Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Posts by Humberto Sanchez

13 Posts

February 3, 2015

Susan Collins Savors Tuber Win (Updated)

Updated: 6:30 p.m. | Chalk up another victory for the fresh, white potato.

A report released Tuesday recommends that the Department of Agriculture allow fresh, white potatoes to be eligible for purchase under the Women, Infants and Children food assistance program. The white potato had been the only vegetable or fruit excluded from the WIC roster.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, hailed the news as a “major victory.” She has pressed for years to have the potato included on the menu and argued that USDA has been using antiquated rules based on 20-year-old consumption data.

“As I have said all along, USDA’s decision ought to be driven by nutritional facts and the latest, accurate food science. In that kind of review, the fresh, white potato wins, hands down,” Collins said. “The potato has more potassium than bananas, a food commonly associated with this nutrient, which is important for pregnant women and new mothers.” Full story

January 27, 2015

Chuck Grassley Talks Twitter Secrets

chuck grassley twitter

Grassley is a Republican from Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Never one for false modesty, Sen. Charles E. Grassley thinks he’s pretty good at using Twitter.

Full story

October 16, 2014

Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb

As part of his effort to shed light on allegations of corruption in FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared on the Men in Blazers podcast Wednesday to talk about an unreleased report on the bidding process surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I think anyone would hope when you have an investigation like that, that it is on the public record so that anybody can see what the investigation yielded,” Casey said.

Casey wrote to FIFA president Sepp Blatter earlier this month asking for the release of the report, which was authored by former U.S. Attorney Mike Garcia, after Blatter said that FIFA would not release it.

“If anything, the latest actions raise even more questions about the voting for 2022 as well as 2018,” Casey said. “Obviously the U.S. has a vested interest, but even apart from that I think it is an issue of … great concern.

His comments come after he wrote to Blatter In June, calling on FIFA to strip the 2022 World Cup from Qatar because of allegations of harsh labor practices. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia.

The U.S. bid to host both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and came in second behind Qatar for the 2022 cup. Full story

June 23, 2014

Bob Casey Wants FIFA to Strip Qatar of 2022 World Cup

Casey wants FIFA to strip the World Cup from Qatar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Casey wants FIFA to strip the World Cup from Qatar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

As the U.S. national team prepares to take on Germany Thursday to qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wants soccer’s governing body to take the 2022 tournament away from Qatar.

“I’m urging FIFA to remove the cloud that hangs over the 2022 World Cup and swiftly reallocate this event,” Casey said in a Monday letter to FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, adding that the United States conveniently stands ready to host.

Casey, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, cited  labor practices and allegations of corruption and bribery as reasons to strip the tournament from the Gulf state monarchy.  Full story

June 11, 2014

Other Than That, Mr. Boehner, How Was Dinner?

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was having dinner at a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant when the returns from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary race came in showing the Virginia Republican had lost.

“No, you know the rules,” Boehner said when asked if he had any comment when leaving the Trattoria Alberto, which describes itself as “Fine Italian dining in a friendly, neighborhood setting.”

Boehner, in shirtsleeves and with his tie undone, was referring to his typical practice of not answering questions outside of a press conference. His demeanor was somewhat prickly, but not surprising given that he was being unexpectedly pursued after dinner by a few reporters after a stunning defeat for establishment Republicans. Full story

June 10, 2014

Boehner Dines at Trattoria Alberto’s as Cantor Concedes

Buruca is a fan of the speaker. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

Buruca is a fan of the speaker. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

“He’s a lovely customer,” Juan Buruca, the owner of Trattoria Alberto’s on Barracks Row, said of Speaker John A. Boehner.

The Ohio Republican was likely one of the many in Washington utterly surprised by the primary defeat of his chief lieutenant, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday night. But a man still has to eat, and Alberto’s is among Boehner’s haunts, particularly with his Rat Pack-like pals, Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C.

The first reports of Boehner eating at Alberto’s came in during the early evening. And there he stayed. Around 10 p.m., after Chambliss and Burr left, the speaker went to amble home. Asked if he had any comment about the Cantor primary he said, “No, you all know what the rules are” — a reference to his unofficial rule that he does not take questions except at press conferences.

By Humberto Sanchez and Jason Dick Posted at 11:05 p.m.
Reps, Restos, Sens

February 7, 2014

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

A city of iconic monuments and architecture, Washington, D.C., is known for historic sites — and now you can own one, though it is lesser known.

On Dec. 13, 1980, Minor Threat, a seminal D.C. hardcore band, played its first show at 1929 Calvert St. NW. The eight bedroom, seven bathroom Victorian townhouse is on the market for $2.09 million.

Located in the Kalorama neighborhood, the house has been divided up into four luxury two bedroom apartments, according to the Long and Foster listing.

But the place should probably be turned into a museum. Also on the bill that night was The Bad Brains, S.O.A. and a few other D.C. bands that had taken the baton from ’70s punk rock and launched a thriving music scene in the District.

(Screenshot courtesy Pinterest)

(Screenshot Pinterest)

After breaking up in 1983, Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat’s lead singer, went on to found Fugazi. He also founded Dischord Records with drummer Jeff Nelson.

Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker went on to play with Junkyard, The Meatmen, Dag Nasty, Government Issue and now plays with Bad Religion.

The Bad Brains is a legendary D.C. hardcore band formed in 1977 and famous for playing fast songs, but also for its reggae numbers.

S.O.A, short for State of Alert, was Henry Rollins’ first band. Back then he was known as Henry Garfield. A District native, Rollins later went on to be the lead singer of L.A. hardcore band Black Flag before embarking on a solo career and eventually branching into acting.

October 3, 2013

Witnesses Describe Chaotic Scene

Several eyewitnesses of Thursday’s car chase and shooting at the Capitol described a chaotic scene as Capitol Police officers attempted to get a female suspect to exit her car — she refused and they opened fire with service weapons as she sped away.

One 57-year-old man from the District, Frank Schwing, said he was near a grove of trees “on the Mall side … at the base of the Capitol. Police came out with their their guns drawn, opened the passenger side [door], tried to get the driver out. At that point, the driver slammed in reverse, slammed into a cruiser, did a 180 and took off. At that point there were about a half a dozen shots fired. … At that point you could hear a number of cars coming in, police up on the Hill made us get down. They were trying to evacuate us into a safe place. They had their guns drawn.”

Regina Romero, 54, of Sacramento,Calif., is visiting D.C. with her family on vacation. She said she was standing near the Botanic Garden at the time of the incident, on the west side of the House side of the Capitol.

“There were a lot of police cars coming from all directions,” she said, adding she heard 10 to 12 gunshots.

“We were kind of scared because we heard what happened a couple of weeks ago,” she said, referring to the Navy Yard shooting.

Irina Kleiman of Toronto, said, “My husband [and I] were right beside the Capitol Building [on the Senate side]. And we heard three or four shots in front of the building [on the west side]. We just stood there looking. Then we heard some more shots up the street [from Constitution Ave.] And then suddenly everybody started running. Thousands of police showed up. Where we were, there was a policeman with a huge rifle who yelled at us, ‘This is real, get down.’ I was so scared, so we just ran and he said to crouch behind a bench.”

Nathanael Bennett had a birds-eye view of Thursday’s incident from his office on the third floor of the American Center for Law and Justice, at the southeast corner of the intersections of Maryland and Constitution avenues and Second Street Northeast, across from the Hart Senate Office Building.

“I heard a commotion — a screeching car, car crashing, and gun shots — all in rapid succession,” Bennett told Roll Call. At that point, he turned around in his chair to look out the window.

From Bennett’s vantage point, the car was behind the guard shack at the intersection. He saw three police officers converge on the vehicle from three sides, firing their weapons: one officer from the median, standing behind some electrical boxes near the guard shack, a second officer in front of the car on Constitution Avenue, and a third officer from the sidewalk near the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum.


(Photo courtesty of Nathanael Bennett.)

(Courtesy Nathanael Bennett)

After a series of at least a dozen gunshots, the car went into reverse, careened into the median and into the guard shack. At that point, Bennett and his co-worker decided to move to the interior of their offices.

“The whole thing lasted about three or four seconds,” Bennett said.


May 9, 2013

Domenici Hopes to Repair Ties With Reid After Affair

Former Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., wants to patch up his relationship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after the Nevada Democrat refused to see him because of an affair Domenici had with the daughter of one of Reid’s close friends three decades ago.

“I have occasion to call him every now and then,” Domenici told the Albuquerque Journal. “Harry has been a longtime friend. I’m sorry for what happened 35 years ago, and I look forward to any opportunity to talk with him about these matters.”

Full story

May 7, 2013

Reid Has Nothing to Do With Domenici Anymore

(Scott J.Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid, left, and Domenici, center, were once close colleagues. (Scott J.Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to see former Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., recently because of Domenici’s affair with the daughter of his friend and one-time opponent, former Republican Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada.

“I don’t mention Domenici anymore because of what he did to Michelle [Laxalt],” Reid said in an hourlong interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week.

“He asked to see me last week, but I wouldn’t meet with him. But that’s another story,” Reid said.

Reid is close with Laxalt, 90, who walked him to the well of the Senate to be re-sworn in after his tough 2010 re-election campaign. The two grew close after Laxalt defeated Reid for the Senate seat in 1974 by fewer than 1,000 votes, one of the closest races in history. Reid replaced Laxalt after he retired in 1987.

Full story

November 7, 2012

Cash Bar Sets Tone for GOP’s D.C. Gathering

Perhaps the Republican National Committee’s election night party was doomed from the beginning, when guests arrived to find a cash bar instead of a free-flowing booze-fest.

If not, it certainly didn’t help keep the crowds thick as the results slowly trickled in to show a bluer electoral map than red.

At the start of the evening, the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, D.C., showed signs of success. Organizers had been expecting huge crowds. The guests were, by and large, young and beautiful, with the women wearing elephant-print dresses and the men wearing bowties. People gladly paid for chips with which to buy rocks glasses of Johnnie Walker Red and flutes of champagne. The food was free, though, and the spread ranged from lobster mac n’ cheese to chicken satay. Full story

October 16, 2012

Political Gamesmanship

If you like political trivia and the trappings of high-stakes casino action, then you are in for a treat.

San Francisco-based Alfred Tom has created and released a game that combines them both: “High Stakes Politics.”

Full story

October 11, 2012

Bobby Baker’s Heady Days

Washington is replete with political memoirs, but few can stand up to the candid yet oft forgotten 1978 autobiography of Bobby Baker, which opens with an account of how he received protection in prison from Jimmy Hoffa.
Full story

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