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

Posts by Niels Lesniewski

113 Posts

February 9, 2016

The First Congress, and the First Earmark?

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 1: Capitol visitors walk across the East Plaza of the Capitol on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Could the Capitol have gone to Trenton, N.J.? (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Was Washington, D.C., the first great earmark?

The Capitol building might not be sitting as the center of a city built along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers if a senator didn’t stand to make a nice profit.

Full story

January 29, 2016

Clinton Adviser: Schumer Was ‘So Happy’ She Left the Senate

Schumer and Clinton served together as senators from New York. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Schumer and Clinton served together as senators from New York. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A longtime Hillary Clinton adviser seemed to think Sen. Charles E. Schumer was happy to see the current Democratic presidential candidate leave the world’s greatest deliberative body.

In an internal State Department email released Friday as part of the latest dump of Clinton emails from her time as secretary of State, Philippe Reines called Schumer “a good man who is just so happy she left the Senate.”

Full story

January 27, 2016

Reid Pulls for Trump, Then Thinks Better of It

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid insists he wasn’t serious when he told reporters he was cheering on Donald Trump in the Republican presidential contest.

“I remember the good old days when he did a fundraiser or two for me,” the Nevada Democrat said Wednesday. “With that bunch of people running, I’m kinda pulling for him.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5:18 p.m.

January 6, 2016

Cruz Re-Ups Gun Giveaway After Obama Actions

In the wake of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on guns, Ted Cruz has redoubled his plan to give away a shotgun.

The Republican senator from Texas, who is spending the week in Iowa on the presidential campaign trail, has emailed his fundraising list with a raffle for a shotgun emblazoned with the Cruz campaign logo. The contest began on Dec. 18, and runs through Jan. 30, according to the contest’s rather lengthy and legalistic official rules.



Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 6:41 p.m.

December 1, 2015

Senators’ Secret Santa Swap Set for Dec. 8

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., attends a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Dirksen Building on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, January 8, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What does Franken have in mind for this year’s Secret Santa? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators have a week to buy their gifts for their annual Secret Santa gift swap.

Sen. Al Franken’s annual effort to build holiday cheer is scheduled for Dec. 8.

“In the Senate, we have serious jobs and often face some very sobering issues,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement to Roll Call. “But every year, I host a bipartisan event to embrace the spirit of the holiday season, my annual Secret Santa. This is something we used to do at my elementary school back in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. It helped make sure that every kid got a gift, and it was a way to mix things up and give kids the chance to get to know one another.”

Full story

November 14, 2015

Opera Tenor Channels Young John Lewis in ‘Appomattox’

Ballantine, second from right, plays Lewis during 'Appomattox.' (Courtesy Kennedy Center)

Ballantine, second from right, plays Lewis during ‘Appomattox.’ (Scott Suchman/WNO)

There’s really no other place but the Kennedy Center to launch the premiere of an overhauled version of “Appomattox,” the Philip Glass opera about the end of the Civil War set at the eponymous courthouse.

The opera, which premiered in San Francisco in 2007, underwent a complete transformation after the Supreme Court upended the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Now there’s a new second act set during the Civil Rights era that features a young John Lewis — now the veteran congressman from Georgia.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5 a.m.
Artsy, DC, Drama

October 14, 2015

Presidential Candidates Avoid Nevada Brothel Debate

Time to ban brothels? Reid thinks so. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Time to ban brothels? Reid thinks so. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid caused quite a stir a few years back when he called for the elimination of legal prostitution in Nevada, but it seems presidential candidates won’t touch the issue.

We asked a handful of presidential campaigns to weigh in on the issue of the legality of brothels in the Silver State’s more rural counties. While one spokesman was brave enough to say he did not know his candidate’s position on the issue, none of the others contacted in our initial survey saw fit to respond.

Full story

October 7, 2015

Clinton Campaign Features @KevinMcCarthy — No, Not That One

On Twitter, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy goes by @GOPLeader. He does not tweet as @kevinmccarthy. He does not tweet as @kevinmccarthy!

But, the Internet does not seem to know that, and the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is taking full advantage.

The @kevinmccarthy one belongs to a guy named Kevin McCarthy in Des Moines, Iowa. The Iowa McCarthy has received no shortage of messages on Twitter since the California Republican threw his hat into the ring for speaker and commented on the political implications of the House’s committee investigating the attack on Benghazi, Libya, which he has since revised and extended.

Full story

October 6, 2015

Reid: ‘I Feel Bad’ About the Matt Williams Firing

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper, left and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hang out at Nationals Park last year shortly after Harper's call up to the majors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.)

Reid with Harper at Nationals Park. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was measured Monday in lamenting the tough season for the Washington Nationals that led to the firing of the entire coaching staff.

Manager Matt Williams and his staff were let go Monday, one day after the end of a regular season that saw the team finish with an 83-79 record, miss the playoffs and fall well short of their World Series aspirations.

Full story

September 22, 2015

Reid Hopes for Scrutiny of Bets on ‘Fake’ Sports (Video)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has never been a fan of fantasy sports, but the Nevada Democrat really wants the people in charge to figure out how to keep tabs on the money that’s changing hands.

“I hope there’s ways of controlling this money that’s obviously being bet on fake games and fake players,” said Reid.

Anyone who has been watching sports lately has been inundated with advertising for companies like FanDuel and DraftKings offering one-week fantasy games with real money. Those are services that critics say amount to gambling operations.

Full story

August 31, 2015

Lindsey Graham Questions New Hampshire Man’s Virility

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is fond of saying federal entitlement programs will go broke if there’s not an influx of new workers, but he seldom gets a volunteer when he suggests there should be a new baby boom.

“We’re going to need more people to come into the country, or have an increase in birth rate. Strom had four kids after he was 67,” the South Carolina Republican said again Monday at an event in Spartanburg in his home state. “Do I have any volunteers?”

Full story

August 28, 2015

The Fastest Candidate — Running for the White House

marco rubio

Rubio threw a football around during a recent trip to Iowa. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Does anyone care to challenge Marco Rubio to a 40-yard dash?

“I’ll tell ya this: I’m the fastest person running for president,” the Republican presidential candidate and Florida senator said Friday in a radio interview. Full story

July 31, 2015

64 Lawmakers Rally Behind Alexander Hamilton

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

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

As the House headed for August recess, a group of 64 lawmakers is uniting against reducing the role of Alexander Hamilton on the 10-dollar bill.

A new letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is the latest effort, led by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., and Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the Virgin Islands.

Full story

July 27, 2015

Lindsey Graham Shows Off New iPhone

Graham shows off his new iPhone at the Senate subway. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

Graham shows off his new iPhone. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham got an iPhone.

And the South Carolina Republican says he doesn’t intend to begin texting or sending email — but he is getting calls and reading the news on the snazzy new device.

Full story

July 23, 2015

#tbt: Roll Call Praises John Kasich on Congressional Pay Stance

Kasich and Domenici, seen here as chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kasich and Domenici, seen here as chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back when this publication wrote editorials, newly declared presidential candidate and current Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich won plaudits for pushing back on the politics of congressional pay raises.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, the Ohio Republican worked to block a Senate provision from being included in a budget resolution conference report that would have called for a seven-year congressional pay freeze. Roll Call reported that even senators were unaware of the language, which was attributed to Senate Budget Chairman Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M.

Ultimately, a pay freeze amendment was adopted for fiscal 1996 as part of the old Treasury, Postal Service and general government appropriations bill, but that applied only to that year, as opposed to Domenici’s sweeping plan to freeze the salaries for seven years.

Here’s how Roll Call editorialized about the efforts of Kasich and Domenici, 20 years ago this month: Full story

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