Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014

Too Cool? Boehner’s Thanksgiving Technique Falls Short of USDA Recommendation

Speaker John A. Boehner has helpfully shared his favorite recipe for Thanksgiving turkey brine. Interestingly, the Ohio Republican says in his YouTube video that he cooks his “bird to about 160, max.”

We at HOH are assuming he is referring to the bird’s internal temperature. To each his own, but may we suggest the USDA’s advice? In a series of tweets, the Agriculture Department has provided some tips about safe Thanksgiving meals, including how to handle and store a turkey, as well as the temperature at which harmful bacteria is killed.

Also of note, the speaker says he rinses off his turkey, which is apparently unnecessary, according to USDA. That’s mostly because that splashes bacteria all over the place and cooking is the only way to kill all the harmful bacteria.

Regardless of which temperature you settle on, government recommended or no, here are the basics of Boehner’s brine:

Ingredients:

8 quarts water

6 bay leaves

2 cups Kosher salt

3 tbsp peppercorns

1 head of garlic

16 oz pure maple syrup

Bring the brine close to a boil, then let it cool.  Put a bag in a five-gallon bucket.  Wash the turkey and remove the insides.  Put the turkey in the bucket.  Pour the brine over to cover the turkey.  Keep the turkey submerged.  Let it stand overnight in the refrigerator or outside if it is cool enough.  After 24 hours, take it out and rinse it off.  At that point, it’s ready to be cooked.

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By Clark Mindock Posted at 2:19 p.m.
Food

Illinoisans Invited to Toast Statehood Day

The Illinois State Society is throwing down Dec. 3 in the Capitol Visitor Center for Illinois Statehood Day. And any Land of Lincolners looking to get their Prairie State on are welcome to partake.

Illinois Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk is expected to host the reception, which is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in HVC 201.

Illinoisans Invited to Toast Statehood Day

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Commander Jess Porter, future skipper of the USS Illinois — a nuclear submarine in the making — is slotted to be the guest of honor. Kirk is a former Naval reservist himself.

If you hail from the state, or work for someone who does, register now (via the Illinois State Society page) to enjoy free food and drink then.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: 2014 Thanksgiving Edition (Video)

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Heard on the Hill takes a look at the times lawmakers simply could not get food off their minds.

 

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Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

The political watchdogs over at Represent.us are pitting the greatest misses from this year’s avalanche of hyper-panicky, completely tone deaf, patently absurd fundraising pleas in a last ditch effort to duly recognize the all-stars of public relations suckdom.

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

(Screenshot)

The “ALL CAPS for CA$H” competition is designed to identify the “worst political fundraising emails of 2014” — a truly ambitious goal, given that the HOH inbox was bombarded with sappy requests from shameless partisans roughly every 0.23472 seconds during the run-up to Election Day.

“It doesn’t matter which party you support. Take one look at your inbox, and it’s clear that our elections have become all about the money,” Represent.Us director Josh Silver said in a release. “We’re launching ALL CAPS FOR CA$H to highlight the outsized role money plays in seeking public office, and the absurd lengths politicians are willing to go in order to raise it.”

The pro-democracy group has dumped the most misguided missives into a half-dozen categories, including: The Howler Award (UPPERCASE madness), The Richard Head Memorial Trophy (pomposity), The Chicken Little Cup (apocalypses for everyone!), The Buzzworthable-Est Award (crazy shiite), The ’Murican Patriot Award (long live the comments feed!) and The “I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed” Award (waaaah!).

Throw the hysterical hucksters one final bone — sorry about the whole losing-ground-in-the-House thing, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But you may clean up here! — by voting for the worst of the worst from now until Sunday.

Related:

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

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November 25, 2014

Immigration Bill Killer Needs a New Home

A House Republican aide who fancies himself the straw that in 2013 broke a bipartisan immigration proposal’s back is hoping one of the conservatives coming to Congress next January could use a little help from a procedural wiz.

Immigration Bill Killer Needs a New Home

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per the plea circulated internally amongst GOP staffers, Art Harman, the legislative director who most recently served beneath outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, is hoping to extend his stay here in Washington.

Although a short-timer — Harman first arrived on Capitol Hill just last year — the Stockman vet feels his particular skill set could be of use to a fellow rabble-rouser.

“Congressman Stockman credits me with having killed the 2013 Senate amnesty bill by drafting and circulating a ‘blue-slip’ letter,” Harman crows in his introductory note. “I am very interested in finding a similar position where I may continue to effectively advance the conservative agenda for a Member or committee.”

And it doesn’t sounds like he’s too picky about the next landing spot. Full story

Capitol Hill Cop Spices Things Up as ‘Three Sheets Chef’

Capitol Police Officer Terry Heffernan told HOH he caught the acting bug while in college.

If only the theater crowd could see him now.

Capitol Hill Cop Spices Things Up as ‘Three Sheets Chef’

While he spends most of his time keeping the congressional campus safe, Heffernan has also been actively pursuing any and every opportunity to perform since the 1990s. “Being a police officer is my favorite way to support myself being an actor,” he quipped.

That lifelong dream has led him to blending in with the thousands of freezing cold extras seen huddled around the National Mall in that iconic scene from “Forrest Gump.” It compelled him to take a shot in an almost Doritos ad. And it inspired him to create the demented instructional series, “Three Sheets Chef.”

“It came to me while I was ruthlessly hung over, sitting on my couch watching the Food Channel,” Heffernan said of the “a-ha!” moment that led to his satirical side-gig.

The extremely low-tech series debuted in late 2011. Since then, Heffernan and a rag tag crew — including a fellow Capitol Hill cop who handles editing duties — have cobbled together just over a dozen installments of horribly misguided culinary instruction.

“We haven’t really figured out what the purpose of the show is yet, but I’ll tell you this, we’re really hoping to get on HBO.  And I have a feeling the best way to do that is for me to say ‘cocksucker’ about every three minutes,” Heffernan, channeling his perma-tipsy counterpart, explains in episode one.

Sure enough, the wheels come off each time. Full story

November 24, 2014

John Dingell, Ed Roybal Honored at White House

John Dingell, Ed Roybal Honored at White House

Dingell is the longest serving member of Congress ever. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two congressional trailblazers were among the 19 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom Monday, the highest honor awarded to a civilian.

While Stevie Wonder smiled broadly as President Barack Obama related that one of Wonder’s records was the first he ever purchased with his own money, Obama also paid his respects to the late Rep. Edward Roybal, D-Calif., founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and retiring Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., the longest-serving member of Congress ever.

“I could not have been prouder to have John by my side when I signed the Affordable Care Act into law,” Obama said in the East Room after recapping Dingell’s support for civil rights and health care in his years since assuming his office in 1955. “His life reminds us that change takes time, it takes courage and persistence, but if we push hard enough and long enough change is possible.”

Also receiving the medal were scientists, artists, writers and dancers. Tom Brokaw, a well respected and influential journalist, was honored. Roybal’s daughter, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., received the medal for her late father. “When Edward told [Speaker Tip O'Neill] he was starting the [Congressional Hispanic Caucus], there were so few Hispanics, the joke was they could fit them in a … phone booth. He saw beyond the times,” Obama said of Roybal.

Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., and a prominent activist, received the award as well.

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, civil rights workers who were killed on June 21, 1964, near Philadelphia, Miss., after attempting to register voters, were also awarded the medal.

“While they’re often remembered for how they died, we honor them today for how they lived: with the idealism and courage of youth,” Obama said of the three whose deaths fueled inspiration for the Civil Rights Act’s passage.

The Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who make important contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, or to culturally significant interests. The award was created by executive order in 1963.

Related:

John Dingell to Review Presidential Medal of Freedom

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By Clark Mindock Posted at 4:55 p.m.
POTUS, Reps

Word of the Week: Bold

“Bold: A politician’s most common description of their own or their party’s proposals. It manages to be a punchy, optimistic-sounding break with conventional thinking and deliberately vague all at once.”

— From “Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs & Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech,” by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 12:11 p.m.
Word of the Week

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 17 (Video)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, members spent the week discussing dirty oil, political ads and “dumb-ass liberals.”

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November 23, 2014

Capitol Quip’s Thanksgiving Pardon

Capitol Quips Thanksgiving Pardon

It’s a short week, so Capitol Quip’s captioning contest is taking a break and wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all with RJ Matson’s take on the annual presidential turkey pardoning ritual.

We’ll be back with a new caption contest the week of Dec. 1, when Congress returns for the rest of this year’s lame-turkey, er, duck session.

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

Elephants Stampede Capitol Quip

Elephants Stampede Capitol Quip

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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November 21, 2014

Who Still Has a BlackBerry?

Who Still Has a BlackBerry?

Obama holds up his Blackberry on Friday outside the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images News)

Thanks to the White House press corps, we might have found the most high-profile person who still has a BlackBerry: Barack Obama.

The tip comes from the Detroit News’ David Shepardson, who filed this pool report earlier today:

“Before departure, President Obama walked alone along Colonnade at 10:18 a.m. before heading back into the White House. A coatless POTUS walked to Marine One at 10:31 a.m. in near freezing 33 degree F weather checking his watch and waiving to reporters before getting aboard. Almost immediately, he got off helicopter — as his aides were headed across lawn to Marine One. POTUS went back into the White House through the Diplomatic Room doors telling reporters: ‘I forgot something.’

“After returning, he said: ‘Didn’t you guys ever forget something?’ After some shouted questions asking what he forgotten, he held up his his phone. ‘My BlackBerry’ he said as he returned to Marine One.”

As a friend of HOH said, someone get this man an iPhone.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 2:58 p.m.
POTUS

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 last 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

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