Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 23, 2014

Posts in "Freshman"

July 17, 2014

Joe Manchin’s Penchant for Power Lunching

Joe Manchin’s Penchant for Power Lunching

What’s for lunch? Bipartisanship! (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If it’s hump day, budding coalition builder Sen. Joe Manchin III is probably breaking bread with members of his slowly widening circle of fellow comity seekers.

Aides to the West Virginia Democrat confirmed the self-styled troubleshooter has taken to gathering together colleagues for friendly visits, as often as the hectic congressional schedule permits.

“He likes to have bipartisan lunches,” Team Manchin told HOH, stressing that the semi-regular get-togethers — which appear to flow from a fairly fluid guest list — lean more toward informal discussions than issue-specific strategy sessions. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:23 p.m.
Freshman, HillSide, Sens

July 16, 2014

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

“We’ve got some fresh peppers in here. They’re not hot,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mischievously goads his congressional aides after pouring out the baggie full of mixed chilies he religiously totes around in his coat pocket.

Sam Lombardo, a much-too-trusting summer intern, takes the bait, hurling a pea-sized ornamental pepper down the hatch.

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The impetuous youth makes it through the first few bites unscathed, but is soon fanning his wide-open mouth for relief while Weber — who is always looking to welcome new chili-heads into the fold — chuckles with delight. Full story

July 15, 2014

David Valadao Attempts to Rope Online Flock Into #CowAppreciationDay

Rep. David Valadao has invited the entire Twitterverse to weigh in on what he should name the mottled black newborn calf that joined the dairy farm last weekend.

 

 

“Help me give this heifer a name! #NameACalf,” he implored supporters on social media.

A Valadao aide said the family usually handles naming duties, but indicated that the freshman lawmaker wanted to be more all-inclusive this time around. “Given that CA-21 is the biggest dairy district in the entire United States and thousands of our constituents work in the industry, Congressman Valadao thought it would be fun for constituents and their children to name this heifer (female cow),” the aide told HOH via email.

Got a guaranteed winner rolling around in the back of your mind?

Don’t dawdle.

Team Valadao plans to corral all the suggestions and select the final nomenclature come Thursday afternoon.

July 7, 2014

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

According to CQ Roll Call alumnus and current Washington Examiner senior correspondent David M. Drucker, Sen. John McCain has over the past few years evolved into the “conscience of the Senate.”

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(Warren Rojas/ CQ Roll Call)

We’re in absolutely no position (sold our soul years ago) to argue whether the Arizona Republican is the moral center Capitol Hill needs or even deserves right now. But spotting the oft-recycled title did spark an interest in trying out other potential modern day superlatives.

Say hello to The FILL IN THE BLANK of the Senate:

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Keenly Tuned Id?

 

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dynamic ego?

 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Burgeoning superego?

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Simmering rage?

 

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Unflinching optimist?

 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Awe-inspiring stick-to-itiveness?

 

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Palpable sense of relief?

Did we miss anyone?

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:59 p.m.
Freshman, media, Sens

June 23, 2014

Rangel Rap Ain’t All That

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has released a career-recapping rap ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

The last-minute attempt at shoring up the New York Democrat’s street cred isn’t completely terrible.

Yes, the background remains frozen on the campaign’s dull but clearly needed get-out-the-vote instructions rather than flipping through, say, nostalgic images of Rangel’s four decades on Capitol Hill. And the lyrics — main chorus: “If you gonna vote, you gonna vote for da Rangel/Charlie-Charlie-Charlie Rangel!” — could sound a bit more inspired. (Team Rangel did not respond to emails seeking information as to who penned and performed the supportive ditty.)

But the background chimes are hauntingly beautiful. And the song is jam-packed with information about Rangel’s upbringing, military exploits and political accomplishments.

Still, the jingle lacks the grittiness of the anthemic rhymes Memphis-based rapper Al Kapone spit for then-House hopeful Dr. George Flinn (the aspiring politico is attempting to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., this time around) during the previous cycle.

Full story

Bill Maher’s #FlipADistrict Project Enters Final Countdown

Bill Mahers #FlipADistrict Project Enters Final Countdown

Coffman, left, and Walorski are two of the House Republicans targeted in the Bill Maher ‘Flip a District’ project. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There are just two chances left to nominate House GOP lawmakers for ousting at the hands of HBO’s Bill Maher.

The political comedian announced during the June 20 “Real Time With Bill Maher” that he has added Republican Reps. Tim Walberg of Michigan and freshman Jackie Walorski of Indiana to his list of incumbents who might be vulnerable in the November midterm elections.

Full story

June 18, 2014

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

Of all the “firsts” Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, has accomplished since succeeding retired solon Daniel Akaka, we’re most excited about the inaugural “Taste of Hawaii” event she’s cooked up for late July.

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

(Courtesy Mazie K. Hirono)

Why it’s taken this long for our friends from the South Pacific to have the culinary stage all to themselves remains somewhat of a mystery.

“No one had ever asked before,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said of the missed opportunity no one had apparently given much thought to before.

Until Hirono came to town. Full story

June 9, 2014

Members Rally Behind Home Runs for Horton’s Kids

Dozens of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are expected to pour into Nationals Park on Tuesday to participate in the fun-for-all-ages Home Runs for Horton’s Kids event.

Members Rally Behind Home Runs for Horton’s Kids

(Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

The invite-only fundraiser, scheduled to take place from 5-9 p.m., benefits the kid-friendly nonprofit former Hill staffer Karin Walser founded some 25 years ago. Per staff, the goal is to gather resources (preferably, upwards of $400,000) to support the meal programs, medical care, college- and career-related counseling and summer enrichment programs the organization provides at-risk local youth.

This year’s host committee is being headed up by Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Other lawmakers who have signed on for a night out at the ballpark include: Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.; Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Jack Kingston, R-Ga.; Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.; Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.; Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif.; Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla.; Scott Tipton, R-Colo.; and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.

May 13, 2014

Food Lovers Bombard Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed

Sen. Cory Booker was up and at ’em early Tuesday, greeting his social media flock with an invitation to toss a few local shops his way in order to some them much-deserved love during Small Business Week 2014.

 

 

The New Jersey Democrat quickly learned that food is what fuels 99.99 percent of ALL discussions online.

Sure, there was an architecture group named here. And a woman-owned outfit was heralded there.

 

 

But the majority of folks were determined to spread the word about personal dining gems, a must-hit list that included:

Bagel Buffet, Hackensack: A local bakery/café specializing in sandwiches and such that also donates baked goods to neighboring food pantries (“Sounds delicious,” Booker suggested).

Giorgio’s Pasticcerie, Hoboken: Family-owned bakery specializing in Italian and French pastries.

Blueplate, Mullica Hill: Neighborhood restaurant specializing in Modern American cuisine.

Benny’s, Fair Lawn: Old school luncheonette dealing in home fries, patty melts and their signature “Overstuffed Hot Pastrami Sandwich.”

Bischoff’s Ice Cream, Teaneck: An 80-year-old sweets shop that dabbles in the likes of pumpkin fudge, coffee-cookie crush ice cream (coffee cream with crumbled Oreos) and strawberry ice cream sodas. (“I’ll believe it when I taste it,” Booker asserted)

Judicke’s Bakery, Bayonne: Family-run bakery renowned for cranking out old favorites (baklava, mascarpone mousse cake) as well as trendy treats (“Frozen”-themed cupcakes).

White Manna, Hackensack, and Kosher Nosh, Glenn Rock: The former is a fast-food haven renowned for its onion-packed sliders while the latter is a traditional deli dishing smoked fish platters, triple-decker sandwiches and Jewish comfort foods (chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, chicken-in-a-pot).

DP’s Pub, Garfield: A dive bar with a thing for seafood. (“Their garlic sauce is legendary,” Booker shared)

SeaGrass Restaurant, Ocean Grove: Polished eatery with a penchant for seasonal cooking.

Mount Royal Bagel Company, Marlton: The house that wood-fired, “Montreal-style” bagels (“boiled in honey water before baking,” the website explains) built.

Biggie’s Clam Bar, Hoboken: A nearly 70-year-old raw bar that’s since spun off into other states (Tennessee).

Osteria Procacci, Kingston: Upscale pizza joint specializing in gourmet pies.

Magic Fountain Ice Cream and Grill, Elizabeth: Deep-fried everything plus frozen goodies.

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken: The spot that catapulted reality TV vet- Buddy Valastro to “Cake Boss” fame. (“A favorite of mine, too,” Booker revealed)

Southside Roast, Cranford: Local java source with a few nibbles (soups, sandwiches) to boot.

To wit, the only way out of the restaurant rumble for the food-fatigued solon was to retreat to the relative safety of the chamber:

 

 

Looks like Mr. Text Happy bit off more than he could chew this time.

May 9, 2014

California Democrats ‘Cher’ a Moment

By virtue of having to operate in the minority, House Democrats Michael M. Honda and Ami Bera automatically do not have the loudest microphone in Congress.

California Democrats Cher a Moment

(Courtesy Team Bera)

Not so at neighboring 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE); that’s where the California lawmakers recently buddied up to belt out ’60s hits for a captive audience.

A Bera aide told HOH the pols serenaded a group of Asian-American young professionals with their rendition of “I Got You Babe.” After hashing out who was best suited to channel the latest Wu-Tang collaborator and who should step into the shoes of the late Sonny Bono, R-Calif., the pals put on what sounds like quite a performance.

“Congressman Honda’s experience showed and he definitely out-sang his protégé, but Congressman Bera had a certain something that captured much of the audience’s heart,” Team Bera suggested.

While Honda’s predilection for rocking the mic is no secret, our source assured us that any buzz about a multi-city tour “are only rumors.” Full story

April 28, 2014

Keep the Crises Coming — Flack For Dan Synder!

Dust off those resumes, Capitol Hill communicators looking to jump off the rapidly sinking ships floating around Congress: Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder needs YOUR help flogging his perennially basement-dwelling squad.

That’s right, the most vehemently despised D.C. sports team owner in recent history — amassing only a handful of playoff appearances over the past 15 seasons and struggling to reach .500 most years, which has taken its toll on even diehard fans — is on the hunt for a social media coordinator.

The Dream Job of the Week” laundry-lists a host of technobabbley responsibilities (“drive member-generated content;” “add value to social sites”) but neglects to mention all the little extras that should prove as disruptive, if not more so, than your typical congressional scandal.

The roster of heartburn-stoking carryovers includes:

  • Management’s refusal to amend the team name amidst ongoing protests by offended Native American groups (and frequent tongue lashings from fed-up lawmakers);
  • Picking fights with local press;
  • Shamelessly exploiting the cheerleading staff;
  • Brazenly squeezing every last dollar possible out of unsuspecting fans

Dealing with the constant drama should come second nature to Hill staffers who’ve grown accustomed to simply waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We imagine everyone in the office of embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., is completely psyched to ride out the 20-count indictment handed down earlier today.

And what aspiring professional wouldn’t want to stick around and see how short-timer Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, weathers a swirling ethics inquiry? (Bonus points to anyone who stays put if Stockman decides to go AWOL again.)

Why wait for the kiss-off six months from now from Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.— who has officially thrown in the towel after getting caught canoodling with his district scheduler — when you can spend all summer sweating bullets contemplating how the Skins will shoot themselves in the foot this pre-season?

Or perhaps someone in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could just use a break from cutting and pasting the phrase “Koch brothers” into every single statement that comes down the pike:

Regardless of your reasons, run — don’t walk — into The Danny’s open arms.

A job this sweet nerve-wracking is unlikely to roll around again anytime soon. Unless, of course, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling puts out the call for a new spin doctor.

April 25, 2014

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

Walsh, left, swears by the bonding powers of craft liquor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman lawmaker John Walsh has hatched a new plan for making fast friends in the Senate: get in good with their hometown hooch producers.

The Montana Democrat plans to raise the bar on representing small batch booze makers by establishing the Senate Craft Distillers Caucus. He announced his intention to spearhead the liquor-friendly clique while soaking in the likes of Headframe Spirits, a Butte, Mont.-based distillery that specializes in bourbon, gin, vodka and a bourbon cream liqueur.

A Walsh aide said the newly minted solon is excited about tapping into the enterprising zeal of the spirits world — by Team Walsh’s count, Montana is currently home to 16 licensed distilleries — and hopes to recruit others to the task once everyone is back in town.

The planned outreach could lead to some tipsy-tacular lobbying.

Walsh could get rickey wit it alongside D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, by tipping his cap to Green Hat Gin-fueled coolers.

Or he could hedge his bets on locking down support for the group from Republican colleagues Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul by inviting them over next weekend for a Kentucky Derby viewing party and feeding them nothing but Maker’s Mark mint juleps.

Inserting himself into the bromance between Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine might take a little more work. May we suggest a boys’ weekend in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, culminating with nightly campfires around which tall tales are spun and heroic amounts of Catoctin Creek’s fiery Mosby’s Spirit or Copper Fox’s rye whiskey are swigged directly from the bottle.

April 24, 2014

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

Sen. Ted Cruz did a little troll hunting April 23, baiting the entirety of the Internet-enabled world with a perplexing pic of an urban safari that incited carnage across the social mediasphere.

The Texas Republican set the trap by innocently (?) blasting out a snapshot of him and Utah Republican Mike Lee — staff told HOH the tea party pals have been tag-teaming fundraisers across the Lone Star State this week — posing atop a snarling animal pelt.

 

 

Had this Senate bromance finally gone lethal?

What endangered species might be next on the Cruz-Lee extinction tour?

Or was Cruz yet again practicing the art of pressing everyone’s buttons?

“The senator was kidding,” a Cruz aide explained of the spontaneous photo op with a totally fake tiger skin rug. “He ran across it between meetings in Houston yesterday and wanted a picture.”

Joke or not, the stunt unleashed a torrent of passionate reactions on Twitter and Facebook.

After sifting through the thousands of comments furiously scribbled on Cruz’s social media boards, the brunt of popular opinion falls into three main camps:

No Remorse

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 23, 2014

Mark Begich Wins the Parody Game

Conservative activists have composed a spiteful ditty imploring Alaskan voters to give freshman Sen. Mark Begich the heave-ho this fall.

The combative tune denounces the Democratic lawmaker, who is up for reelection in November, for lending his support to the  Affordable Care Act and presumably not fighting hard enough to get the Keystone XL pipeline up and running. “He needs to pack his bags and move to 9-0-2-1-0,” the song suggests.

As for as parodies go, the song is just OK. (Not sure even Weird Al could’ve spun gold out of the dour source material.)

Begich, meanwhile, seems to have no problem lampooning the political scandals (real and imagined) that have helped grind the federal government to a halt:

Another small victory for free will, indeed.

April 21, 2014

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is so impressed with Sen. Christopher S. Murphy’s humanitarian work that the homeless aid group plans to honor the freshman lawmaker with the inaugural “Mission Possible Champion of the Year” award on May 3.

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is mighty impressed with Murphy, left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to a Miriam’s Kitchen aide, the Connecticut Democrat has made a name for himself amongst the social assistance community by championing efforts to expand services for at-risk veterans, improving the availability of housing vouchers for displaced individuals and delving into the nutritional challenges faced by those attempting to subsist solely on food stamps.

“The reality of homelessness isn’t something that most people can easily understand. It impacts our entire community, often in ways that aren’t obvious,” Murphy asserted in a release shared by Miriam’s Kitchen. “When federal, state and local policymakers collaborate with service providers and advocates, the solutions become very clear: chronically homeless people need housing. It is the key to helping our most at-risk neighbors build a better life for themselves, and it is critical to containing the high costs of chronic homelessness.”

In addition to headlining Miriam’s Kitchen’s Mission Possible Gala on May 3, Murphy and members of his staff are scheduled to help dole out meals at the main facility (2401 Virginia Ave. NW) Tuesday night.

Murphy’s first trip to Miriam’s HQ will begin around 4 p.m. with meal prep. Dinner service is set to begin around 4:45 p.m.; the menu for the evening is a chicken broccoli stir-fry featuring bok choy, mushrooms and braised greens.

Team Miriam’s Kitchen expects to serve upwards of 150 homeless during the dinner rush — roughly 13 percent of which are typically U.S. military vets.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:43 p.m.
DC, Freshman, Staffers

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