It sounds like a helicopter hovering about a block away, our colleague Tom Jackman reported Thursday in his blog, The State of NoVa, and it keeps buzzing, 24 hours a day.
The building houses the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, where they deal with national security data such as the no-fly list. There is probably “a lot of heavy-duty computing going on,” Jackman writes, “which needs to be kept cool while running around the clock.”
The noise comes from 23 air-conditioning units atop the building, each with 10 whirring fans. And it’s been driving residents crazy for two years, penetrating homes even with their windows closed and the AC going full blast.
The neighbors have been complaining mightily, holding meetings, and trying to get some relief from local and federal officials, the owner — Goldstar Group of Bethesda — and the General Services Administration. (The former tenant, the CIA, was much quieter.)
A Goldstar representative said Wednesday that changes were being made and that the landlords were “optimistic” the moves would reduce the noise.
Rough on the diamond
The dust had barely settled after the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game and the team made up of lawmakers was already plotting a comeback.
“We’ll be back next year, so we can take that trophy back,” predicted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
, one of the team’s captains and a co-founder of the charity game benefiting young breast cancer victims. On the House floor Thursday, the Florida Democrat congratulated (though “not too enthusiastically,” she cautioned) the team of journalists that beat the pols.
More cheerfully, she announced that Wednesday’s game had raised more than $50,000 for the Young Survival Coalition. And she vowed that the bipartisan team would “use the friendships we build on the field and take those into the chamber so we can work together on the problems facing our country.”
Despite the predictions, early scouting reports for next year show some grim news for Wasserman Schultz’s team: Some of its best players may not be there when the Lady Lawmakers seek their revenge. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) — an avid marathon runner who’s speedy around the plates — lost her primary. And two hot bats, Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), are facing tough reelections fights.
Alas, with job security in the media industry being what it is, the Bad News Babes’ roster could always winnow, too.
No working for bad guys
Attention, lobbyists! The fiscal 2013 financial services bill approved Wednesday in the House Appropriations Committee includes a provision that trims a lucrative client base for former presidents, members of Congress, top spies and senior political appointees.
Those officials, as well as retired generals and admirals, would be barred from lobbying for certain unpleasant governments — and any companies they own or control — for 10 years after leaving federal office.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf
(R-Va.), applies to any countries the State Department designates as a “Country of Particular Concern” for severe human rights violations and religious persecution.
That group includes Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.
An earlier version of the bill had a worldwide ban on such lobbying, but that seemed a bit too much for some members.
The financial services bill, a must-pass measure, is headed for conference with a Senate version. We’ll see whether the Senate goes along.
(Before panic sets in, it should be noted the bill is not retroactive.)
Forget about signing up to attend that annual meeting in Monaco in July of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
We had written last week that Rep.
(R-N.J.), as the OSCE special rep on human trafficking, was going to go to introduce a resolution against it at the meeting. But he called Thursday to say that he had already decided not to lead a congressional delegation there.
Smith said he had initially opposed having the meeting there — “I couldn’t believe they picked Monaco” as the site — but he was told the pricey gambling mecca on the Riviera would produce “the biggest turnout ever” of participants.
“I was caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said, but he finally decided against going the weekend before last — just before he left on a trip to Bolivia to visit
, a Brooklyn businessman imprisoned for nearly a year without charges on suspicion of money laundering. Smith met with him and with Bolivian officials to urge them to release Ostreicher.
As for the anti-trafficking resolution, Smith said he would ask someone else to introduce it.
Sen. Patrick Leahy
is close to casting his 14,000th vote, a threshold that only a handful of senators have met.
As of Thursday morning, the Vermont Democrat was up to 13,972 votes, putting him a mere 28 votes shy of the milestone. The farm bill on the Senate floor this week, with its dozens of amendments, helped boost his stats. But our best guess is that he’ll cross the line to 14,000 sometime next week — putting him in an elite club.
That’s more votes than any other sitting senator — except
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who’s cast more than 16,000 votes since coming to the Senate in 1963. And for those really keeping score, the all-time record holder is the late
Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who gave a “yea” or “nay” a whopping 18,689 times during his half-century Senate career.
Others in the 14K-plus club are the retired Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).
With Emily Heil
The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.