Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

July 30, 2014

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

Part-time rocker Rep. Collin C. Peterson can no longer recall which iteration (the fourth, maybe?) of “The Amendments” he’s playing in these days.

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

But the Minnesota Democrat fully expects to have a blast Thursday night, when the lawmaker-led band featuring a revolving roster of current and former pols takes the stage at Cantina Marina (600 Water St. SW).

The show, headlined by “Blame It On Jane,” a group of ex-congressional aides and lobbyists routinely on the convention circuit, is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; no cover charge.

Per Peterson (lead singer/rhythm guitarist), he and current band-mates Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher (bassist), ex-Missouri Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof (percussion/keyboards), and former Hulshof Chief of Staff Manning Feraci (lead guitar) are looking forward to dazzling concertgoers with the latest cover tunes they’ve added to their sonic toolbox, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely.”

Other former lawmakers that have cycled through the constantly evolving troupe include: politician-turned-pundit Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., as well as Republicans Dave Weldon of Florida, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan and Jon Porter of Nevada.

Vote for Your Favorite Do Nothing Congress Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Do Nothing Congress 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:

  • This is the most productive I’ve been in months!
  • This is fun, but shouldn’t we be voting down legislation?
  • How can Roll Call call us a “Do-Nothing Congress” when we help ‘em to fill 24 pages every issue?
  • This is what the millennials call “funemployment.”
  • Think voters know this is what we do when we’re in session too?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Aug. 3 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.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:09 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Marking the Quarter-Century Point for the Greatest Floor Speech of All Time (Video)

When a young man, likely an intern, approached Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin near the Capitol basement ATM Tuesday afternoon asking the Illinois Democrat to sign a baseball, he faced an unexpected question from this reporter: Did he prefer wooden or aluminum bats?

“I like both. Wooden’s better. It never hurts your hands,” he said.

That was, of course, the correct answer to the question in the presence of Durbin, who just days ago celebrated the 25th anniversary of what HOH previously declared “unquestionably the greatest diatribe to ever grace the House floor.”

It was July 26, 1989, when Durbin said in a one-minute speech (in the House, of course, Durbin’s oratory was more limited by a clock): “I don’t want to hear about saving trees, any tree in America would gladly give its life for a day of glory at home plate.”

Durbin signed the young man’s baseball, though it was unclear how many in the basement scrum knew the story behind the prodding. But in the immortal words of former HOHer Meredith Shiner, this column knows for sure: “May we mark this day every year to remember what America is really all about, and that even though it’s unclear who Durbin was addressing with this little ditty, aluminum bats have remained out of professional baseball for decades.”

Here, here.

Gabbard, Meng, Sinema Help Launch ‘Cocktails for Change’

EMILY’s List is hoping to connect more young professionals with the growing universe of female Democrats via its fledgling “Cocktails for Change” initiative.

Freshman lawmakers Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Grace Meng of New York and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are scheduled to participate in the inaugural reception, set to take place Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Policy (1904 14th St. NW).

According to an EMILY’s List spokeswoman, the evening is meant to be fun — “We’ll be featuring the EMILY’s Twist (a version of a lemon drop),” the aide said of the featured cocktail — with a little positive messaging mixed in. Those lucky enough to snag a spot at Wednesday’s kick-off should expect to hear inspiring words from the  assembled solons, as well as from EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

Didn’t make the initial cut? (Sorry folks, they’re full up this time around.)

Dry those tears.

EMILY’s List is just getting started with its happy hour diplomacy. Female pols-in-training heading to the West Coast during recess can look forward to a similarly themed happening in San Francisco come late August.

And, don’t worry, EMILY’s List is not done stirring things up here in D.C.

Seersucker Thursday: Ladies’ Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker Thursday: Ladies Fashion Dos and Donts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After two years, Seersucker Thursday finally returns to the Senate. Back in June, when the House side hosted its own seersucker celebration, HOH ran an item Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts.

Upon reflection, we realized that most of his advice was applicable predominantly to males. We reached out to Lott for female etiquette. But he shied away, referring us to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., one of the players integral to bringing back the tradition. Feinstein declined to give advice, but did issue a statement.

“Seersucker Thursday is a light-hearted tradition that fosters camaraderie, nothing more and nothing less,” Feinstein said. “It’s a brief, bipartisan reprieve from our normal routine.”

So we took the party over to the House side, and conducted a survey of Southern and Southern-ish female representatives of how to best wear seersucker.

Our panel:

  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Though there’s much debate, we’re counting West Virginia as Southern for this project.)
  • Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
  • Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. (Born and raised in North Carolina.)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala.

Full story

The GOP Twitter Shuffle: Eric Cantor Edition

Eric Cantor’s exit as House majority leader is near, yet he still reigns as owner of @GOPLeader, at least for now.

If history in GOP Twitter accounts is telling, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., — who currently tweets from @GOPWhip — will take over the outgoing Virginia Republican’s Twitter handle, with Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., moving to McCarthy’s official GOP Whip account.

Making a Twitter account switch is not new to the Republican Party. John Boehner tweeted from @GOPLeader until taking over as speaker of the House in 2011 (you can now find him at @SpeakerBoehner). During that same time, Cantor’s handle was @GOPWhip.

Similar to his absences from GOP leadership news conferences, @GOPLeader has been largely silent since Cantor’s primary loss to economics professor Dave Brat. Cantor has tweeted from @GOPLeader three times since his loss, twice to congratulate new Republican leadership and once to make note of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Will Cantor bid us adieu with one last farewell tweet on @GOPLeader before handing the account over to McCarthy? Only time will tell.

July 29, 2014

Mashup King Tortures Bill Murray With Droning Dick Cheney

Our condolences to involuntary time traveler Phil Connors, but political activist Diran Lyons has a rather rude awakening for you.

The “Groundhog Day Remix” is the latest viral vid bait to spring from Lyons’ news-saturated skull.

He told HOH inserting former Vice President Dick Cheney’s latest pronouncements about the war on terror into the nightmarish scenario was all about purging himself of mounting frustration.

“Cheney’s recent comments in the media about military spending, Syria and Iraq began to irritate me … I felt somewhat like Murray and the clock radio, constantly being subjected to views on foreign policy that I find disagreeable,” Lyons said. When he sat down last month to revisit the iconic flick — something he says he and his family do “at least once a year together” — the wheels started turning and, voila, another custom tailored clip was set in motion.

His most widely perused effort to date (940,000-plus views and counting) has to be the one wherein President Barack Obama choppily utters every last combative word of Jay-Z’s rap anthem, “99 Problems.”

Full story

The Music That Should Have Played on the Eric Cantor Tribute Video

By now, you’ve likely seen the tribute video House Republicans made for Rep. Eric Cantor, who is stepping down as majority leader on Thursday after losing his primary earlier this year. Along with images of the Virginian purposefully talking, it has a musical score described best as cable television network commercial humble-brag about Emmy-winning programs.

We knew they could do better. So after an incredibly scientific survey of music about goodbye, we came up with the following Spotifyplay list that can be used to overdub the Cantor tribute video. From Cantor’s hometown band GWAR to that immortal Vitamin C song (you know the one; here it comes …), here is HOH’s good deed for the day:

 

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

Rep. Ted Poe has conferred upon Rep. Matt Salmon one of the highest honors his office can help provide: He’s made his fellow Republican lawmaker an honorary Texan.

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Texas Republican said Salmon, who serves alongside him on the Foreign Affairs Committee — “We’re personal friends,” Poe said — shares several defining characteristics with native-born Texans. Poe said Salmon values independence. He’s fairly outspoken. And he displays that certain ruggedness required of those who reside in border states.

“I thought it was appropriate to make him an honorary Texan and give him dual citizenship,” Poe said of the surprise distinction for the Arizona Republican.

Full story

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Lott, right, is tickled pink about the return of Seersucker Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ex-Sen. Trent Lott’s dog days are over.

The man who created Seersucker Day back in the late 1990s has been on a bit of a tear ever since the Senate ditched the tradition two years ago.

But thanks to his pal Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and his successor, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Senate Seersucker Day is back on Thursday. And it comes just in the nick of time, in the final week of the summer session. ”Seersucker is great!” Lott said in a Monday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “When it gets above 80 degrees, you need to be thinking seersucker.” Full story

Life on Sarah Palin’s Wavelength

After years of randomly popping up on cable news shows, conservative documentaries and in single-season series, one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is ready to build a programming empire all her own.

The former governor of Alaska has teamed with digital media platform TAPP to launch the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel. The SPC marks the second outing by TAPP, which waded into the online market this past March with the religiously themed “New Life TV with Steve Arterburn.”

“Together let’s live life vibrantly, purposefully and boldly,” the Alaska Republican implores viewers in her welcome video.

A TAPP aide told HOH that Palin’s new project has been in development for several months, and currently features a series of “sample” video clips — watch her frag President Barack Obama in response to a reader-submitted query regarding political leadership and weave a pro-energy independence pitch through commentary about Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company has plans to court additional constituencies (a word cloud touts “fantasy sports,” “addictions” and “paranormal” content as viable contenders) in the future.

For $9.95 a month, or $99.95 per year, subscribers get all the current content — selected “behind the scenes” videos; the word of the day from Palin’s mother, Sally Heath; a real-time countdown until the end of Obama’s second term — plus the ability to comment and contribute to Palin’s planned infotainment portal.

There’s also a two-week, no-obligation trial period for those unsure about the self-styled news aggregator.

Those who register before Aug. 1 are promised two additional months of free viewing. Military personnel currently on active duty are encouraged to email SPC (proudlyserving@SarahPalinChannel.com) to receive free access to the evolving site.

Per TAPP, programmers are still working on the exact formula for populating the channel. “It will be 95 percent original content,” our contact said.

But they are leaving the door open to revisiting some of Palin’s greatest hits. Full story

July 28, 2014

Bill Maher Flip a District Contest: Ellmers in Final Four

Bill Maher Flip a District Contest: Ellmers in Final Four

Bill Maher’s Flip a District project added Ellmers to the final four. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bill Maher’s attempt to oust a Republican member of Congress is nearing its final stage, with the liberal comedian announcing July 25 on his HBO show that Renee Ellmers of North Carolina has made it to the final four of his viewer-driven “Flip a District” contest.

Ellmers joins John Kline of Minnesota and Blake Farenthold of Texas. Maher will announce the last of the quartet on Friday night, his final show before “Real Time” takes a summer break. The aim appears to be the selection of one Republican in the final stretch of the midterm cycle and then support for that lawmaker’s Democratic challenger with both money and attention. The Flip a District “loserest loser of all,” as Maher dubs it, will be announced when his show films from Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12.

He went after Ellmers, who was among the “tweet 16″ finalists, on July 25.

Full story

The Bard Brings Schumers Back Together

Sen. Charles E. Schumer finally caught up with his comedian cousin, Amy Schumer, this past weekend at Shakespeare in the Park.

 

 

An aide said the New York Democrat just happened to bump into his rising star relative — Ms. Schumer has been nominated for an Emmy for the writing of her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer,” and is currently working on “Trainwreck,” the feature film she penned and which filmmaker Judd Apatow is directing — at the annual theater festival in New York’s Central Park.

Per Team Schumer, the boss did not know the stand-up comedian/actress and her Hollywood pals were also headed to “King Lear.” Full story

Pete Gallego Saves Choking Child During Flight Home

Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, jumped into action during a flight home to Texas on Friday night to help a young boy next to him who was choking on a chicken nugget.

“I had my headphones on and was listening to some news articles,” Gallego told CQ Roll Call during a phone interview Monday, when he heard a commotion next to him.

Beside the freshman congressman was a 3-year-old boy and the boy’s mother, who was also holding a baby. The woman stood up and started shouting, “Oh my God, my son is choking! He’s choking!”

“I turned around quickly and I had to unbuckle his seat belt,” said Gallego. He then put one hand on the child’s back and one on the child’s sternum, and gently pushed forward. “As I did that he turned around to look at me and I ended up with chicken nuggets on my chest,” but the child was alright. Full story

July 27, 2014

About That Do-Nothing Congress … | Capitol Quip

About That Do Nothing Congress ... | Capitol Quip

The 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productive in modern memory. So what does a do-nothing Congress do on recess? This brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip captioning contest.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest 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.

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

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