Cooperation Rules With Hill Staff Despite Polarization

The bitter partisanship has everyone on edge on Capitol Hill.

By + More

By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers 

The bitter partisanship over the federal debt, healthcare reform, and unemployment hasn't yet spilled over to top aides on Capitol Hill. But there's no doubt that everyone on the Hill is on edge these days. Just ask two of the most important aides there: Alexis Covey-Brandt, floor director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Catlin O'Neill, deputy director of floor operations for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "There's a higher sense of urgency," O'Neill told our Suzi Parker. "There's a sense of seriousness and urgency, and that makes it sometimes more difficult to get things done," adds Covey-Brandt. Still, cooperation rules with them, whether it's a bipartisan staff meeting or an after-hours huddle at nearby bars at the Mono­cle or Capital Grille. "The press wants to seize on the divisions," O'Neill says. "When things do get fever pitched, it's up to the staff to make sure the trains run on time." 

  • Check out our gallery of Whispers political caricatures. 
  • Want your Whispers first? Check out U.S. News Weekly.