Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2014

Posts by Matt Fuller

13 Posts

September 17, 2014

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.

After Speaker John A. Boehner opened the House, Bachmann was due to step in the chair. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Republican, the dress code governing the House chamber was written before the time when Michelle Obama was first lady. Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.

According to a source who saw the hubbub, floor staffers huddled for a moment before approaching Bachmann and telling her she could not preside until she covered up.

“I was just told that I needed to have a jacket and it was no problem,” Bachmann told HOH on Wednesday afternoon. “I called the staff and said ‘grab one’ — I keep an extra one in my office — and they ran it over lickety-split.”

Bachmann said she agreed with the dress code, which is stricter for members when they are presiding over the House chamber than it is for when they’re on the floor. “And it isn’t different for women than it is for men, which I absolutely agree with,” she said.

While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.

When her staff did arrive, they brought two options: a dark blazer and a white one. Bachmann, who was wearing a black dress, tried on both, opting for the black jacket in the end.

“I just thought this would look more professional,” she said.

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June 13, 2014

Tim Ryan Welcomes New Son, Brady Zetts Ryan

Rep. Tim Ryan has already had a taste of fatherhood raising two stepchildren with his second wife, Andrea. But he’s about to get a whole new flavor in raising his new son, Brady Zetts Ryan, who was born on Thursday, just a few days shy of Father’s Day.

The Ohio Democrat announced the birth of Brady, a 19 ¾-inch tyke weighing in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces the day after the birth.

“We are thankful that Brady and Andrea are both doing very well,” Ryan said.

“Mason and Bella are very excited to have a new little brother,” Ryan said of his two stepchildren.

In a statement, Ryan thanked the doctors, nurses and their midwife for their “excellent care and kind words.” In February, he announced that his wife was expecting.

Ryan, 40, is serving in his sixth term and is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee.

By Matt Fuller Posted at 1:45 p.m.
Kiddies, Reps

February 26, 2014

Reporter to Boehner: Nice Tan, Sir (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner has a special affinity for poking fun at reporters’ sartorial decisions. But on Wednesday, it was Boehner who found himself on the butt end of a joke.

The Ohio Republican began his question and answer session Wednesday morning with some classic schoolyard sarcasm regarding Bloomberg reporter Derek Wallbank’s decision to wear a light purple button-down Wednesday.

“Nice shirt,” the Speaker said.

Wallbank took the comment — or at least tried to take the comment — as a compliment.

“Thank you, sir,” he said. Full story

February 7, 2014

Paul Gosar’s Love for Legislation He Voted Against

Paul Gosars Love for Legislation He Voted Against

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama signed the long-awaited farm bill into law Friday, prompting the traditional outpouring of congressional press releases. But among the digital back-pattings was one carefully worded missive that lauded Obama for signing provisions of Rep. Paul Gosar’s wildfire prevention legislation into law — even though Gosar voted against the final bill.

“When it comes to wildfires, 2013 wasn’t a good year, which is why I’m especially proud that the majority of my wildfire prevention legislation was signed into law today,” Gosar stated. Full story

January 24, 2014

Flying High With Former N.H. Sen. Bob Smith

Ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown may not have officially announced his candidacy for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, but former Sen. Bob Smith has — sort of.

Flying High With Former N.H. Sen. Bob Smith

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican lawmaker has filed papers for the New Hampshire Senate seat he held for 12 years — though he hasn’t exactly announced his candidacy formally.

He is, however, hitting the D.C. circuit in search of money and support. And HOH had the unplanned pleasure of sitting next to him on his return flight from Baltimore to Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.

If you ask Smith, he has every intention of beating sitting New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and fellow Senate alumnus Brown.

“I’m not running for my health. I’m serious,” Smith told HOH over the course of a roughly 45-minute discussion that ranged from the current race to the sheer magnitude of the universe. (He couldn’t seem to shake a recent Discovery Channel special on the solar system.) Full story

November 26, 2013

Radel Press Crew Jumps Into Kurt Bardella’s Waiting Arms

As Mark Leibovich wrote on Twitter in response to the news, “#ThisTown writes itself.”

Indeed.

Radel Press Crew Jumps Into Kurt Bardellas Waiting Arms

Bardella, right, has some company in his communications startup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As if the cocaine-busted Rep. Trey Radel needed another problem, he now has an empty press shop to deal with.

His communications director, Amanda Nunez, and a press aide, Caitlin Rush, announced Monday that they were leaving the Florida Republican’s office to join Endeavor Strategic Communications, the public relations shop headed by Kurt Bardella, former press aide, most famously, for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. #ThisTown

Bardella started Endeavor in September as a PR firm that “specializes” in a number of image management fields, including “crisis communications.”

All three players have some experience in that one field.

Full story

October 8, 2013

Tim Griffin’s Son Tests Old Adage: Vote Early, Vote Often

John Griffin may be the youngest person to ever vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dressed in his Christmas-sweater-vest-best, John — the toddler son of GOP Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas — accompanied his dad to evening votes Tuesday.

And John, who looks to be about 3 years old, voted for about a dozen members.

Tim Griffins Son Tests Old Adage: Vote Early, Vote Often

(Screenshot via Twitter)

Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 9:43 p.m.
HillSide, Kiddies, Reps

September 27, 2013

House GOP Aide Questions Wisdom of Going to See ‘Prisoners’ Tonight

House Republicans might be rethinking their Friday night movie plans after word got out that the members would be hitting up the Regal in Chinatown to see “Prisoners.”

In a series of emails obtained by CQ Roll Call, Republican staffers revealed that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wants to do a movie night for the Republican members in town. And the plan is to see “Prisoners.”

That’s when Erica Elliott, the spokeswoman for McCarthy, asks a prescient question:

“Any chance the media reads WAY too much into the title of the movie, Prisoners?”

To answer Ms. Elliott’s question: yes.

Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have made a concerted effort to cast Republicans as the bad guys for taking the nation’s credit “hostage” for a “wish list” of demands. Obama says he will not negotiate. Speaker John A. Boehner says, “I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.”

So when Republicans landed on “Prisoners” for their Friday night flick, it was probably going to raise some Democratic eyebrows — or at least prompt some Democratic press releases.

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“Given Speaker Boehner’s crusade to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to Tea Party ransom demands, it’s not surprising that, in their free time, the Republican Conference would choose to spend their Friday night watching a film together about hostage taking.” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s communications director told CQ Roll Call.

“Perhaps, given the group, ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ would be more appropriate for their movie night,” Hammill said.

But HOH will note that if you haven’t seen the original “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” then the sequel, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ (which is the movie actually playing at Regal), probably isn’t worth your time.

In fact, nothing at Regal looks all that good.

“Insidious: Chapter 2” — There was a Chapter 1?

“Don Jon” — Let’s not even go there.

“The Family” — 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so …

“Rush” — We think House Republicans, like us, have grown tired of Ron Howard.

“Baggage Claim” — 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” — Seen it.

“Battle of the Year 3D” — Also ripe for ridicule, especially if you’re spotted in the 3D glasses.

“The World’s End” — Hard to see how that’s much better than “Prisoners.”

So “Prisoners,” with a 79 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and 90 percent audience approval, may not be the worst Friday night flick — even if Democrats are delighting in the choice.

Elliott, who took a stern tone over the matter using words like “confirm” and “logistics,” said Republicans were still figuring out which movie to see.

“I can confirm that our office has had internal discussions about potential member services activities this weekend. I can also confirm that a member of Minority Leader Pelosi’s staff was mistakenly copied on the email chain and chose to forward it to members of the media. At this time, no final decisions have been made about logistics for this weekend,” Elliott said.

August 28, 2013

Rigell Letter Bravely Opposes Obama’s Plan to Bomb … Libya?

Rigell Letter Bravely Opposes Obamas Plan to Bomb ... Libya?

Rep. Scott Rigell’s letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday was by most measures a win for the Virginia Republican, who gained valuable media exposure in finding 116 lawmakers to urge congressional authorization before striking Syria.

But the letter wasn’t a complete success for the congressman or his office.

Throughout the day, Rigell’s office sent a list of current signatories that had a number of errors (left the second ‘n’ off of Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, guys). Michigan Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio was, somehow, “Rep. Jim Bentivolio.” And Raúl R. Labrador became, in what was either a mistake or a subtle shot at the Idaho Republican, “Rep. Raul Labrabor.”

But, perhaps, the most comical mistake came in Rigell’s press release touting his letter. The headline?

“Rigell Leads Bipartisan Effort Urging President Obama to Get Congressional ApprovalBefore Striking Libya”

While Rigell’s letter criticizes Obama for his 2011 intervention in Libya, the congressman’s staff might have wanted to check the timeline on that whole Libya thing.

His office did send out a corrected press release. Crisis (in Libya) averted.

By Matt Fuller Posted at 6:57 p.m.
Uncategorized

July 15, 2013

Ted Poe Has a History With the Lone Ranger

Ted Poe feels pretty strongly about the Lone Ranger, and that’s just the way it is.

The Texas Republican confirmed his fanboy status in a fervent op-ed published Monday in some Texas newspapers, noting the recent release of “The Lone Ranger” movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp and averring his love of the masked cowboy and telling the improbable story of how he came to serve as the judge in a case involving Clayton Moore, the actor who played the Lone Ranger in the famous black-and-white television series.

Full story

February 5, 2013

House Committee Breaks Bruschetta

Between 45 and 55 members of the House Financial Services Committee attended a members-only dinner Monday at Capitol Hill’s Lavagna on Barracks Row, a rare sign of bipartisan bonhomie.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, reportedly paid 54 percent of the roughly $5,000 tab, while ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., paid 46 percent — a division reflecting the panel’s party composition.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., tweeted during the meal that the Financial Services Committee was “breaking bread together” at an Italian restaurant. “Dems and Republicans side by side,” Himes tweeted.
Full story

January 29, 2013

Reid Dings Daily Caller When Asked About Menendez Prostitution Accusations

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took shots at the conservative news site The Daily Caller on Tuesday, characterizing reports that Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., solicited prostitutes as unreliable.

Reid said you have to “consider the source” of the allegations, referring to The Daily Caller.

The Daily Caller has reported that Menendez frequented prostitutes while in the Dominican Republic on several occasions between 2009 and 2012.

“I always consider the source,” Reid said. “All anyone here has to look at is the source where this comes from. It’s a source that has brought up a lot of non-issues.”

Reid said that reports on Menendez’s sexual activities were “typical” of The Daily Caller. Menendez and his office have said the reports are false.

Menendez is set to take over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from outgoing Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is leaving the Senate to become secretary of State.

June 7, 2012

Overheard on the Hill

“We shouldn’t get caught up in the weeds.”

— Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen (D) during Judiciary Committee debate on a medical marijuana amendment to the Safe Doses Act.

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