Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015

Take Five: Rep. Will Hurd

Hurd, left, is a fan of District Taco. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hurd, left, is a fan of District Taco. (Bill Clark/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.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, tells us about the CIA and shooting hoops, and reveals his love of breakfast tacos.

Q. You worked at the CIA for nine years. What was the best part?

The best part of working at the CIA really was being in exotic places and dealing with the most important national security issues of the day. And being around a bunch of people who were, you know, “Yes was the answer; what was the question?” [types]. Really high-speed, low-drag folks.

Q. As a Texan, I have to assume that you love a good barbecue. Have you had any luck finding good barbecue in Washington, D.C., or do you have a favorite place to eat here?

Hill Country. Hill Country is pretty fantastic. The guy who started it, you probably know the story already, he spent his summers as a kid in central Texas, about an hour and a half, two hours north of San Antonio. Its pretty good, and they have Blue Bell ice cream, too, which is pretty amazing.

For me, being from San Antonio, Tex-Mex is my favorite. Tex-Mex in San Antonio is very different than getting it anywhere else in the state. It’s kind of like Cajun food in New Orleans. You can get Cajun food other places, but it is so different in New Orleans. When I lived [in D.C.] back in 2000, my favorite place was El Paso Café in Ballston off of Pershing and Glebe [roads.] I’m happy that there is District Taco now, so I can get my breakfast taco fix.

Q. You live just outside of San Antonio. What do you tell people they have to do when they visit?

Well, you have to see the Alamo for sure. You have to eat breakfast tacos — seriously, that’s a must. You got to have a margarita on the River Walk.

A great time to go to San Antonio is during Fiesta. It’s kind of like our version of Mardi Gras. Usually you have to go two-stepping somewhere. … You could even end [the day] with a breakfast taco.

Q. Do you play any sports, and are you involved with any of the congressional teams yet?

I play basketball. I played basketball in high school. My closest friends are these knuckleheads I’ve know since I was 13 years old playing basketball at John Marshall High School in San Antonio. We still play at the same park that we have been playing at for the last 23 to 25 years.

Q. Favorite pastime?

A. I’m a bachelor, so [in] my free time … I’m with my brother or sister, or my parents or my best friends. I love going to the movies.

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

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July 6, 2015

Rand Paul Won’t Be Going Hollywood

Paul is questioning a grant headed to Hollywood. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul is questioning a grant headed to Hollywood. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul may have just given away any chance of winning an Oscar.

The presidential hopeful’s regular series on government waste is turning its attention to a familiar foe of Republicans: Hollywood.

Full story

Union Kitchen Grocery Adds CSA Option

Hillites who favor farm fresh foods now have another resource at their disposal, thanks to a fledgling partnership between newcomer Union Kitchen Grocery and alimentary aggregator Smucker Farms of Lancaster County.

(Courtesy Union Kitchen Grocery)

(Courtesy Union Kitchen Grocery)

UKG serves as an official pickup point for Smucker’s community supported agriculture program, a custom delivery service that ushers assorted comestibles from field to fork once each week throughout the summer. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Barbara Boxer (Video)

HOH pays tribute this week to California’s junior senator, who opines on candy, “little babies” and the rapper 50 Cent.

Full story

July 2, 2015

The GOP Hunger Games

“They’ll have enough for an actual ‘Hunger Games.'”

– President Barack Obama, speaking today in La Crosse, Wis., joking about how many Republicans are running for president.

Click below for the video:


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Scott Brown Is Listed as AdvoCare Distributor

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brown speaks at a rally for his failed 2014 Senate bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown appears to be on his way to fattening his wallet with some supplemental income — all thanks to a drug cocktail his son-in-law, Keith Weiser, brought to his attention.

The one-time lawmaker on June 25 signaled a career change when he blabbed about his secret weapon in the battle against bulge on social media. Brown posted before-and-after shots of his newly svelte self on Facebook and gushed about watching the pounds slide off (42 and counting) courtesy of the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge.

When critics accused him of being a shill, the ex-pol asserted his editorial independence.

Just as an update which I put out as a comment on the original post, neither Gail nor I are paid spokesrepresentatives…

Posted by Scott Brown on Thursday, June 25, 2015

“Neither Gail nor I are paid spokesrepresentatives for Advocare,” he reiterated on more than one occasion.

Spokesman or not, the robo-response HOH received after pinging him for additional information about the surprise endorsement strongly suggests that he is actively involved in the peer-to-peer marketing program. Full story

July 1, 2015

Amy Schumer For #TheNew10?

(Twitter screenshot)

(Twitter screenshot)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer thinks a woman from his native New York should grace the new $10 bill, and he has some suggestions of illustrious home-state ladies throughout history for the Treasury secretary’s consideration: Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt.

In an online survey, the Democratic leader-in-waiting on Wednesday offers to influence Treasury’s decision-making process, but there’s also a “write-in” option to nominate “another NY woman who inspires you.” Perhaps we may suggest the senator’s distant cousin, comedy star Amy Schumer? Full story

June 30, 2015

The 7th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game | The Highlights (Video)

Congress squeaked out a 1-0 win over the Bad News Babes in the seventh annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game on June 24, evening the all time series 3-3 and capturing their second straight victory.

Roll Call wraps up the game’s highlights in two minutes.


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Patrick Leahy Lives for The Dead

(Courtesy Patrick Leahy)

(Courtesy Patrick Leahy)

Though it sounds like he’ll be unable to travel to Chi-town this weekend for the final shows, longtime Grateful Dead fan Sen. Patrick J. Leahy will undoubtedly be there in spirit.

Per the story he shared with LIFE Magazine for a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary and final performances of the renowned jam band, the late Jerry Garcia and friends opened the Vermont Democrat’s eyes to an entirely different world. Full story

June 29, 2015

Ben Jones Raises His Battle Flag



Its days might be numbered in the Palmetto State and other Southern states. But the Confederate battle flag has suddenly become the must-have item in the life of former Rep. Ben Jones.

The one-time Georgia Democrat and “Dukes of Hazzard” star who played “Cooter” is firing back against the rush to scrub the iconic battle flag from the national consciousness following the racially motivated shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

“I think all of Hazzard nation understands that the confederate battle flag is the symbol that represents the indomitable spirit of independence which keeps us ‘makin’ our way the only way we know how,’” Jones espoused on social media, cribbing a line for his rant from the “Dukes” theme song penned by the late Waylon Jennings. Full story

Congressional Cemetery Dead Serious About Fitness

Dear unwanted flab: prepare to take a dirt nap.

(Courtesy Congressional Cemetery)

(Courtesy Congressional Cemetery)

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 8 a.m.

June 26, 2015

Harry Reid to Burning Man’s Rescue?

Reid says the BLM should rethink their request about Burning Man. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reid says the BLM should rethink their request about Burning Man. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants the Bureau of Land Management to suck it up when it comes to Burning Man.

Responding to reports in the Reno Gazette-Journal that BLM officials are asking for an estimated $1 million VIP compound for their use during the annual counter-cultural festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Reid wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, an avid outdoorswoman and former head of REI, saying the BLM needs to get over itself about asking for flushing toilets and other amenities. Full story

Scott Brown’s Slim Pickings

Contrary to what social media users might think, former lawmaker Scott Brown hasn’t been conned by any Nigerian princes. And he no longer has any need to curry favor with Big Pharma.

So what would motivate the border-hopping Senate hopeful to throw his weight behind dietary supplements?

Good, old-fashioned results.

(Courtesy Scott Brown)

(Courtesy Scott Brown)

The one-time Massachusetts Republican (and occasional centerfold) recently got tongues wagging by taking to social media to espouse the benefits of modern medicine.

“I was fat, slow and out of shape,” Brown, who upon the counsel of his son-in-law elected to tackle AdvoCare’s 24-Day Challenge, said others told him of his post-congressional physique. Full story

Wounded Warriors Honored in Statuary Hall

wounded warriors

Boehner speaks with participants of the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Statuary Hall on June 24. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol was packed on an already busy Wednesday, but it wasn’t because of the typical parade of tourists.

After touring the Capitol that morning, armed service members and veterans taking part in the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games were honored in a brief ceremony in Statuary Hall. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 22, 2015 (Video)

In preparation for their Fourth of July recess, members spent the week counting, texting and describing the concept of fire.

Full story

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