Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

96 Posts

June 19, 2015

Bill Pascrell Comes to Alexander Hamilton’s Defense

Pascrell has come to the defense of Hamilton. (Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pascrell has come to the defense of Hamilton. (Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one member of Congress is coming to the defense of Alexander Hamilton.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., is prodding Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to reverse course on his plan to reduce the presence of the first occupant of that office and instead take the historic step of putting a woman on the $20, supplanting President Andrew Jackson.

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June 11, 2015

A Sea of Smiles at Taste of Hawaii

If the Taste of Hawaii gets much bigger, it will take over Upper Senate Park.

(Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

(Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

At least a dozen lawmakers sampled some of Hawaii’s finest offerings at the second annual event, along with a crowd estimated at more than 1,000 in a spacious Dirksen Senate Office Building hearing room.

Several guests overheard Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a repeat visitor, preaching the gospel of Spam musubi. Multiple sources told HOH the New York Democrat roped Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., into trying the exotic treat, and Schumer was still gushing about the magic of potted meats on his way out the door.

Democratic Sen. Mazie K. Hirono again led the event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. Full story

House Republicans Claim Pre-emptive Baseball Victory on Wikipedia

A fan holds a sign during the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A fan holds a sign during the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Partisan sparring over the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game is well underway, including on Wikipedia.

According to the Congress-Edits robot, the Wikipedia entry for the game was edited anonymously from inside the House to declare the Republican team victorious in Thursday evening’s contest, allowing the GOP to break the tie and claim the Roll Call Trophy.

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June 1, 2015

Thomas Massie Talks Tesla

Massie is seen in a reflection on the back of his Tesla pointing to his "Stand With Rand" magnetic sign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Massie is seen in a reflection on the back of his Tesla pointing to his “Stand With Rand” magnetic sign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Rep. Thomas Massie drove up to the Capitol to support his Kentucky GOP colleague Sen. Rand Paul’s bid to halt provisions of the Patriot Act, the congressman’s car turned heads.

Massie drives a sleek black Tesla — the electric car from entrepreneur Elon Musk’s automaker. He explained that unlike traditional gasoline-powered automobiles, his transportation of choice will effectively run on coal, a natural resource that has long driven the Kentucky economy.

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 1:07 p.m.
Stylin', Techie

May 28, 2015

Graham Bids Reluctant Farewell to Air Force Reserve

Graham, right, toured a detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan as part of his Air Force Reserve duties in January 2013. (Sgt. Katie D. Summerhill/U.S. Army File Photo)

Graham, right, toured a detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan as part of his Air Force Reserve duties in January 2013. (Sgt. Katie D. Summerhill/U.S. Army File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has known for months that with his 60th birthday approaching, the deadline for mandatory retirement from the Air Force Reserve is just ahead of him.

“I’ll be retiring at the end of the month,” the South Carolina Republican said shortly before senators departed for Memorial Day recess. “Let’s put it this way: If I get called up between now and then, something really bad happened.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:12 a.m.
#tbt, Sens

May 27, 2015

Senate Seersucker Thursday Returns June 11

Cassidy, center, is behind the seersucker effort. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cassidy, center, is championing Seersucker Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is time to once again mark your calendars — Seersucker Thursday will be June 11.

The Senate tradition was resurrected last year after being discontinued in 2012 amid concerns the event wasn’t appropriately serious. The wearing of the lighter summer suits dates to the days before air conditioning in the Capitol, but it was Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi who really started the annual event in 1996.

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May 18, 2015

In Philly, Rand Paul Waxes About Christian Laettner




PHILADELPHIA — Not far from the scene of one of the most memorable moments in the history of sports, Sen. Rand Paul recalled a story he might want to be careful about telling in his home state of Kentucky.

During March Madness in 1992, the Republican senator was living in Durham, N.C., where he attended Duke Medical School. So like just about everyone else, Paul was tuned in to the East Regional final, which was played at the old Spectrum here that year, and featured the buzzer-beating jump shot by Christian Laettner, leading the Blue Devils past the Kentucky Wildcats.

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April 27, 2015

McConnell Records Radio Introduction for Derby Day (Audio)


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


Many Kentucky radio listeners will hear a familiar voice at the start of coverage of the Run for the Roses.

Over an instrumental version of “My Old Kentucky Home,” Louisville-based 840 WHAS is featuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introducing the news radio station’s coverage of this year’s 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. Full story

April 21, 2015

Dick Durbin, Honky Tonk Man (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said he would personally be willing to meet with actual or prospective Democratic challengers to former Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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April 16, 2015

Reps. Stefanik, Comstock Join Launch of ‘Empowered Women’ Effort

Stefanik, left, and Comstock, center ... (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Stefanik, left, and Comstock, center, joined The Empowered Women Project for its launch event Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 200 people, including no shortage of current and former congressional aides, gathered Wednesday evening to launch a new platform for conservative-leaning women.

The Empowered Women project, a nonprofit that launched a website Wednesday with a manifesto, is the brainchild of GOP political strategist Mindy Finn, who has worked for, among other things, Twitter and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

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April 15, 2015

Reid Not Sure If Boxing Blows to the Head Were Good for Him

CNBC’s John Harwood gets the award for today’s quote of the day from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Speaking about his early life as a boxer, the Nevada Democrat questioned the wisdom of taking the punches he did, though he said he was good at the sport. “I fought for two years. It gave me confidence, that’s why I did it,” he said. “I’m glad I quit.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:55 p.m.
Sports Desk

April 7, 2015

Murphy, Blumenthal Confident About Friendly Bet on Women’s Basketball Title Game

The Connecticut and Indiana Senate delegations have made a rather sweet wager ahead of Tuesday night’s NCAA women’s basketball championship game in Florida, and the Connecticut senators are sounding pretty confident.

Ahead of yet another matchup between the University of Connecticut Huskies and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly have put up South Bend Chocolate Co. treats against offerings from Munson’s Chocolates — a Connecticut confectioner known to Heard on the Hill for delectable chocolate-dipped bananas.

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March 19, 2015

Lawmakers Have Their Own NCAA Bracket Challenge

Boehner posted this bracket on Instagram.

Boehner posted his Roll Call bracket on Instagram. (Screenshot)

Occasionally, members of Congress are just like the rest of us.

Wander around the Capitol the next few weeks and you’re just as likely if not more  to see TVs tuned to the NCAA tournament as to C-SPAN or cable news. And this year, some top lawmakers are having their brackets put to the test in a Yahoo! group arranged by friend of HOH and Roll Call alumna Meredith Shiner.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:21 a.m.
Sports Desk

March 17, 2015

Late Night With … Ted Cruz!

Cruz takes his humor to late night TV (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Cruz takes his humor to late night TV (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

After a weekend in South Carolina and New Hampshire, Sen. Ted Cruz took his act to 30 Rock Monday.

The Texas Republican, who is contemplating a bid for the White House, appeared as a guest on NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” The host happens to be from the first-in-the-nation primary state. Cruz was back in the building Tuesday morning for more serious programming.

“Historically, we have found when senators from Texas come to New Hampshire, it’s because they want to run for president,” Meyers said. “It’s that or you want to buy like cheap liquor at our liquor stores.”

“Well, you know tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day,” Cruz quipped in response.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 9:09 a.m.
TV Land

March 9, 2015

Heitkamp, Booker Host Frosh Mixer

A pair of senators who were recently freshmen are hosting a bipartisan dinner for their new colleagues Monday evening.

Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Cory Booker of New Jersey were hosting the event at Heitkamp’s residence. At least five of the Senate freshmen were planning to attend, according to a Senate aide, who noted that all of them were invited for a light-hearted evening designed to help foster bipartisanship among some of the newest senators.

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