Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014

George Takei Votes for More Gay Babies

In a new public service announcement for Our Time, entertainer/gay rights activist George Takei urges all Americans to stand and up and be counted on Election Day.

He also prods heterosexuals to make more whoopee.

“I’m talking to straight young couples because you are going to be producing the gay babies of tomorrow,” Takei counsels.

The multitalented celeb has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. He’s the subject of a deeply personal documentary. He’s published books, brought joy to millions on satellite radio, developed a signature fragrance and even fielded offers to practice the art of diplomacy.

Takei’s made his presence known here in Washington as well, weighing in on legislative pals old and new.

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Rock the Vote — Where ‘Kimye’ and Politics Collide

Keeping up with the latest Kardashian gossip and knowing the difference between the names on your ballot aren’t mutually exclusive.

At least not for Ashley Spillane, the president of Rock the Vote, a national nonprofit that has organized get-out-the-vote efforts for more than two decades, including a national voter registration day on Tuesday.

“I think the importance is that there are millions and millions of Americans paying attention to what the Kardashians are doing and it’s actually truly OK to be interested in popular culture and politics at the same time,” Spillane said. “Everyone cares about issues.” Full story

September 22, 2014

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

Not even the lure of spending some quality time with a Cheney could compel congressional Republicans to hang around the Log Cabin Republican’s Spirit of Lincoln dinner in D.C. for longer than it takes to watch an episode of “Modern Family.”

Mind you, the Cheney in question was Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and gay marriage advocate who famously fought with her sister Liz during the latter’s short-lived bid to wrest Wyoming’s Senate seat away from Michael B. Enzi.

 

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Still, it did appear that more Republican lawmakers made an effort to make nice this year than did in 2013.

Full story

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.

It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.

Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.

 

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.

The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story

Congress Headed for the Hustings | Capitol Quip

Congress Headed for the Hustings | Capitol Quip

On track to be the least productive Congress in modern times, members made short work of their September legislative agenda and headed back to the hustings in full campaign mode. That 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.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 12:59 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Flying Solo on Capitol Quip

Flying Solo on 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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September 19, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

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Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.

The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.

Full story

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

D.C. denizen Connie Milstein has invested a great deal of time and effort into turning her Georgetown home into a beauty to behold and a wonder to explore.

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The philanthropist and political booster, who played host to Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand, D-N.Y., Monday evening, has an eye for detail that is apparent throughout her carefully appointed domicile.

One gets the feeling that every single element spread throughout has been given incredible consideration, from the mythological beings that silently keep watch over the premises,

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

To the sassy seat cushions that encourage self-medication. (“Keep calm and have a cocktail” sounds like sage advice to us.) Full story

September 18, 2014

Rank and File Blast Opposing Leaders for Dropping the Legislative Ball

Having effectively set the country on cruise control until just beyond Election Day, House and Senate leaders did their damnedest Thursday to look really, really busy without actually doing anything that could get them into political trouble.

Foot soldiers from both sides of the aisle, undoubtedly tired of the inactivity that’s plagued Congress in recent years, used social media to fire back at partisan big-wigs for making the whole legislative body look bad.

 

 

 

Full story

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

(Courtesy Peter Roskam)

Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Artsy, DC, HillSide, Reps, VIPs

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two airplane flights (four hours in airports, combined) and roughly 120 minutes of creeping along two-lane roads that snake their way through stoplight-free Northeastern hamlets later, I finally arrived in the bayfront oasis I would call home for the next few days.

The most pressing problem, other than a serious lack of sleep, was how to kill the 17 hours until my first official work dinner.

Coming up to investigate the gastronomic enterprises Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree is fostering on North Haven was always meant to be the crux of my assignment. The critic in me, however, could not pass up the opportunity to feast upon  — without completely spoiling my appetite — this personally uncharted territory.

I pressed Pingree for recommendations, but the savvy lawmaker kept things totally diplomatic. Full story

September 17, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Bringing Up the Rear Capitol Quip!

Vote for Your Favorite Bringing Up the Rear 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:

  • I’m glad it’s a single-seater!
  • Maverick goosed us again!
  • Come back! You forgot your Nobel Peace Prize!
  • Hey, wait for us!
  • Wait! You forgot to take the approval ratings!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Sept. 21 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 3:53 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Revving the Engines of Bipartisanship

Revving the Engines of Bipartisanship

Biden spoke to the crowd at the reception Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t be too surprised if you see a Mustang and Corvette racing around Northwest D.C … followed by a motorcade of Secret Service officers.

“We agreed to a one loop race around the Naval yard,” former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joked Tuesday evening, saying he challenged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a race to see if his Mustang could outpace Biden’s Corvette.

Huntsman, the former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador to China, was joking but that would be certainly one way to bring Democrats and Republicans together, which was the focus of a Tuesday evening reception at the British ambassador’s residence and hosted by No Labels, the organization Huntsman co-chairs that works to bridge partisan divides. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:46 p.m.
DC, Parties

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