Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015

From One Sausage-Making to Another

From One Sausage Making to Another

Kushner, center, Feder, left, and Alex Mejia, right, of MeatCrafters prepare lunch at the processing plant in Landover, Md. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For Aaron Kline Kushner, working on Capitol Hill was a perfect entree into doing what he loves now: sausage-making.

“We get the joke all the time,” Kushner explained. “We really know how the sausage gets made.” Full story

Take Five: Rep. Mark Takai

Take Five: Rep. Mark Takai

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, freshman Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, sat down with HOH over a plate of traditional luau dishes to tell us about his family, orthopedic surgery and mistaken identities.

Take Five: Rep. Mark Takai

Last Friday’s luau spread included traditional dishes such as poi, lomilomi salmon, and laulau. (Megan Evans/CQ Roll Call)

Q. What is your favorite pastime?

A: You know, its very difficult to do now since I’m here in D.C. and my family is back in Hawaii. My favorite pastime is spending time with my family, and that’s pretty much all I have in terms of downtime.

On the weekends when I’m home, I try to keep the weekends clear, so on Sundays we go and work out in the morning and in the evenings we have my brother, my sister and my family come together for dinner. We’re usually at the pool or at the park, my daughter plays soccer and my son swims.

Q. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon for the minor sports, running and swimming. … Very early in life I started swimming, and I would get injured a lot and have to see physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons and I decided that would be pretty cool to do.

Q. Do you have a favorite book or a favorite author?

A: No, not really. I read a lot, mostly just current events. I read everything I can get my hands on. I ordered Steve Israel’s book, [“The Global War on Morris”] so I’m looking forward to that coming. What I’m trying to do now is to read some of what my colleagues have written, but I haven’t started yet.

Q. Do you have a favorite campaign story?

A: I have interesting stories here [in D.C.]. So there’s 14 Asian-American and Pacific Islanders in Congress and — without fail — every day [Rep.] Ted Lieu [D-Calif.] gets called Mark Takai, and Mark Takai gets called either Mark Takano or Ted Lieu, but it’s been a lot of fun because we all get together and do a recap of the day and who made that mistake. And, you know, it’s OK! We’re just brand new, and Ted’s a great guy too. I told Ted that as long as he continues to be someone I like, I have no problem having people think that he’s Mark Takai. I mean, I’ve got a lot of pretty awesome stories. In fact, I gave a speech at the Democratic issues conference and before I started I said, “I just want everyone to know that is Ted Lieu over there from California, and I’m Mark Takai from Hawaii. Aloha.” The next day Ted tells me, “I got to tell you this; someone came up to me and said, ‘Great speech.’”

Q. Now, this last question is controversial. Dogs, cats or other?

A: Before children, “B.C.,” my wife and I had two dogs, both Maltese. We got one one year before we got married, and we got our second one the year we got married, and the second one is now 17 years old. Pretty remarkable. We’re a dog family. Many a Christmas card had Tammy and me and our two dogs.

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‘Walking Dead’ Wanders Into Steve Stivers Territory

After five seasons of fighting off fearsome, reanimated corpses that have relentlessly thinned their ranks and gruesomely robbed them of loved ones, the ragtag band of apocalyptic survivors on AMC’s engrossing drama “The Walking Dead” have finally stumbled upon a new threat: a survivalist federal lawmaker.

The run-down crew of unturned humans, led by former law enforcement officer Rick Grimes, finally reached the haven known as “Alexandria” in Sunday night’s episode.

The exhausted travelers soon learn they were summoned to the Northern Virginia stronghold by Deanna Monroe — the one-time representative from Ohio’s 15th District who has been comfortably riding out the horrific end-of-days scenario in her unsettlingly tranquil, gated community.

Unlike faux pockets of power created by other TV franchises (we’re looking at you, dearly departed “Parks and Recreation”), Monroe name-checks the seat currently occupied by Ohio Republican Steve Stivers. Full story

March 2, 2015

Elizabeth Roskam Readies Bibi’s Dome

Administration officials have made it very clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not get to press the flesh with President Barack Obama before or after Tuesday’s politically charged appearance on Capitol Hill. But, thanks to congressional spouse Elizabeth Roskam, Bibi won’t be going home completely empty-handed.

The wife of Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., has prepared a gift for the polarizing world leader: A shadowy still life of the Capitol Dome. The artist has dubbed it “Dome of Consequence.”

Elizabeth Roskam Readies Bibi’s Dome

Peter Roskam)" width="445" height="345" /> “Dome of Consequence” by Elizabeth Roskam (Courtesy Peter Roskam)

Full story

Charlie Rangel Hatches Healthy Eating Plan

Affordable Care Act sponsor Rep. Charles B. Rangel Monday proposed everyone take three small steps as part of a monthlong commitment to greater dietary awareness.

Charlie Rangel Hatches Healthy Eating Plan

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Those who choose to adopt the “Rangel Resolution” —  (he rolled out the pilot program at an event in Harlem, N.Y.) — are obliged to consider his following guidelines before next parting their lips: Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:50 p.m.
Food, Reps

HOH Word of the Week: Groan

GROAN, n. — The language in which a Republican Federal officeholder expounds his view of the political situation.”

— From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce.

HOH Word of the Week Archives:

HOH Word of the Week: Junketeer

HOH Word of the Week: ‘Significant’ Special Elections

HOH Word of the Week: Hillite

HOH Word of the Week: Australian Ballot

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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Heard on the (Goat) Hill

Heard on the (Goat) Hill

Thousands are expected in Alabama for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — “Come on back March 7, 8 and 9, because there will be thousands and thousands and thousands here,” Mayor Todd Strange told the crowd amassed at Goat Hill, the moniker affixed to the grounds of the state Capitol here.

Strange was speaking to cyclists and their supporters gathered for the Feb. 21 Montgomery Bicycle Club 50th Anniversary Selma to Montgomery Bicycle Ride. He was referring to the visitors set to descend upon his fair state and the capital region to commemorate the half-century mark of the voting rights march led by Martin Luther King Jr. Full story

February 27, 2015

Hell Bent for (Patriotic) Leather

Entrepreneur Sylvia Noster has made it her mission to make celebrating the Constitution more fashionable.

Hell Bent for (Patriotic) Leather

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A career fashion designer, the now 57-year-old patriot decided to pursue a self-styled brand of luxury goods after experiencing a revelation about what living in the land of the free truly means to her. Full story

Activist Toques Scour Capitol Hill for Food Aid

Just under a dozen renowned hospitality professionals looked to carve up both chambers of Congress, pressing their respective lawmakers to support the realignment of outdated global assistance provisions.

The food service vets, who walked the halls of Congress on behalf of Oxfam America, flew in from across the country on Feb. 24 to voice their support for the Food for Peace Reform Act co-authored by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Chris Coons, D-Del.

“This is an antiquated system that needs a total overhaul. And this legislation is the gold standard of what aid would look like if it were designed from the ground up today,” Oxfam America Senior Policy Adviser Eric Muñoz said of the proposed policy changes. Full story

February 26, 2015

Jim Inhofe Throws a Snowball (Video)

Sometimes you just can’t resist the urge to start a snowball fight.

In discussing recent reports of 2014 being the warmest year on record, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe pulled out a snowball on the floor and tossed it at the presiding officer, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. Full story

Overheard: Kirk Says Give House GOP a Straw

Overheard: Kirk Says Give House GOP a Straw

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I think the feeling of most people is it’s a fight that we should have not fought. As a governing party, we’ve got to fund DHS and say to the House, ‘Here’s a straw so you can suck it up.'”

— Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., said regarding the Department of Homeland Security funding standoff. Full story

Posers Abound at #CPAC2015

It’s a good thing Buzzkill Boehner is considered too much of a squish to get his Conservative Political Action Conference on. Because there’s no way the selfie-averse Ohio Republican could tolerate the vanity fair happening across the river at National Harbor.

  Full story

11 Months Later, Boehner Reminds Members Again to Dress Appropriately (Video)

Eleven months to the day after Speaker John A. Boehner reminded members to wear “appropriate business attire” on the House floor, the Ohio Republican was singing a familiar tune Wednesday.

“Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor may be. You know who you are,” Boehner said, a reminder he has issued each of the past three years. Full story

February 25, 2015

Lawmaker’s Quest for Cookie Crumbles

In a truly devastating blow, Rep. Scott Rigell came up empty-handed Wednesday in his search for a cookie from the House Carry-Out, a setback that’s likely to drag down the rest of his day, maybe even the rest of his week.

Rigell, who was on his way to votes Wednesday afternoon, made a detour to the Capitol basement’s eatery for the expressed purpose of a confectionery pick-me-up. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 3:57 p.m.
Food, Reps, Restos

Critics Stick It to Tom Wheeler

An original Banksy it ain’t.

But activists displeased with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler have plastered unflattering images of the administration aide in plain sight.

Critics Stick It to Tom Wheeler

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The prominently displayed posters — which, according to the Daily Caller, have popped up at multiple locations all over town — portray the aspiring internet regulator as being a “boot licker” and accuse him of being “Obama’s Bitch.”

Reminds us of the days unflinching critiques of President Ronald Reagan’s pal Edwin Meese adorned nearly every street corner.

Critics Stick It to Tom Wheeler

(Screenshot)

(Oink-oink, my good man.)

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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