Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015

Graham Bids Reluctant Farewell to Air Force Reserve

Graham Bids Reluctant Farewell to Air Force Reserve

Graham, right, toured a detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan as part of his Air Force Reserve duties in January 2013. (Sgt. Katie D. Summerhill/U.S. Army File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has known for months that with his 60th birthday approaching, the deadline for mandatory retirement from the Air Force Reserve is just ahead of him.

“I’ll be retiring at the end of the month,” the South Carolina Republican said shortly before senators departed for Memorial Day recess. “Let’s put it this way: If I get called up between now and then, something really bad happened.”

Full story

Gird Your Loins for Testy Fest 2015

Always fantasized about taking the proverbial bull by the balls? The Montana State Society wants to help turn that dream into a reality via the 11th Annual Testy Fest.

Gird Your Loins for Testy Fest 2015

(Courtesy Montana State Society)

The offalpalooza — scheduled to take place June 6 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the American Legion in Arlington, Va., (3445 N. Washington Blvd.) — promises the usual: all-you-can-eat gonads (One day, Taste of America, one day!), rivers of Canadian whisky and domestic suds, live music and the admiration of fellow Treasure Staters.

Advance tickets start at $25; the price is projected to rise to $30 for on-site sales. Full story

May 27, 2015

We Are Watchmen Raps Things Up for Ted Cruz

Christian musicians We Are Watchmen want the world to know we’re all doomed — unless Sen. Ted Cruz is handed the keys to the White House ASAFP.

The right-wing rhyme spitters paint the Texas Republican as a potential savior in their latest track, “Set It On Fire.”

The lyrics, performed over electronic handclaps and adult contemporary keyboard playing, exalt conservative values and Reagan worship. Full story

Senate Seersucker Thursday Returns June 11

Senate Seersucker Thursday Returns June 11

Cassidy, center, is championing Seersucker Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is time to once again mark your calendars — Seersucker Thursday will be June 11.

The Senate tradition was resurrected last year after being discontinued in 2012 amid concerns the event wasn’t appropriately serious. The wearing of the lighter summer suits dates to the days before air conditioning in the Capitol, but it was Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi who really started the annual event in 1996.

Full story

House Aide Readies to Rock Awesome Con

Andrew Aydin, aide to Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and co-author of the duo’s trilogy of graphic novels, this weekend is set to brave the wilds of Awesome Con solo.

House Aide Readies to Rock Awesome Con

(Screenshot)

The Democratic staffer, who told HOH he attended Awesome Con 2014, has been booked as a featured guest for this year’s show.

“I always enjoy Awesome Con because you get such a great mix of fans. Teachers, librarians, and professionals come out right along with the cosplayers and diehards, and sometimes they are one and the same,” he said of the often otherworldly experience. Full story

May 26, 2015

Crab Cakes Dominating Taste of America 3rd Round

Crab Cakes Dominating Taste of America 3rd Round

Maryland crab cakes are dominating the third round of the 2015 Roll Call Taste of America voting, crushing its rival, Connecticut New Haven Pizza, by a more than 2-to-1 margin and amassing the highest vote total thus far.

In other nosh bracketology, Arizona chimichangas are cruising against New Mexico frijoles, and the Maine lobster roll is wiping the ocean floor with Delaware boardwalk fries. Illinois deep dish pizza is well ahead of South Dakota fry bread.

There are still close races. Tennessee’s Memphis BBQ trails Florida stone crabs by a small margin. Indian pork tenderloin leads Illinois Italian beef. In a tight dessert death-match, Florida Key lime pie and Mississippi pecan pie are locked in a close contest. In a stark choice between courses, Montana steak and Oregon blackberry pie are going down the wire.

Voting in the latest round closes Friday. To show your support, go to www.rollcalltasteofamerica.com. Voting on the Elite Eight will begin on June 1 and the winner will be revealed at the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 11.

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

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Join a Political Dynasty Lickety-Click

Author and aspiring genealogist A.J. Jacobs is on a mission to prove mankind is one happy family — a theory that has borne out previously unknown connections to a who’s who of political heavies.

Jacobs’ digital sleuthing is projected to become flesh on June 6 during the Global Family Reunion, a day-long get-together expected to fill New York’s Hall of Science with would-be relatives from across creation.

Join a Political Dynasty Lickety Click

(Screenshot)

The fundraiser, which is geared toward combating Alzheimer’s, promises activities galore, including interactive exhibits, space age-y mini golf, a family-themed scavenger hunt, the world’s biggest family photo, a potentially record-breaking sing-along with Sister Sledge and global dining options (think: food carts). Full story

Staffer Bids Adieu to ‘Jurassic Congress’

“We spared no expense.”

House aide Tom Brandt took to heart the phrase made famous by fictional eccentric billionaire John Hammond in the 1993 film “Jurassic Park” in orchestrating the ultimate send-off for his friend, Senate staffer Mitch Erdel.

In preparation for Erdel’s last day working for Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Brandt, the communications director for House GOP Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, showed up on May 21 at the Capitol’s East Front in his jeep, adorned with a “Jurassic Park” decal he’d purchased on eBay especially for the occasion.

The purpose of the exercise?  So Erdel could pose like this … Full story

May 22, 2015

Lamar Alexander Pines to Play Piano Man

Nothing worse than watching plans for a nice, leisurely long holiday weekend dashed by the political ambitions of contrarian colleagues.

Unless, like Sen. Lamar Alexander, you also have a once-in-a-lifetime gig to attend to.

Lamar Alexander Pines to Play Piano Man

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’ll be very disappointed it I don’t make it,” the Tennessee Republican told HOH about the possibility of not being able to sit in Saturday for the farewell “Sunset Symphony” performance — a grand finale four decades in the making.

Alexander, who has been tickling the ivories since his youth, said he’s played the Memphis in May show only a handful of times — including a debut appearance in 1982, during which he recalls seeing around 150,000 people lined up along the banks of the might Mississippi while “Ol’ Man River” floated on the evening air — and is very excited about helping to bring the historic program to a close.

“It’s really a beautiful event,” he shared. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 18, 2015 (Video)

Members prepared for the holiday weekend by asking rhetorical questions, spit-shining their boots and potty-training the Capitol Police.

Full story

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

(Courtesy Carolyn Kaster/AP/Corbis)

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton Friday is dragging campaign reporters — kicking and screaming, no doubt — to one of the happiest places on earth. (No, it’s not Disney World.)

With her mind set on ascending from first spouse to commander-in-chief, HRC has begun bouncing between political bellwethers Iowa and New Hampshire. The planned pit stop at Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, N.H., is designed to serve as a backdrop for a discussion about small businesses, tax policy and Zzzzzzz.  

We all know the paparazzi just want to get the obligatory pic of Clinton bending the elbow — which she’s obviously done before.

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

(Screenshot)

At least one fellow scribe has begun lobbying for equal time in wine country.

All this political hack wants to know is when Bills and Brews expects to get a hold of the tight-lipped candidate.

Confidence is medium that after knocking back a few with Matt Laslo, the truth might finally come out about whether she ever winged anything at Slick Willie back in the day.

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

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Jimmy Kimmel Pokes Fun at Capitol Police ‘Potty Training’

The SNAFU over their lost guns has launched Capitol Police into the ultimate pop-culture orbit: Being the butt of a late-night TV joke. After Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress officers would now undergo special training on weapons handling, Jimmy Kimmel panned the department’s “potty training” with a mock instructional video, “So You Want to Use the Bathroom While Carrying a Firearm.” Full story

May 21, 2015

One Staffer’s Personal Connection to American Fighter Aces

For one Hill staffer, Wednesday’s ceremony to honor the American Fighter Aces with the Congressional Gold Medal had special significance.

Billy Benjamin, the director of IT for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the grandson of Ace Carl Rieman. “Well, I recently came to learn that one of Carl’s grandsons works for me.  His name is Billy Benjamin.  Billy is in charge of our technology — when I can’t get my iPhone to work, he gets the call.  He’s a good guy … big Washington Redskins fan, but we can forgive him for that,” Boehner said at the ceremony,” after recounting the late Rieman’s exploits in the Pacific theater.

“It’s through Billy’s perspective that we can understand why this medal is so important,” Boehner added.

Full story

By Megan Evans Posted at 3:44 p.m.
HillSide

More Adventures in Babysitting With Members of Congress

Everybody wants a turn with Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s baby.

The last time the Illinois Democrat’s six-month-old was seen in the Speaker’s Lobby, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., was showing her off to the congressional press corps and didn’t seem particularly inclined to give her back when Duckworth emerged from the chamber.

On Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was holding court with baby Abigail just off the House floor. Wearing a floral headband and a white sundress, Abigail appeared fussy in Dingell’s arms, though she paused in her whimpering to teethe on the congresswoman’s pearl bracelet and later on the edge of her voting card. Full story

Taste of America Sweet 16 Shows Off Slugfests

The chimichanga crowd is not messing around. In early voting for the 2015 Roll Call Taste of America, Arizona’s deep-fried pork burrito is outpacing New Mexico frijoles by a nearly 14-to-1 margin, one of the more lopsided contests in the hard-fought round of 16.

The Maine lobster roll-Delaware boardwalk fries duel isn’t much closer, with the crustacean contingent crushing its potato antagonists by about a 10-to-1 margin. South Dakota fry bread is limping behind the Illinois deep dish pizza behemoth.

Close calls are the rule elsewhere. Indiana pork tenderloin and Illinois Italian beef are neck and neck. Tennessee’s Memphis BBQ and Florida stone crabs are in a death match.

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

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