very enthusiastic about us being there and very knowledgeable of sports.”

“It’s definitely a pleasure sitting and meeting with him,” Holliday said.

And while the 2011 season is up in the air, 2010 will kick off soon — so HOH asked Holliday what he thinks about the burgundy and gold’s chances under new head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was brought over from the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Shanahan is a guy who’s proven, and so I’m excited about it,” he said.

Hail to the Redskins!

Senatorial Daddy Duties

When Sen. Carte Goodwin was sworn in Tuesday to the seat left unoccupied by the late Sen. Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat didn’t just become the latest person to serve as an interim Senator this Congressional session.

He’s also likely to be the second interim Senator this session to welcome a new baby while in office.

Goodwin’s wife, Rochelle, is about eight months pregnant with the couple’s second child, making it very likely that the new Senator will also be taking care of a newborn in between his legislative work. And as Hill denizens will recall, Florida Sen. George LeMieux (R) — who was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. Mel Martinez (R) — welcomed baby daughter Madeleine in March.

As the unspoken rules of journalism state, three makes a trend — so just one more interim Senator needs to welcome a new child for us to officially state for the record that the Senate is experiencing an interim baby boom.

Taking a Back Seat to Senators

No one likes sweaty tourists interfering with their workday, especially Members of Congress, who have “Senators Only” elevators and subway cars to avoid interacting with the proletariat as much as possible.

On Tuesday, it appeared that they would have to interact even less with out-of-towners, thanks to extra “Senators Only” cars that were added to the Russell Senate Office Building subway.

Traditionally, one car of each subway train is reserved for Senators to ensure they can get a seat. But earlier this week, two cars were marked with pieces of paper announcing they were for Senators only.

That’s a lot of exclusivity, especially considering there are only 100 Senators and thousands of tourists who roam the Hill each day. HOH hears the two cars are often empty, while fanny pack-wearing tourists are forced to cram into the rest of the train.

But it turns out, in this instance at least, Senators aren’t trying to avoid Hill visitors. One of the subway’s two trains is out of commission because of mechanical woes, resulting in the Architect of the Capitol designating two sections in the remaining train for Senators, spokeswoman Eva Malecki tells HOH.

Nobody’s Here but Us Little People

Sen. Dianne Feinstein seemed a bit befuddled when she was the first
Senator to show up Tuesday in a crowded room in the Capitol for a Rules and Administration Committee vote to nominate a new public printer.

The California Democrat walked into the tiny space, which was jam-packed with staffers and reporters, and exclaimed, “Oh, no one’s here.”

“I mean, everyone’s here,” she quickly added.

Interestingly, even though Feinstein was the first Member to show up, she ultimately didn’t vote.

Feinstein told panel staffers that she had a meeting to get to, so the aides scrambled to get a quorum together. But Feinstein took off anyway, and soon after, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and several others filed in to cast their voice votes.

Feinstein returned only to find that the vote had been cast without her.

Overheard on the Hill

“Walked the boardwalk in Bradley Beach during Lobster Festival. Lobster roll combo w/ sweet potato fries was the best.”

— Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), on one of the delicious joys of summer in a Sunday tweet.

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