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July 28, 2014

Posts in "HillSide"

July 25, 2014

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

Unlike Florida Republican John L. Mica’s grandiose plan to clean house on the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Angus King had a much more modest desire: brighten up a little corner of Dirksen.

Mission accomplished.

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I walk that corridor two or three times a day … and often wondered to myself, ‘Why is this blank?’” the Maine Independent said of the once-barren hallway leading up from the internal subway to the Senate office building.

Now inspired, King set out to seek a resolution to the featureless landscape members, staff and visitors were faced with each time they trekked over for a visit. Full story

July 24, 2014

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

“The party was such a big hit the cops were called because we had too many people,” an aide to Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, told HOH about the overwhelming response to the Aloha State’s July 23 taste-around.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The inaugural event was packed during our visit, with waves of people — all wearing complimentary purple-flowered leis (700 were distributed throughout the evening) — flowing in and out of the Kennedy Caucus Room to see/hear/taste/learn all about the island state.

“Aloha!” Hirono greeted each guest as they poured through the front door. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, extended his welcome to the rapidly swelling crowd from up on stage later in the program.

As for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, well, it turns out she’s a hugger.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We thought (for a second) that we’d spotted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, mingling with native Hawaiians and curious staffers alike, but when we turned to look again the smiling face had disappeared into the crowd, leaving us feeling dejected about having failed to connect with her about the best part of the visually stimulating set-up. Our eyes must’ve been playing tricks, because the congresswoman was actually in Hawaii.

Party planners said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., was quite taken with the samples of fresh papaya, while Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was purportedly buzzing about Big Island Bees’ Ohia Lehua Blossom honey.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy opted for a meatier experience, waiting in line, like everyone else, for a taste of kalua pork. Full story

July 22, 2014

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

If Rep. John L. Mica had his way, a lot of people who currently inhabit some of the most cherry spots on the House side of the Capitol would be looking for new places to hang their hats come November.

“It’s something that we need to look at in the next Congress, … opening up more of these historic spaces,” the Florida Republican told HOH about his quest to carve out additional meeting rooms and reception areas for entertainment-minded lawmakers.

Per Mica, the current crop of reservation-required options is woefully limited to the Speaker’s Dining Room (H-122) and the Henry J. Hyde Room (H-139).

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

By comparison, Mica noted that senators have access to the cavernous Lyndon Baines Johnson (S-211) and Mike Mansfield (S-207) rooms. “We don’t have those equivalents. And we should,” he argued. Full story

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

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

Love her or despise her, Capitol Hill denizens were utterly captivated by having a nearly naked Courtney Stodden preach the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle to them while shoving fake wieners in everyone’s mouths.

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The platinum-tressed teen blew into town to draw eyeballs to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ curbside veggie dog giveaway. The staff luncheon/exercise in political theater is meant to serve as a counterpunch to the meat lobby’s annual hot dog blowout.

According to PETA spokeswoman Moira Colley, the group rallied supporters to the cause by distributing around 600 not dogs — “They’re all soy protein and spices,” one cheerful volunteer said of the meatless analogues — to famished passersby. Full story

Wicker, Feinstein Seek to Revive ‘Seersucker Thursday’

Wicker, Feinstein Seek to Revive Seersucker Thursday

Senators gathered in the Senate reception room for a “Seersucker Thursday” back in 2011. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the Senate’s great summer traditions will make a comeback shortly before August recess.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein are inviting fellow senators to observe “Seersucker Thursday” at the end of July.

Full story

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

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

The savviest minds at the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University’s School of Law know that it’s easier to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar — or Hill Country BBQ, as the case may be.

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Karen Czarnecki, director of education at Mason’s Law & Economics Center, said the decision to seed the semi-regular policy luncheons with imported Texas-style barbecue predates her tenure with the school. But she can vouch for its efficacy.

“It has been very popular and is served at every briefing,” she said of the crowd-pleasing spread. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 2:56 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

July 15, 2014

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

A scantily clad Courtney Stodden will feed alterna-weenies to Hill staffers Wednesday, performing her civic duty on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by serving as the celebrity eye candy for the group’s congressional veggie dog giveaway.

The model/singer/teen divorcee is expected to begin dispensing the meat-free munchies — wearing “nothing but strategically placed lettuce leaves,” per PETA’s media alert — alongside the Independence Avenue-facing entrance to Rayburn promptly at noon.

“Veggie dogs are delicious and kinder to animals, the environment, and our health than artery-clogging, meaty hot dogs are. The choice is easy to make!” Stodden asserted in a release.

PETA has for years paraded around pro-vegetarian ladies — including 2008 Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole and pin-up queen Vida Guerra — in an attempt to lure the epicurious away from the American Meat Institute’s widely attended annual hot dog lunch (typically held inside Rayburn on the same day).

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After poking around her YouTube archive, it would appear that Stodden’s anti-carnivorous advocacy dates back to at least 2012.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Flashback: Members Face Danger From the Sun

Flashback: Members Face Danger From the Sun

In this 1989 photo, aides to Rep. John William “Jack” Buechner, R-Mo., are seen outside (Andrea Mohin/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the House Energy and Commerce Committee takes up legislation that would streamline the approval of new and modern ingredients for sunscreens, we discovered a column from the pages of Roll Call 25 years ago this week.

Back then, this newspaper featured a recurring column called “Capital Health.”

The column a quarter century ago warned of the dangers of unprotected exposure to the sun by members of Congress, featuring a great quote from Dr. Stephen Katz of the National Institutes of Health. As Lucretia Marmon wrote:

Premature aging of the skin and skin cancer are caused by prolonged and intermittent overexposure to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

And Members of Congress should take care. They might actually be more vulnerable than Americans in general.

Dr. Stephen Katz, chief of dermatology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), says Members are prime candidates for photodamaged skin and skin cancer. Says Katz, ”Congressmen are mostly white. They are more affluent and they vacation more. They are concerned about their looks and likely to prefer a tan. And they probably get their tans during short exposures to the sun.”

Along with this warning comes the good news that smile lines and “aging spots” don’t necessarily come hand-in hand with getting older. And skin cancer can be prevented. Professionals are urging Members to get smart and cover-up.

As for the new legislation, Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., said in a statement that the bill “will allow Americans access to the best products on the market and also spur innovation in an area of significant public health importance.”

“With skin cancer being by far the most common form of this terrible disease, it’s important that consumers have access to the latest breakthroughs in sunscreen technology,” Whitfield said.

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

Displaced Wyomingites are invited to reconnect with the wonders of the Cowboy State July 19 at the Committee of Wyoming People in the East’s upcoming shin-dig, an annual tradition marked by barbecue, mechanical bull riding and country music.

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 37 annual C.O.W.P.I.E., which is scheduled to stampede into Eastern Market’s North Hall, kicks off with a members-only cookout (organizers bring in burgers and sides for their core constituency) before throwing open the doors to the general public at 8 p.m. Tickets are available in advance (through July 17) for $35, whereas those who wait until the day of must either shell out $25 for general admission (no alcohol) or $50 to booze it up.

“Only snacks are available after 8 p.m., but the beer and Jack [Daniels] will be flowing all night,” an event coordinator told HOH of what folks should expect to find at the Western-themed soiree.

Attendees are encouraged to break out their snazziest frontier wear, be it highly polished calfskin boots, wide-brimmed chapeaus or bright shiny belt buckles.

Desperate to wear your chaps out in public to an actually appropriate situation?

Allow the motorized bucking beast to make all your wildest dreams come true.

“We give out a Cheyenne Frontier Days belt buckle to the winner of our competition each year, and that always leads to some pretty impressive talent,” one organizer shared.

July 11, 2014

Restaurant Associates Hops on Street Food Bandwagon

The company tasked with handling Capitol Hill’s catering needs is giving pop-up dining a go, rolling out a food truck-inspired program expected to take over the Dirksen Café from July 14 to July 18.

Restaurant Associates Hops on Street Food Bandwagon

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The “food truck station” will not feature food provided by an actual mobile vendor, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol told HOH, but will mimic the myriad offerings served curbside all over town.

“To be clear, there will not be a DC/local food truck in the Dirksen Café!” the congressional aide stressed after a since-deleted tweet announcing the culinary shake-up piqued our interest.

“The menu will change daily, and the cuisine will be similar to what you would find at a food truck,” Team AOC asserted. Full story

Congress-edits Is Just the Latest to Keep Tabs on Pols’ Cyber Stumbles

Another day, another resource to expose the often clueless political operatives who foolishly tool around the Internet believing their subversive activities — be they illicit, shady or just plain dumb — will never come back to bite them in the arse.

It’s getting so that overzealous Hill staffers and campaign spin doctors can’t rewrite history without someone calling them out for flooding the online ether with lies, damned lies and, well, you know the rest.

Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, the Republican pick to challenge Minnesota Democrat Al Franken this fall, received a crash course in transparency after aides got caught tinkering with unflattering responses to a divisive TV spot. Full story

July 7, 2014

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

 

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

Krepp is not shying away from his eyebrow powers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tim Krepp, an independent hoping to challenge Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., is embracing his facial hair — the type above his eyes.

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

Pate and son Jonah collect signatures for Krepp’s candidacy, with eyebrow-centric campaign wardrobe. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

At Eastern Market over the weekend, Krepp supporters gathering signatures for the Hill East denizen/veteran tour guide sported T-shirts emblazoned with “Tim Krepp Congress 2014.” A dialogue balloon above “Tim” features one of Krepp’s defining features, his caterpillar-like eyebrows. Another dialogue balloon under “2014″ states, “Seriously? Seriously!”

“We’ll see how far wit can take us,” signature-gatherer Brian Pate said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Pate’s name.

June 24, 2014

Friends to the End — Can Congressional Leaders Overcome?

Never mind what that bitter old grump President Harry Truman said about folks in Washington having to turn to pets for genuine affection.

A chain of obviously uncomfortable congressional leaders Tuesday proved once again that friendship is the only ship you just can’t sink.

The question is: who embodies the spirit of camaraderie better?

House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., gently swaying together during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony?

Or Girl Scout Troop 16108 from Eden Prairie, Minn.?

We choose to believe they’re all besties.

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