Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Posts by Meredith Shiner

20 Posts

March 12, 2014

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

For four years, one title has eluded Michele Bachmann, and it’s not “president.”

(Meredith Shiner/CQ Roll Call)

(Meredith Shiner/CQ Roll Call)

The Minnesota congresswoman and one-time Republican presidential hopeful just wanted to win Sen. Al Franken’s annual hotdish off Wednesday before leaving Congress.

Grandma Phoebe’s Sunday Supper:

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Unfortunately, just as Mitt Romney kept her from the top of the national ticket, two-time hotdish champion Tim Walz, D-Minn., vanquished Bachmann from the win she so desperately coveted.

Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish:

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

To the victor, goes the Pyrex with a special plaque. Full story

November 26, 2013

Senator Wants Chatty Future Air Travelers to Get Off His Lawn

Bad news potentially promiscuous air travelers: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., doesn’t want to know about your “last night’s love life.”

Alexander: Not a fan of cell phone use on planes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alexander: Not a fan of cellphone use on planes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alexander issued a statement on the eve of one of the busiest air travel days of the year urging Federal Communications Commission heads to ban phone calls on planes, even as the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would ease its cellphone policy.
The old-man statement — which this HOH scribe endorses and thinks you will, too — is too good not to publish in its entirety: Full story

July 18, 2013

Rat Becomes Newest Housemate for Durbin, Schumer

A pesky rat has infiltrated the group house inhabited by Senate Democratic leaders Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and owned by Rep. George Miller of California, CQ Roll Call has learned.

A source close to the situation said multiple traps have been set up throughout the Capitol Hill “Animal House” to catch the rodent. Schumer was overheard on his cellphone in the Capitol discussing exterminators. The rat situation has been ongoing for days, our source tells us.

“Durbin and I are united in our hopes that it’s dead, but if it’s not, I hope it’s upstairs and he hopes it’s downstairs,” Schumer said in a statement.

No one would confirm whether the frat-like lifestyle of the prominent Democrats led to the rat’s break-in, but a 2011 NBC special “Inside Congress” filmed the lawmakers in their home and featured Miller chiding Schumer to “close up the cereal before you leave.”

Modest suggestion from your friends at CQ Roll Call, senators, check under the gross couch!




June 4, 2013

Lisa Murkowski’s George Clooney Moment

It’s a long way from D.C. to Alaska … long enough to make Republican Lisa Murkowski the million-mile senator.

Murkowski posted to Facebook on Monday night that on her flight back to D.C. after the Memorial Day recess, she found out she had achieved million-mile status on Alaska Airlines.


Murkowski still has about 9 million miles to go to match George Clooney’s character’s total in the 2009 movie “Up in the Air,” but the good news is that unlike Clooney’s Ryan Bingham, the people of Alaska seem to like her enough that they’ve continued to elect her.

Many thanks to Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling for flagging.

May 20, 2013

GW Athletics: Only the House Side of the Capitol Matters

(Image courtesy of George Washington University)

(Courtesy George Washington University)


Sad day for George Washington University Law School alum/Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (or something): A rendering of the school’s new basketball court includes an image of the Capitol — but not the Senate side!

Of course, no one has cared about GW basketball since Pops Mensah-Bonsu and that time people accidentally won brackets in 2006 thinking that “George Mason” was the same as “George Washington.” But no matter. Senators feel snubbed over everything, and with all the Colonials crawling around the Capitol, HOH is sure there will be enough “the upper chamber got usurped by the White House!” snark to go around.

Truth be told, this reporter is a big basketball fan, has actually been to multiple GW basketball games (not suggested to attend a game on Greek Day) and thinks the court is pretty cool.

Per the school’s press release, GW was created in 1821 through an act of Congress and everyone is stoked about running and sweating all over the Washington Monument, White House and two-thirds of the Capitol.

“After our graduating students and student-athletes enjoyed their Commencement ceremony on the National Mall yesterday, unveiling this spectacular new floor design today further emphasizes our campus setting in the heart of D.C.,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in the statement. “When people around the world are watching our games, we want them to immediately recognize and understand the university’s unique setting in the middle of the action in this world-class city.”

Meanwhile, Georgetown students still will be left to struggle to figure out how to use public transportation from the Verizon Center downtown to their campus in far Northwest.

May 16, 2013

Whoops! Looks Like ‘Mark Sanfrod’ Was Sworn In

Updated 3:45 p.m. | Moving in. It can be quite the adjustment. Just ask the team of newly sworn-in Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., which was greeted with a press release sent out under the auspices of the new congressman with this headline: “Representative Mark Sanfrod Sworn Into Office.”

A horrified staff saw this — as well as an HOH blog post noting the misspelling and other snafus on Sanford’s official congressional website — and explained what went down.

“Rep. Sanford’s official website was updated by the US House without the prior knowledge, or consent, of our office and they have acknowledged their error,” Sanford’s office said in a statement. Specifically, responsibility for the error lies with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

Sanford, who was sworn in on Wednesday, certainly is one of the most colorful figures to return to Capitol Hill in quite some time. But the release was more than colorful:



Full story

March 29, 2013

Don Young Thinks the Word ‘Wetbacks’ Is OK

Hey  Rep. Don Young — 1956 called and it wants its racial epithets back.

The Republican from Alaska gave a wide-ranging interview with a local radio station KRBD, which aired Thursday, when he used the term “wetbacks” to describe laborers on what apparently was an extraordinarily large ranch his family owned.

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” the 79-year-old Young said. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

Don’t believe us? You can listen to the audio here:

KTUU in Alaska has since reported that Young issued a statement Thursday night saying he was simply using the vocabulary of his youth.

“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young said in the statement, according to KTUU. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”



By Meredith Shiner Posted at 8:09 a.m.

March 28, 2013

Senate Rules Committee = Killjoys

Dear Senate staffers: The Senate Rules and Administration Committee hates festive posters and that finger-paint drawing you taped to your window so the world could see your child’s genius.

And if you don’t immediately take them down from the windows of the Hart Senate Office Building, Big Brother is going to come around the fish bowl and take them down for you. Or so implied an email sent Wednesday to all Senate offices by the committee’s Chief Clerk Lynden C. Armstrong.

Please note the caps lock for emphasis.

“I’ve gotten some complaints and have seen a number of signs, posters, photos, charts, etc. that have been placed facing outwards into the Hart Atrium. It is against the regulations governing the Senate Office Buildings to place any kind of material facing the exterior of the building and into the Hart Atrium,” the e-mail, obtained by HOH said. “Because there are a NUMBER of violations, I’m asking each of you to walk your spaces and have any items removed or turned around. It will make life simpler for me when I don’t have to start tracking down every individual item and contacting you separately.”

Armstrong then included the full memo of building rules in case staffers already had forgotten office rules “do’s and don’t’s,” which includes the anti-window display edict. The justification provided for the rules was “to assure the safety of the thousands of staff and visitors who pass through these buildings and to maintain a professional appearance in the buildings.”

HOH’s favorite rule? The one based on the assumption that staffers would somehow treat food services like room service.

“Please do not place dishes or trays in the hallways. Any property of the Senate Restaurants should be returned to them. The Superintendent’s personnel are not responsible for returning restaurant items.”

March 20, 2013

Cheer Up, Staffers! We’ve Got the Campus NCAA Channel Guide

Dear Hill creatures: Don’t feel guilty about wanting to watch March Madness on Thursday. Just be informed on how to, care of your friends at HOH.

Let’s be honest, your bosses will be watching basketball. Why should they have all the fun just because they were elected to do the people’s work and you were merely hired at a low price? Read further for the lowdown on which channels around campus you can find virtually every game. And don’t forget to fill out your Roll Call men’s and women’s NCAA brackets!

Full story

March 3, 2013

Jon Tester, Gym Rat?

With the double-secret-probation-style mystery shrouding the Senate members-only gym, outsiders are left to imagine what happens there, like whether Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., uses the treadmill.

This is precisely what HOH asked the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, in a wide-ranging sit-down interview about the gym.

“You know, I’ve seen him on the StairMaster, the rowing machine. Jon really pours his heart into it. He really goes at it hard,” Durbin said.
Full story

January 18, 2013

Master of Ceremonies Schumer Ready for His Close-Up

Schumer is relishing his final days as master of ceremonies of the biggest event of the year — the presidential inauguration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Self-professed New York vegetable and Kelly Clarkson fan Sen. Charles E. Schumer showcased on Friday the two crystal vases to be presented to Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Relishing his final days as master of ceremonies of the biggest event of the year — the presidential inauguration — the New York Democrat was in his favorite territory, the news conference, to offer a sneak peek at the two oversized, tapering etched-glass vases designed and donated by the Lenox Corp. Or, in his words: wine glasses.

Full story

September 4, 2012

Dispatch From the DNC’s Kickoff Parties

Charlotte, N.C. — The rain didn’t stop the music Monday, when hundreds of Democratic National Convention attendees fanned out across the city’s center to catch some of the country’s top musical acts.

John Legend headlined the Duke Energy soiree at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum. Full story

August 29, 2012

John Boehner’s Tears Win Over a Ron Paul Delegate

TAMPA, Fla. — Ron Paul delegates haven’t had much praise for the establishment since arriving here in Tampa, but sometimes it only takes one conversation to remember that voters are, at the core, just people who are looking to connect to the politicians elected to serve them.

One such chat occurred Tuesday in the ballroom of the airport Marriott, when HOH walked up to a table full of Missouri GOP delegates, plopped down in the middle of their breakfast and began probing them for their opinions of Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), who had just finished addressing the room and is about as establishment as any lawmaker comes.

That’s when a 48-year-old small-business man from Kansas City surprised HOH (while also getting a dig in about reporters, of course). He liked Boehner. And the thing he liked most were Boehner’s tears.

“He has emotion when he talks. I mean, he’s a real person. I know people in the media make fun of him for crying, but I love that part,” said Mark Jones. “I don’t always agree with [him on] everything, but you’re not going to find anyone that I completely agree with. … I’m a Ron Paul delegate, and so I’m not always happy with Speaker Boehner, but he is the leader and he is very diplomatic in the way he handles things. I am totally against raising the debt ceiling, 100 percent of the time, and he’s voted for that, and so obviously that’s part of my disagreement.”

Hours later Paul delegates caused a stir in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, upset that rules had been changed to minimize their influence on the convention. Some even walked out in protest. Maybe Mitt Romney could win over more fans if he just succumbed to a good, old-fashioned cry?

June 29, 2012

Game Changers

Republicans had a brilliant plan to win Thursday night’s CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game: And that plan was — gasp! — more regulation.

Sure, it was a move straight from the Democratic playbook (and let’s face it, after an 18-5 drubbing, maybe the GOP should at least try to steal signals). But the party that doesn’t believe Wall Street CEOs such as Jamie Dimon should have federal regulators all up in their business wanted to impose a new rule to curb the number of innings a single hurler could pitch in the annual charity game. Full story

June 20, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Softballer Scorned …

There’s no crying in baseball, but there might be if women lawmakers don’t get their way in an internal fight pitting some of the most powerful Senate Democrats against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others hoping to make it to tonight’s Congressional Women’s Softball game.

Full story

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