Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 21, 2014

November 20, 2014

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Love in her running gear in a campaign video.  (Courtesy YouTube)

Think it’s too early for softball? Think again.

Veteran members of the Congressional Women’s Softball Team fanned out across Washington over the past week to recruit members-elect to their softball team. They square off each summer against the Bad News Babes, a team of reporters, in a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition breast cancer charity.

“We are pumped to have one of the largest class of new recruits to the Congressional Women’s team since we started the game,” game founder/Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said in a statement.

“These women are ready to bond, ready to play, ready to win and most of all, fired up to beat cancer and beat the press — again!” Wasserman Schultz said, alluding to her team’s slight win over the Bad News Babes this summer. Full story

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

Soldier. Lawmaker. Mother.

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

(Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth assumed a whole new heap of responsibilities Tuesday, welcoming baby girl Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey into the world.

The Illinois Democrat divulged she was expecting earlier this year during an appearance on the “Today” show.

“Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator [Daniel K.] Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name,” Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, said in a statement that reintroduced the world to the former Democratic senator, who is now retired and back in the islands. “We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives.”

No word on what the direct translation or cultural significance of “O’kalani” might be. But a cursory online search seems to suggest the Hawaiian term has something to do with the sky or heaven. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, grew up in Hawaii and graduated from high school and college in the Aloha State.

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:05 p.m.
Kiddies, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

November 19, 2014

Lee Zeldin Making Friends All Over Congress

Rep.-elect Lee Zeldin has only been around Capitol Hill for a few days, but he’s already making quite the impression among the New York delegation.

As originally reported by Newsday, the incoming Republican huddled with Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer earlier this week for a strategy session about all things Empire State. At one point during that exchange, Zeldin reportedly asked Schumer if Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel was actually Jewish, to which the senior senator replied, “I think so.”

When word got back to Israel, the House lawmaker gave Zeldin some guff online.

Zeldin attempted to smooth things over by floating a “manischewitz summit” — an offer that’s still hanging out there.

“It has not been scheduled yet,” an Israel aide said of the proposed sit-down. Full story

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Elephant Walk Capitol Quip!

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Elephant Walk Capitol Quip!

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Truncated policies are certainly on our agenda
  • There are two elephants in the room. Obama can’t ignore us now.
  • Now we can finally work together to get nothing done.
  • We’ll have to wait two more years for the THREE-Ring Circus.
  • Working for peanuts? Heck, I’d do this for free!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Nov. 23 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

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By Rebecca Gale Posted at 3:42 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Mark Pocan Dishes About Kringle

Square meals, schmare meals. Rep. Mark Pocan is more interested in circular arguments.

The Wisconsin Democrat expressed his love for kringle, an oval-shaped sweet, on social media, declaring the regional treat a “staple of any well rounded Wisconsin diet.”

A Scandinavian baking tradition that’s been carried on by Danish transplants to the Badger State, kringle features overlapping layers of flaky pastry dough historically stuffed with fruit or nut fillings. Modern versions include frosted rings run through with everything from caramel-drenched pecans (want) to peppermint-spiked chocolate cake (need).

Pocan told HOH he’s most fond of strawberry flavored kringle, though he’s open to trying new things.

“There are some good seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel,” he said. Full story

Laying the Foundation for a Congressional Twitter Feed

Which came first: the rock-star hog castrator or the egg?

In the case of Sen.-elect Joni Ernst, it would appear the chicken embryo wins.

Laying the Foundation for a Congressional Twitter Feed

(Screenshot)

The Iowa Republican, who has already begun making the rounds in #ThisTown after clinching the seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin, must now shift from campaign mode to (*fingers crossed*) full-on congressional over sharer. Full story

November 18, 2014

Pols Rally to Help Veterans Shift Into Tech Mode

A group of bipartisan lawmakers is lending a hand to a newly formed support network aimed at moving returning veterans onto the front lines of data crunching.

Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, both Republicans, have signed on alongside Maryland Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger to serve as honorary co-chairmen of the nascent NS2 Serves Training Program, a workforce-realigning initiative designed to usher military personnel into the field of information technology.

NS2 Serves, the charitable arm of SAP National Security Services Inc., is expected to share highlights from its ongoing efforts Tuesday during a congressional reception. The get-to-know-you event — formally dubbed “Improving the Well Being, Employment Status and Opportunities Available to Post 9/11 Veterans and Their Families” — is scheduled to take place in room SVC 209 of the Capitol Visitor Center from 5 to 7 p.m.

A budding coalition of like-minded organizations — including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Boeing Defense, Space and Security; Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Working Wardrobes and VetNet — should also be onsite for the roll out of the cooperative effort. Full story

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are two of the highest ranking officials scheduled to share their thoughts Wednesday during Fusion’s inaugural “RiseUp” summit.

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The invitation-only event, which should also be simulcast on Fusion.net, is scheduled to take place at emerging dining hub Union Market.

Fusion host Alicia Menendez has been tasked with chatting Booker up about the “Change Initiative” from 9 to 9:45 a.m., while anchor Jorge Ramos takes a crack at digesting the state of current affairs with Power from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

“The overall event will feature conversations and deep insight into youth protests and the role that technology plays in global movements for change,” a conference aide said of the planned discussion threads.

Per the aide, it was decided that waiting until after the midterms would prove more productive than attempting to shoehorn in an ambitious policy discussion into the already overly crowded calendar.

“Fusion decided to take a more global and less politicized approach, and host the ‘RiseUp’ summit after the election to ensure the focus of the event stayed on the importance of bringing a diverse group of leaders and activists into one space to explore how to transform the rising tides of protest into a positive wave of social progress,” the organizer told HOH.

Can’t skip work to hang at the all-day gabfest?

The activist powwow is expected to roll right through the evening courtesy of a VIP after-party (9 p.m. to midnight) featuring world DJs, drinks and dancing.

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November 17, 2014

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

Mischief makers in the employ of Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn went medieval on one of their own in an ongoing prank war commemorating everyone’s unrelenting march toward grim death.

Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Reynard, who formally entered middle age (Happy 40th!) on Sunday, discovered a certain cherished memory plastered across the entryway to his workplace upon strolling into Cannon Monday.

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Given the history of good family fun in our office, it came as no surprise to me. I figured winter was coming,” Reynard said of the snapshot of him perched atop the ultimate seat of power from HBO’s bloody, incest-driven family drama, “Game of Thrones.” Full story

Capitol Hill Cops Ham It Up in Prospective Doritos Ad

Apart from walking the same beat, Capitol Police Officers Terry Heffernan and Brian Stevers also share a passion for acting — a creative outlet currently being fed by starring rolls in a would-be Doritos commercial.

The aspiring ad, originally conceived and shot by short film vet Antonio Souto, is just one of the current crop of fan-made entries in the chip maker’s annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

Heffernan plays the smug, snack-hoarding mark terrorized by a creepy, tutu-clad Chihuahua for not sharing the famously cheesy grub with a nefarious little girl. By the end of the 30-second spot, the defeated schlub seeks to visit the same ruin on another unsuspecting stooge (Stevers) unwilling to part with a single, orange dust-covered morsel. Full story

John Dingell, Carl Levin to Be Honored With LBJ Award

John Dingell, Carl Levin to Be Honored With LBJ Award

Dingell, left, will be honored along with longtime colleague Levin. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

Fifty years ago, Rep. John D. Dingell stood next to President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signed the Civil Rights Act. He had already clocked in nearly a decade in the House at that point.

On Tuesday, Dingell and his longtime Michigan colleague, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, will be honored with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for years of public service in the name of the Texas POTUS’ legacy of civil rights.

Put together, the two Democratic lawmakers have more than nine decades of experience representing the Wolverine State in Washington.

Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, was elected in 1955 and is retiring at the end of this year. His wife, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, will take his seat in the new Congress.

Levin was elected in 1978 and will retire at the end of the 113th Congress as well.

“I consider my votes to advance the Civil Rights movement throughout the ’50s and ’60s among the most important votes I’ve cast in my 58 years in the House of Representatives,” Dingell said in a statement.

Levin, who said driving a taxi during law school helped introduce him to people from diverse backgrounds, served as general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in the ’60s. The foundation cited his support of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and his stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policies as modern-day civil rights achievements.

The award ceremony will be held Tuesday at the Newseum. Bob Schieffer of CBS will be the master of ceremonies. Proceeds will go toward the LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center.

Nineteen members of Congress and one representative-elect are expected to attend, including the two honorees. The list includes Debbie Dingell; Levin’s brother, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich.; Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.; Corrine Brown, D-Fla.; Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Steven Horsford, D-Nev.; Gene Green, D-Texas; Dan Kildee, D-Mich.; and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Related:

John Dingell to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Dean John Dingell’s Office on Display

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Boehner’s Birthday Stirs Up the Sentimental (Updated)

Boehner’s Birthday Stirs Up the Sentimental (Updated)

(Courtesy Michael Steel)

Updated 5:30 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner cracked the old 6-5 on Monday, a milestone event that did not go unnoticed by colleagues real and imagined.

In a Facebook post, he touted celebrating with staff and a gavel-shaped cake.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leaped at the opportunity to give the Ohio Republican the business, tweeting out a pithy greeting to the latest lawmaker to tumble into the social safety net.

“Welcome to Medicare and Social Security!” the California Democrat ribbed her cross-aisle rival.

“House of Cards” antihero Francis J. Underwood showed Boehner some social media love as well, pouring every bit of his famously sunny disposition into the online missive.

“Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful DC weather,” the faux pol relayed on a wet, overcast beginning to another lame-duck workweek.

The gray skies were not, however, expected to dampen the spirits of the Boehnerland faithful. A House leadership aide confirmed that staff would be celebrating as per usual: with a Thanksgiving-style luncheon.

And even though he didn’t make the bird this year (he’s cooked in the past), staff is expected to serenade him with his signature birthday song.

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Going to the Chapel, Gonna Get Married: Roll Call Wedding Announcements

Love is in the air! Along with the holidays comes a season of true love, wedding bells, engagement rings and champagne toasts.

For Hill staffers getting engaged or married, Roll Call wants to know.

Roll Call features Capitol Hill staffers and their nuptials in our Roll Call Weddings feature. Have a story to share? Send it to us! We love posed pictures, white satin, four-tier cakes and clever first dance songs.

Any creative details, please include. And if you met on Capitol Hill, we want to hear all about it. Softball love affairs, intern-staffer matchmaking, late nights at the Tune Inn — romance blooms anywhere and everywhere around the Capitol Dome.

Submit wedding and engagement details through our easy form here.

See more from the Roll Call Wedding archive:

Tiffany McGuffee, Jordan Haverly Tie the Knot
Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain
Wedding Bells for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Randy Florke
Love Sparked From Beehive State: Clay White, Tanya Robertson Engaged
Wedding Bells for John Rizzo, Tiffany Wynn
Wedding Bells for Staffers Janelle Hervig and Mitch Relfe

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November 16, 2014

The GOP’s Midterm Elephant Walk | Capitol Quip

The GOPs Midterm Elephant Walk | Capitol Quip

The ending to “The Candidate,” a movie about a fictional senatorial campaign in California, offers a small lesson to the 2014 midterm victors. In it, Sen.-elect Bill McKay (Robert Redford) says this after his victory is sealed: “Now what do we do?” That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Capitol Quip Dances in the End Zone

Capitol Quip Dances in the End Zone

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 7 p.m.
Capitol Quip

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