Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Posts in "HillSide"

October 20, 2014

Armchair-Quarterbacking Jim Inhofe’s Power Play

With control of the Senate up for grabs this fall and little else to do while their bosses furiously campaign to keep collecting paychecks, congressional staffers have taken to their own type of fantasy role-playing: plotting out the new boss’s next move.

A bemused political observer noted, for instance, that Democratic support staff have begun speculating as to how Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., might shake up the establishment should the GOP reclaim the majority come November.

Armchair Quarterbacking Jim Inhofe’s Power Play

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Should the current power structure flip-flop, sitting Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., would be obliged to hand over the gavel to Inhofe.

“There’s a sort of game going on among the Hill staff to decide how he would rename the [Environmental Protection Agency]  building, given the chance: The George W Bush EPA building, The Koch Brothers EPA building, etc.,” our source relayed via email.

Either scenario would, naturally, enrage longstanding environmental stewards. Full story

October 14, 2014

Test Class Already Hooked on Line-Skirting Dining Service

The super-secret Usher app has been helping a tight-lipped clique of well-connected bon vivants sidestep the restaurant reservation process for several weeks now. Rumor has it that some of the early adopters may not be able to go back to living without it.

The homegrown hospitality aid launched in “stealth mode” — a closely guarded roll-out extended to “influential” people in D.C., including an undisclosed number of Capitol Hill denizens — in early September.

Test Class Already Hooked on Line Skirting Dining Service

(Screenshot)

“My boss says it’s like the Uber of restaurants,” our tipster shared. “He says that he was initially skeptical, but hasn’t used OpenTable or Yelp since.”

Per the tipster, Usher somehow enables users to “get access to exclusive clubs/restaurants without a reservation.”

Team Usher declined to comment on how many people have enrolled in the stealth cohort or which local restaurants have embraced the line-cutting program. But the clandestine company sounds like it’s almost ready to come out of its shell.

“Service is throughout D.C. with the intention to expand soon after public launch,” an Usher aide shared via email. Full story

DC Vote to Celebrate Pro-Democracy Efforts at Annual Gala

The autonomy-seeking advocates at DC Vote — a District-minded group backed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton — plan to honor the Herb Block Foundation Wednesday for continuing to nurture the spirit of democracy.

DC Vote to Celebrate Pro Democracy Efforts at Annual Gala

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to organizers, the 2014 Champions of Democracy Awards Gala is scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets to the fundraiser — which is also expected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D.C. Home Rule — are $175 per person.

“Americans living in our nation’s capital raise families, pay full federal taxes and fight and die in wars but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate,” is how DC Vote summarizes its mission to defeat the disenfranchisement faced by local residents.

Norton is scheduled to serve as honorary chairwoman of the annual fete, an event that has historically attracted fellow pols such as Rep. José E. Serrano, the New York Democrat who made an appearance at the group’s 2013 get-together. Full story

October 10, 2014

GOP Prepares to Invade NoVa

The GOP wants a piece of the Old Dominion. Which is why Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie rallied the troops Oct. 9 for an impending “deployment.”

According to a tipster, over 100 volunteers showed up for the “March to Victory” recruiting event held at the Capitol Hill Club.

GOP Prepares to Invade NoVa

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Those in attendance were asked to bolster pre-election efforts by pledging to fan out across the state each Saturday — from dawn till dusk, no less (though meals are provided) — beginning Oct. 18.

The planned grassroots assault is designed to infuse the historically purple commonwealth with a bit more red.

Former congressional aide and state Del. Barbara Comstock is hoping to replace her former boss, retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.,  in the House (a possible succession the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee might be coming to terms with) while ex-RNC Chairman Gillespie continues duking it out with centrist leader Sen. Mark Warner.

May the best ground-gamers win.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 2, 2014

D.C. Watering Holes Embrace MLB Pennant Race

We’re still weeks away from knowing if #ThisTown could serve as the backdrop for a fabled “Beltway Series.”

D.C. Watering Holes Embrace MLB Pennant Race

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

But now that the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have earned their way into postseason play, local bars are gearing up for a very exciting weekend.

Thursday

Game 1 of the best-of-five series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers: 5:30 p.m.

The Pug (1234 H St. NE)

The Atlas District mainstay has been doling out ballpark favorites such as peanuts, Cracker Jack and free hot dogs (!) for at least a week now.

 

 

Per Twitter, that generosity seems likely to continue while D.C. and Charm City remain on the hunt.

Reliable Source (National Press Club)

Fellow hacks can unabashedly root, root, root for Peter Angelos’ team within the comfort of the Truman Lounge. Flying Dog Lagers and D.C. Brau Pale Ales for $5 should ease the sting of not being in Camden Yards.

Now if only the NPC had an in with Boog’s BBQ … Full story

September 30, 2014

‘Top Dog’ Trends Emerge

The mirth-makers at Fireside21 have once again thrust political pooches into the spotlight, rounding up some 30-odd photogenic pups for the 2014 “Top Dog” competition.

 

Top Dog Trends Emerge

(Screenshot)

 

Winston, the English lab belonging to Jon Corley, then-press assistant to Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, bested some six dozen pets with ties to Capitol Hill during last year’s inaugural roundup.

Other fan favorites included:

  • Most Competitive = Milton; House Press Gallery.  Breed: chow chow.
  • Best Hair = Lucy; Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.  Breed: mini goldendoodle.
  • Most Likely to Succeed = Conan; Congressional Research Service.  Breed: hound/beagle.
  • Best Smile = Balto; Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.  Breed: German shepherd.
  • Most Athletic = Banjo; Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass.  Breed: border collie mix.
  • Biggest Flirt = Harley; Agriculture Committee.  Breed: worthless.
  • Most Regal = Lucy; Abled Americans.  Breed: dachshund.
  • Biggest Party Animal = Tanner; Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill. Breed: Yorkipoo.
  • Best Advisor = Pepper; Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif.  Breed: Norwegian elk hound mix.

Although this year’s crop of dog-testants has only begun winning over the hearts and minds of the Internet-enabled public (the winner won’t be crowned until Oct. 15), certain prejudices appear to be steering early balloting.

People seem to prefer sparingly-used props — as in the case of the stress toy-chomping shih poo belonging to Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore.

 

Top Dog Trends Emerge

(Screenshot)

 

That seems to be besting overly-produced moments, a la the flag-draped westie put on parade by California Republican Ed Royce. Full story

September 19, 2014

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.

The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.

Full story

September 18, 2014

Rank and File Blast Opposing Leaders for Dropping the Legislative Ball

Having effectively set the country on cruise control until just beyond Election Day, House and Senate leaders did their damnedest Thursday to look really, really busy without actually doing anything that could get them into political trouble.

Foot soldiers from both sides of the aisle, undoubtedly tired of the inactivity that’s plagued Congress in recent years, used social media to fire back at partisan big-wigs for making the whole legislative body look bad.

 

 

 

Full story

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

(Courtesy Peter Roskam)

Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Artsy, DC, HillSide, Reps, VIPs

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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September 17, 2014

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.

After Speaker John A. Boehner opened the House, Bachmann was due to step in the chair. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Republican, the dress code governing the House chamber was written before the time when Michelle Obama was first lady. Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.

According to a source who saw the hubbub, floor staffers huddled for a moment before approaching Bachmann and telling her she could not preside until she covered up.

“I was just told that I needed to have a jacket and it was no problem,” Bachmann told HOH on Wednesday afternoon. “I called the staff and said ‘grab one’ — I keep an extra one in my office — and they ran it over lickety-split.”

Bachmann said she agreed with the dress code, which is stricter for members when they are presiding over the House chamber than it is for when they’re on the floor. “And it isn’t different for women than it is for men, which I absolutely agree with,” she said.

While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.

When her staff did arrive, they brought two options: a dark blazer and a white one. Bachmann, who was wearing a black dress, tried on both, opting for the black jacket in the end.

“I just thought this would look more professional,” she said.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 12, 2014

Menendez Unexpectedly Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Akaka

Menendez Unexpectedly Sings Happy Birthday to Akaka

Akaka, seen her getting a kiss from Rep. Loretta Sanchez, is feeling the love. The former senator celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Daniel K. Akaka got an unexpected birthday song on Thursday.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., had been trying to reach the Hawaii Democrat to wish him a happy 90th birthday. When Akaka returned the call, he was riding the Dirksen subway toward the Capitol along with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

Full story

September 9, 2014

Pols Roll Out the Red Carpet for Tinseltown Workhorses

Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairmen Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., are doing their part to help give unsung Hollywood film and TV workers their due by co-hosting an entertainment industry event showcasing the pivotal contributions the below-the-line set brings to the table.

The wide-ranging “Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie & TV Magic Day” exhibition is scheduled to take possession of the Cannon Caucus Room on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event promoters told HOH members and staff are welcome to explore the interactive showcase.

Pols Roll Out the Red Carpet for Tinseltown Workhorses

(Courtesy Creative Rights Caucus)

“The shows and movies we’re all talking about, … these are the real people behind them,” a House aide said of the assembled talent expected to be on hand.

Support staff projected to get their moment in the spotlight include a make-up artist from the SyFy series “Face Off,” a costume designer from AMC’s spy-driven, Revolutionary War serial “Turn,” animators involved in Disney’s Oscar-winning, grrl power-fueled feature, “Frozen,” as well as a veteran film colorist.

Those more interested in snapping selfies than talking shop with technicians will have to make do with stalking “Breaking Bad” alumnus RJ Mitte (“Walter White Jr./Flynn”), longtime “Dallas” stars Patrick Duffy (“Bobby Ewing”) and Linda Gray (“Sue Ellen Ewing”), children’s programming star and deep sea-dweller SpongeBob SquarePants or “Cleatus,” Fox NFL Sunday’s sports robot.

 

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September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

Grace Napolitano, Josh Thomas Team Up on Mental Health

Call us crazy, but the “Please Like Me” screening and subsequent discussion on the current state of mental health affairs co-hosted by actor/show creator Josh Thomas and Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on Tuesday sounds like it could actually be interesting.

The edutainment outreach, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in Rayburn 2103, is coming to Congress courtesy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Participant Media.

For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ droll coming-of-age saga, the fledgling show (airing Friday nights on the youth-oriented Pivot network) centers on a 20-something child of divorce suddenly forced to wrestle with his sexual identity. Part of the growth process involves dealing with oddball friends and family members — including his off-kilter mum.

The “Rose” character has some issues she’s dealing with — cast bios describe Rose as a bipolar empty-nester struggling with adjusting to her new “normal” (“She seems to have found a nice equilibrium, but for how long?”) — many of which the show naturally plays up for laughs.

According to Team Napolitano, the California Democrat appreciates the way Josh and Rose get on. “The relationship between the lead character, Josh, and his mother is helping to eliminate stigma by approaching the subject of mental illness in a thoughtful manner,” a Napolitano aide told HOH about the heart-felt moments shared by the quirk-filled duo. Full story

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