Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

February 13, 2016

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Feb. 8, 2016

Rep. Duncan Hunter is featured in this week's Congressional Hits and Missed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter is featured in this week’s Congressional Hits and Missed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers spent the week asserting their geographical knowledge, fretting over restaurant menu fonts and finding new ways to break committee rules.

Full story

February 12, 2016

Rubio: Maybe the Senate ‘Should Pray Every Hour’

Rubio highlighted the Senate's daily prayers. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio highlighted the Senate’s daily prayers. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe Sen. Marco Rubio thinks the Senate could use more of Barry Black’s baritone.

The Florida Republican, speaking on the presidential campaign trail at a forum at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, quipped that perhaps the prayers from the retired Navy rear admiral who is the longtime Senate chaplain should be hourly.

Full story

Mark Takai Gives Paul Ryan an Aloha Shirt

(Photo courtesy of Takai's office)

(Photo courtesy of Takai’s office)

In an effort to be able to sport “Aloha wear” on the House floor on Fridays, Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, hand-delivered a Hawaiian shirt to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

“I hope Speaker Ryan likes his new shirt and that it convinces him to allow Aloha wear on the House floor for Friday votes,” Takai said in a statement. Full story

Progressives Spread GOP Valentine’s Day Cheer

A progressive advocacy group is providing Valentines for every anti-conservative American out there this year. In a email on Friday, Democrat advocate Brad Woodhouse’s group, Americans United for Change, introduced its Valentine’s Day cards.

(Photos courtesy of Americans United For Change)

(Photos courtesy of Americans United for Change)

In November, Ohio Gov. John Kasich asked a woman in Iowa if she has ever dieted in an effort to explain the work he has done for his state’s budget. Full story

Puppymonkeybaby, Andy Harris Style

Harris turns 59-years-old on Tuesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Harris turns 59 on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As if Mountain Dew’s Puppymonkeybaby commercial during Super Bowl 50 didn’t haunt us enough, a pro-marijuana group has adapted it with the likeness of Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to make a political point.

“We thought it was something young people would get,” Adam Eidinger, chairman of the pro-cannabis DCMJ group, told HOH. Full story

February 11, 2016

Thom Tillis Pays Bet, Praises Broncos on Floor

Tillis' Panthers lost the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tillis’ Panthers lost in the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner presiding over the Senate, North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis paid off their Super Bowl bet.

Wearing a Denver Broncos orange tie, Tillis, the bet’s mastermind, paid his respects on the Senate floor on Thursday to the Super Bowl champs. “You and I, Mr. President, attended the Super Bowl on Sunday, and I’m sure you agree, it was quite a treat,” Tillis said. He commended the Super Bowl organizers in Santa Clara, Calif., for “making us feel welcome.” Full story

Members to D.C. Metro Manufacturer: Don’t Make Us Look Bad

Connolly rides the 7000-series train in, April. Beyer and Comstock also participated in this event. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Connolly rode the 7000-series train in April. Beyer and Comstock were also along for the ride. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an effort to keep funding and confidence in the system secure, a bipartisan group of D-M-V lawmakers are asking the manufacturer of Metro’s new trains to provide regular updates to the system regarding production of the next-generation cars.

The 7000-series car, which now operates on the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines, has had issues with metal curing, car assembly and IT systems, according to a letter members sent to Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 12:05 p.m.
DC, Reps

February 10, 2016

Office Space: Gregory Meeks’ New York Gallery

Meeks is Roll Call's guest on Office Space this week. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meeks is Roll Call’s guest on Office Space this week. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In this week’s edition of Office Space, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., shows off his collection of pens, Easter eggs and his affinity for desks.

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Confectioners Association Spreads Valentine’s Day Sweets

Gindlesperger delivers Valentine's Day candy in Hart. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Gindlesperger delivers Valentine’s Day candy in Hart. (By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The National Confectioners Association spent Wednesday walking around the Capitol and handing out candy to every member’s personal office.

The candy dropped off to House and Senate offices included conversation hearts made by Necco and chocolate hearts made by Dove. They also gave out information about the candy industry.

They left the treats with staff. “We don’t want to interfere with what is going on, but do want to bring a little sweetness to people’s day,” the association’s vice president of public affairs and communications Christopher Gindlesperger told HOH.

The association has gone to the Hill in the past to pass out candy, chocolate, gum and different products.

“It’s all part of our efforts to share the power of sweet,” Gindlesperger said. “It’s our way to share information and educate lawmakers on our economic impact and leadership initiatives.”

The association represents all manufacturers of chocolate and gum in the United States and some internationally. “Capitol Hill’s a partisan place at times and can be pretty tense. We’re trying to bring a little happiness to everyone’s day and lighten up the mood,” he said.

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Feingold Gets Awkward Endorsement Announcement

Feingold is running for Johnson's senate seat. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Feingold is running for Johnson’s Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a not very literate way, teachers’ union announced their endorsement of former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who is taking on Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in a rematch of their 2010 race.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the endorsement from the American Federation of Teachers’ Wisconsin chapter, which contained an awkward mistake, followed by a simple mistake. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 3:30 p.m.
2016, Oopsie

It’s ‘The Payne Report’ — Radio From Rutgers

The Payne Report launches on Feb 5. (

“The Payne Report” airs next on March 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J., has launched a new radio show, created to find connections between hip-hop and government, and for his first show he welcomed Congressional Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., and discussed a range of political issues.

Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 3:19 p.m.
DC, Reps

It’s ‘Paws for Love’ Time on Capitol Hill

Dole at the ASPCA's Fourth Annual Paws for Celebration pet adoption event in July (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dole at the ASPCA’s Fourth Annual Paws for Celebration pet adoption event in July (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Valentine’s Day animal adoption event on Friday will bring adorable pets in need of a home to Capitol Hill. Hosted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, “Paws for Love” features 11 animal rescue groups from the surrounding area.

The fourth annual “Paws for Love” will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday in Cannon 345. Longtime advocates for animal welfare issues, such as former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., will be there. Full story

Senate Leaders Honor Longtime Gallery Director

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Ed Pesce hangs out in his Capitol office on his last day as director of the Periodical Press Gallery, February 10, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ed Pesce hangs out in his Capitol office on his last day as director of the Periodical Press Gallery. Senate leaders from both parties honored him with remarks. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders used opening remarks on the floor Wednesday to honor Ed Pesce, the longtime director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery, calling him a fixture behind the office’s signature saloon doors.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., commended Pesce’s work, along with gallery staff, who act as nonpartisan liaisons coordinating communication between congressional staff and media outlets across several countries.

“Their fingerprints can be found on nearly every part of the Senate’s business,” Reid said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., got a little more personal – calling Pesce out for his constant exercise and dedication to certain films.

“You might see Ed queuing for the premier of a ‘Star Wars’ sequel, maybe even a prequel,” McConnell said.

McConnell called Pesce a fixture in the chamber with coworkers recalling “his infectious laughter and dedication to team building.”

Pesce, joined by his colleagues and reporters, sat in the gallery of the chamber as the leaders made their remarks.

“Fiction is one of his favorite genres,” McConnell said, at times looking up at Pesce. “History is the other. He certainly witnessed plenty of it firsthand.”

Pesce said McConnell was right to point to his relentless exercise – and said he was humbled and honored leaders took the time to express such personal appreciation for staff on the Senate floor.

Pesce, whose last day was also Wednesday, started working on Capitol Hill shortly after he graduated college in 1990. He became deputy director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery in 1996. In December, Pesce announced he would retire from the position he has held since 2000.

He didn’t give details on his future employment plans but said it will probably be in communications or writing. In the meantime, he’s been traveling and enjoying time off. He recently enjoyed a rarity for anyone working in government and the press – having days off on both Christmas and New Year’s.

Reflecting on his 25 years working on Capitol Hill – including 11 sergeant-at-arms and a 50-50 split in Senate leadership – Pesce said his work has not always been easy, but that it was professionally rewarding to be a go-to person who worked with every staffer and reporter, no matter their allegiances.

“That’s a unique aspect,” Pesce said.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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Burr’s ‘Thing’ Needs Repairs

Burr drives the Thing in 2011. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Burr drives the Thing all over Washington. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senator Richard Burr’s, R-N.C., beloved Volkswagen Thing faced some problems on Wednesday, with the North Carolina Republican tweeting a photo of three men pushing his car on the side of a road. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 12:55 p.m.
On the Road, Sens

Take Five: Rep. Mike Coffman

COPOL14_017_082914

Back home, Coffman tours the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. (Tom Williams/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.

This week, Rep. Mike Coffman, R–Colo., talks about the Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos, skiing in central Europe and Rocky Mountain oysters.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the Denver Broncos?

A: Peyton Manning. A couple years ago, I met him and I think that I was just so impressed with him, how humble he was. I think he’s a good person, a great role model. It was at a fundraising breakfast for Boy Scouts of America, he was the keynote speaker. That’s where I had the opportunity to meet him. I don’t think he will play another season with this last game being the Super Bowl. In Colorado, [former Broncos quarterback] John Elway had two Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998. I think back to back is really hard to do, particularly in the way the NFL does the draft, they try and equalize things. Given the fact that Manning’s 39 years old, I think he’d be wise to retire. Talk about stepping out on such a high note.

Q: Where and with whom did you watch the Super Bowl on Sunday?

A: With family, back in Colorado.

Q: If you could be any profession other than a politician, what would you be?

A: I love my past two professions before I came here. I was in the Marine Corps, but I think I’m too old for that. And I was a small business owner. I love that, being an entrepreneur. If I could go back, I think I would go back to either one of those. I had a property management business that I started from scratch in 1983 and I sold it in 2000.

Q: Do you ski, and if so, when did you learn?

A: Even though I lived in Colorado growing up, I really didn’t get into skiing actually until I was in the United States Army. I joined the Army when I was 17 years old and I think when I was about 18 I was on the border of [the former] Czechoslovakia. And, we drew names out of a helmet to go away there for a week and I drew the winning number. And I got to learn how to do recreational skiing there. When I came back home and went to the University of Colorado, I got into skiing pretty heavily. I now like skiing in Vail.

Q: What is your favorite local Colorado food?

A: Rocky Mountain oysters, usually at a bar. It’s something we do back home; it’s kind of hard to explain. [Editor’s note: Rocky Mountain oysters are fried bull, pig or sheep testicles.]

Contact Gangitano at AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @AlexGangitano

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