Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 7, 2015

Posts in "Grassroots Lobbying"

February 27, 2015

Activist Toques Scour Capitol Hill for Food Aid

Just under a dozen renowned hospitality professionals looked to carve up both chambers of Congress, pressing their respective lawmakers to support the realignment of outdated global assistance provisions.

The food service vets, who walked the halls of Congress on behalf of Oxfam America, flew in from across the country on Feb. 24 to voice their support for the Food for Peace Reform Act co-authored by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Chris Coons, D-Del.

“This is an antiquated system that needs a total overhaul. And this legislation is the gold standard of what aid would look like if it were designed from the ground up today,” Oxfam America Senior Policy Adviser Eric Muñoz said of the proposed policy changes. Full story

February 23, 2015

UFO Activist to Capitol Hill: ‘Beam Me Up!’

Stephen Bassett, executive director of Paradigm Research Group and founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC), has devoted the past 18 years to overcoming the “truth embargo” about government involvement in alien affairs.

He’s now ready for Congress to officially weigh in.

UFO Activist to Capitol Hill: ‘Beam Me Up!’

(Screenshot)

“Once this evidence is properly looked at, the way it should be, any reasonable person will come to the same conclusion,” Bassett told HOH about the cumulative knowledge his advocacy group wants to share with interested lawmakers.

Bassett laid the groundwork for his latest congressional outreach a few years back, hosting a 30-plus-hour mock hearing (spanning five days) at the National Press Club in 2013. He had copies of the recorded sessions of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure delivered to every Capitol Hill office — a bundle containing 10 DVDs, a letter signed by the participating witnesses and a request to meet with Bassett — immediately following the midterm elections. Full story

February 9, 2015

Niki Tsongas, Jerrold Nadler Embraced by LGBT Filmmakers

Words of support that House Democrats Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts and Jerrold Nadler of New York extended to a same-sex couple whose union was threatened by the polarizing Defense of Marriage Act are slated to appear in an upcoming movie about the ongoing struggle.

According to Caroline Hart, the European half of a domestic partnership that came under fire after Department of Homeland Security agents tossed around talk of deportation following a return flight from her native England, the kind words both lawmakers shared via Twitter will be rolled into “Status Unknown” — a dramatization of the nightmare scenario she experienced at Logan Airport. Full story

January 29, 2015

Hospitality Giants Aim to Mobilize Food Fans to Action (Video)

Hospitality Giants Aim to Mobilize Food Fans to Action (Video)

Sips & Suppers co-founders Nathan, Waters and Andres address the Newseum event. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

It turns out that huddling with food-conscious Washingtonians and raising millions of dollars for local charities was merely an appetizer for “Sips & Suppers” co-founders José Andrés, Joan Nathan and Alice Waters.

Their next objective: getting the well-fed masses up from their respective tables and into the streets to clamor for change in school-lunch policies. Full story

January 13, 2015

Mark Takano Won’t Get Boxed Into Running for Senate

Try as they might, the starry-eyed optimists behind the “Ready for Takano” campaign are not going to goad California Democratic Rep. Mark Takano into hustling to replace his retiring Senate colleague, Barbara Boxer.

Mark Takano Won’t Get Boxed Into Running for Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“We are a group of young progressives that aim to draft Congressman Mark Takano to run for US Senate in 2016 or 2018,” the would-be kingmakers stipulate on a homespun Facebook page launched on Jan. 8. Full story

January 7, 2015

Piper Perabo Scours Capitol Hill for Fans of Pay Bumps

“Covert Affairs” star Piper Perabo is canvassing Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday. Her mission: ferreting out supporters of an AFL-CIO-led pay raise push.

Piper Perabo Scours Capitol Hill for Fans of Pay Bumps

(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images File Photo)

“Although I have been playing a CIA operative on TV, this is my first real walk through the halls of Congress, and I am excited,” the faux-intelligence operative, who first burst into the public consciousness as a drink-slinging, table top-stomping, karaoke savant in “Coyote Ugly,” told HOH. Full story

December 18, 2014

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Rogen, center, has gone radio silent since the controversy intensified. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Moviegoers from all walks of life have been stopped dead in their tracks by Sony’s decision to drop the sociopolitical football that is  “The Interview” from its schedule, due to mounting pressures from external forces.

Just days after the film’s co-stars Seth Rogen and James Franco bowed out of making any more public appearances for the film, the besieged studio packed it in as well, shelving a satirical romp that has purportedly deeply offended supporters of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The stunning case of self-censorship unleashed a cacophony of analyses from instapundits.

Full story

Homebrewers Urge Obama to Keep At It

The American Homebrewers Association is hoping to slide a little something under the White House Christmas tree this year: lifetime memberships for President Barack Obama and outgoing-toque Sam Kass.

AHA Director Gary Glass has extended the offer to keep the beer-making duo — Obama is credited with purchasing the first homebrew kit used at the White House; Kass and the rest of the White House cooking crew helped hone the resulting recipes — as part of the fold into perpetuity.

Full story

December 9, 2014

Turks to Woo Congress with Spiced Meats, Caffeine

A cadre of Turkish-American organizations are returning to Capitol Hill Thursday to campaign for their independence-seeking, European-bound brethren — and the group is bringing a host of regional delicacies to help sweeten the deal.

Turkish Cypriot Day on the Hill is scheduled to swoop into the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Assembly of Turkish American Associations is spearheading the annual reception. Full story

December 3, 2014

Cooking Stars Hold Pols’ Feet to the Fire About Africa

Culinary heavies all charged up about energy poverty fanned out across the Capitol Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to illuminate lawmakers about the importance of empowering Africa.

Cooking Stars Hold Pols’ Feet to the Fire About Africa

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The lobbying blitz was coordinated by ONE, a nonprofit that works to bring change in the global health and social justice arenas. The current campaign is focused on carrying the stalled Electrify Africa Act of 2014 across the legislative finish line before lawmakers put a bow on the swirling cromnibus package and wrap up their official business for the year. Full story

November 26, 2014

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

The political watchdogs over at Represent.us are pitting the greatest misses from this year’s avalanche of hyper-panicky, completely tone deaf, patently absurd fundraising pleas in a last ditch effort to duly recognize the all-stars of public relations suckdom.

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

(Screenshot)

The “ALL CAPS for CA$H” competition is designed to identify the “worst political fundraising emails of 2014” — a truly ambitious goal, given that the HOH inbox was bombarded with sappy requests from shameless partisans roughly every 0.23472 seconds during the run-up to Election Day.

“It doesn’t matter which party you support. Take one look at your inbox, and it’s clear that our elections have become all about the money,” Represent.us Director Josh Silver said in a release. “We’re launching ALL CAPS FOR CA$H to highlight the outsized role money plays in seeking public office, and the absurd lengths politicians are willing to go in order to raise it.”

The pro-democracy group has dumped the most misguided missives into a half-dozen categories, including: The Howler Award (UPPERCASE madness), The Richard Head Memorial Trophy (pomposity), The Chicken Little Cup (apocalypses for everyone!), The Buzzworthable-Est Award (crazy shiite), The ’Murican Patriot Award (long live the comments feed!) and The “I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed” Award (waaaah!).

Throw the hysterical hucksters one final bone — sorry about the whole losing-ground-in-the-House thing, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But you may clean up here! — by voting for the worst of the worst from now until Sunday.

Related:

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 13, 2014

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

November 12, 2014

STEM Researchers to Dazzle Teens, Lawmakers With Science

A handful of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellows are making the most of a whirlwind trip to D.C., huddling this week with administration officials and education-minded solons all in the service of stoking the analytical minds of tomorrow.

The quintet of Ph.D holders — Katie Brenner, biochemistry; Livia S. Eberlin, chemistry; Jennifer Laaser, polymer physics; Lauren O’Connell, chemical ecology; Sabrina Stierwalt, astronomy and astrophysics — have been brought to town by L’Oreal USA as part of its “For Women in Science” program.

In addition to pocketing $60,000 in research grants, the multi-talented fellows are getting VIP treatment up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The group was expected to touch base Wednesday with representatives from the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of Science and Technology Policy before bouncing over to the National Museum of Natural History for a behind-the-scenes tour of the gems and minerals collection.

They plan to make the rounds on Capitol Hill early Thursday (tentatively set to visit with Congressional STEM Education Caucus members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.) before broadening the horizons of two dozen local teens during a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The last stop of the public relation roller coaster is the For Women in Science Awards Ceremony set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Women in the Arts museum.

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November 3, 2014

Integrating Church and State

Integrating Church and State

(Screenshot)

Worried your candidate won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell on Election Day?

The conservative leaders at Champion the Vote suggest you drop to your knees and do what comes naturally.

Why Vote? from Champion The Vote on Vimeo.

The politically-minded nonprofit aims to leverage the collective power of Christian voters (anywhere from 60 million to 90 million, depending on whether you believe their website or the promotional video) at the ballot box.

“Our nation was founded on Biblical principles, but God has been expunged from our culture, and as a consequence, our nation is in an ethical and moral mess,” the group warns online.

What about races where it comes down to choosing between lesser evils?

“’No’ in authority is perfect,” the calm, collected narrator of the “Why Vote?” spot notes. “Pray about it, and vote the better choice.”

So long, holding your nose. Hello, hailing a direct line to the Almighty.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 27, 2014

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

There’s just a week and a day to go until Election Day, which means we may be able to save our inbox from fundraising spam hell in just a few short days.

Although HOH tries desperately to pay politics no mind, activists from across the ideological spectrum continuously flood our email (just like yours) with panic-ridden pleas for just enough cash to save a candidate from professional doom if we just ACT NOW!

This year’s midterm elections are shaping up to be a down-to-the-wire contest, with control of the Senate very much in play. A potential downgrade to minority status has a handful of Senate Democrats on high alert, perhaps none more so than Mark Pryor. Full story

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