The Washington Post

Rep. Lynn Jenkins discovers Congress’ witness-scaring secrets

We’ve heard of witness intimidation, and now we know one of Congress’ secrets to making those testifying before committees feel a bit. . .overmatched: low-slung chairs.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins found herself on an unfamiliar side of the dais Thursday when she testified before a subcommittee of the Ways and Means committee—of which she is a member. The Kansas Republican, used to sitting among the members of the committee, instead sat in a witness chair to discuss expiring tax provisions. Jenkins is a CPA and the sponsor of a bill extending tax breaks for short-line railways.

But Jenkins, when called on, had trouble even seeing over the top of the table in front of her. “I would refer to my notes,” she said, “But I can’t see them. I’m wondering if there's a phone book or something I could sit on.”

Jenkins, it turns out, isn’t exactly a tall woman—a staffer says she stands at a mean five feet even.

As her colleagues laughed, she noted: “It’s a very intimidating chair.”

Exactly. . . .

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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