Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

Posts in "HillSide"

March 28, 2014

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

Rep. Steve Pearce has parted ways with barely settled-in mouthpiece Rebekah Stevens following days of unfavorable press stemming from the 24-year-old GOP operative’s in-your-face blogging career.

“I am proud to hire passionate, hardworking, and dedicated congressional staff out of New Mexico. When I hired Miss Stevens, I hoped she could transition from activist to become an asset to the people of New Mexico,” the New Mexico Republican relayed in a statement. “It is now clear that major obstacles will prevent this. I asked for and accepted her resignation this morning. I hold myself and my staff to the highest level of accountability, and any distractions that hinder my service to New Mexicans must always be addressed.”

Stevens’ incredibly short-lived gig here on Capitol Hill — Pearce Communications Director Eric Layer announced her arrival not 72 hours ago — appears to have come unraveled because of impolitic statements made and professional fights picked under the pseudonym “Politix Fireball.”

Both the blog and Twitter accounts associated with that particular user suddenly went silent the week of March 17.

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

(Screenshot)

Stevens joined Pearce’s Capitol Hill office March 25.

March 24, 2014

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obama’s Ear

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have recruited a number of professional athletes to discuss the benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle at an April 1 luncheon.

But the diet-conscious crusaders really want first lady and “Let’s Move!” founder Michelle Obama to throw her weight behind their mission.

“As you know, obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. The good news is that if every American adds two servings of fruits and vegetables to his or her diet, his or her risk for all-cause mortality will automatically decrease by 10 percent. If we move toward an entirely plant-based diet, we can cut the risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in America—in half,” PCRM Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard alerted FLOTUS in a March 24 letter inviting her to the “Teaming Up 4 Health” preview party scheduled to take place April 1 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in room 201 on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Barnard also invited Education Secretary Arne Duncan and acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak to the healthy eating event.

The luncheon, which will feature complimentary garden vegetable wraps supplied by Whole Foods, gourmet salads (carrot and beet, spring mix medley) and vegan baked goods from Banana Love Mufffins, is open to everyone, though organizers are hoping to cap attendance at 150.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to: jberger@pcrm.org.

As part of the program, Barnard will lead a discussion with U.S. Olympic swimmer Kate Ziegler, triathlete and ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier, taekwondo world champion Daba Modibo Keita and CBS radio host Chuck Carroll.

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obamas Ear

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The group will also preview the “Teaming up 4 Health” campaign scheduled to go live April 8 — a multimedia effort set to include video testimonials, collectible trading cards and quickie recipes. Full story

DC-3 Shuttles Hot Dogs to the Hill

Gourmet wiener joint DC-3 is hoping to take a bigger bite of the congressional dining pie by rolling out delivery of its signature tube steaks to Capitol Hill.

The new service promises to connect hungry mouths in the halls of Congress with the nearly dozen well-dressed links heaped together on Barracks Row (423 Eighth St. SE) seven days a week. A minimum order of $15 is required — which works out to three stand-alone dogs, two combo meals (dog, chips, fountain drink) or four orders of deep-fried Oreos with a cotton candy chaser — and delivery is limited to a 1 mile radius of the restaurant.

DC 3 Shuttles Hot Dogs to the Hill

(Courtesy Matchbox Food Group)

Apart from the locally inspired half-smoke (which features the hybrid link, sweet relish, yellow mustard and raw onion), the restaurant tips its hat to regional delicacies including: the Philly Cheesesteak, fully sport peppered and dill pickled Chicago-style offerings, dueling chili-covered Coneys (NYC and Cincinnati) and the cole slaw slathered West Virginia dog.

Bon appetit!

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:40 a.m.
Food, HillSide, Restos

March 20, 2014

CBO Sets Wheels in Motion for Annual D.C. Soap Box Derby

The Congressional Budget Office says hosting the 73rd annual Greater Washington Soap Box Derby on the Capitol grounds won’t cost the federal government any significant money, clearing the way for the June 14 competition.

Enterprising young builders will careen down Constitution Avenue in home-assembled vehicles this summer, pending a green light from the House and Senate.

Unlike other derbies around the nation, the D.C. event requires an act of Congress to authorize the Architect of the Capitol, the Capitol Police Board and the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby Association to negotiate the necessary requirements to hold the race at the Capitol. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:09 a.m.
HillSide

March 14, 2014

Robert Menendez Shrugs Off Injury to Champion Ukraine Plan

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez didn’t let something as trivial as being struck by a taxi late Thursday derail his defense of a Ukrainian aid package that faced its own obstacles.

Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright told HOH the New Jersey Democrat got hit just outside Union Station while racing to catch a 6 p.m. train home.

“Legs buckled and he fell,” she said of the jarring incident. “He got up and ‘ran’ to the train but it had left.”

Rather than lick his wounds, Enright said Menendez called staff to swing back by to get him so he could rejoin the fray on the Senate floor.

Having said his piece for the second time, Menendez once again departed the Capitol, finally making it — safely — onto the northbound Amtrak train scheduled to roll out at 7 p.m.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:47 p.m.
Drama, HillSide, Sens

Foster, Holt Fete Pi Day With Pastries

Resident Capitol Hill physicists Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., are doing their small part Friday (3/14) to commemorate the infinitesimal mathematical construct known as pi — by dishing out homemade baked goods.

Foster, Holt Fete Pi Day With Pastries

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Pi Day,” the annual celebration of the non-repeating, never-ending figure revered by “mathletes” the world over, has become a cultural happening involving food, fashion and pop culture references.

Holt and Foster are feeding into the phenomenon by offering guests the chance to fill their belles while expanding their minds.

“We’ll have a variety of homemade pies … [and] a competition to see who can recite the most digits of pi,” a Foster aide said of the scientific shindig scheduled to take place at noon in Longworth 1224.

All are welcome. (But you may wanna download a scientific calculator app on your phone on your way over.)

March 13, 2014

Cruz, Booker Already Fussing Over Future Dinner Dates

Well, that didn’t take long.

 

 

Mere hours after they were photographed grabbing a bite together at Bistro Bis, New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker and Texas Republican Ted Cruz have reached an impasse as to where to book their next table.

Cruz , it seems, would prefer to stay away from prying eyes

 

 

Booker is done with chewing up the scenery. He’d rather focus on what’s on his plate

 

 

A congressional aide told HOH the political odd couple touches base on the Senate floor from time to time; staff reportedly arranged the March 12 sit-down.

No word on when — or where — any future rendezvous might take place.

David Jolly Fits ‘Right’ In

Newly minted Rep. David Jolly is already making waves here on Capitol Hill, bucking House GOP leadership the first chance he got.

David Jolly Fits ‘Right’ In

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

During his mock swearing-in Thursday for photographers and the press, the special-election-winning Florida Republican raised the wrong appendage, attempting to look like he was taking the oath of office southpaw rather than with the obligatory right hand.

Welcome aboard, sir! (HOH LOVES rule breakers.)

March 12, 2014

D.C. Pranksters Play on Darkened Capitol Dome

A brief outage of some of the exterior lights on the Capitol Dome, likely caused by tornado-like winds, jump-charged some local pranksters.

The parody “Uncle Earl” account — established in the wake of a political corruption scandal involving many of the District’s top elected officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray — jumped into the midst of the 30-minute spell of darkness claiming he’d cut the lights as part of yet another pay-to-play scheme.

D.C. Pranksters Play on Darkened Capitol Dome

D.C. statehood activist Josh Burch, who blogs for the51st.org, also made a joke out of the blackened Dome. Burch invited D.C. residents to “seize equal representation under the cover of darkness!”

D.C. Pranksters Play on Darkened Capitol Dome

In reality, no one is quite sure what caused the lights to go down from about 8:15 p.m to 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Matt Guilfoyle, a spokesman for the Architect of the Capitol, told CQ Roll Call that the AOC was aware of the power outage and working to address the problem.

The Capitol Police continued patrolling inside and outside the Dome, checking for power outages and damage to report to the AOC, according to Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for the department.

HOH tipsters working inside and burning the midnight (or late evening) oil reported that lights were flickering in the press galleries but never actually went out.

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

For four years, one title has eluded Michele Bachmann, and it’s not “president.”

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Meredith Shiner/CQ Roll Call)

The Minnesota congresswoman and one-time Republican presidential hopeful just wanted to win Sen. Al Franken’s annual hotdish off Wednesday before leaving Congress.

Grandma Phoebe’s Sunday Supper:

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Unfortunately, just as Mitt Romney kept her from the top of the national ticket, two-time hotdish champion Tim Walz, D-Minn., vanquished Bachmann from the win she so desperately coveted.

Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish:

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

To the victor, goes the Pyrex with a special plaque. Full story

Special Olympics Rates Tom Harkin Pure Gold

The Special Olympics is expected to wrap its annual lobbying push Wednesday with a Hillside reception honoring Americans with Disabilities Act author Sen. Tom Harkin.

During the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place in Dirksen 106 from 6 to 6:30 p.m., the Iowa Democrat will become the first lawmaker to receive the “Spirit of Special Olympics Award.”

According to a Special Olympics aide, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, Special Olympics Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver and Special Olympics athlete Corey Leonhard (from Iowa, ‘natch) are all slated to pay tribute to Harkin’s dogged leadership on disability issues.

Previous honorees include:

  • Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • The late Nelson Mandela
  • Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci
  • Four-time Super Bowl champion Rocky Bleier
  • Two-time World Series champion Ron Guidry
  • Award-winning musician Herb Alpert
  • Music mogul Jimmy Iovine
  • Author and ex-Playboy Playmate Vicki Iovine
  • Philanthropist Paul Marshall

Special Olympics personnel will also be visiting member offices to drum up support for funding initiatives designed to assist current and future participants.

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

Professional mouthpieces from both sides of the aisle are priming the pumps for recess via a “Bi-Party-San Communications Mixer.”

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

(Courtesy DCNet)

The media-related happy hour is scheduled to take place Thursday at Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE) from 6 to 8 p.m. (That won’t crimp your style, will it, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas?)

The event, which is being sponsored by iConstituent and Broadnet, is designed to welcome new and returning members of the Democratic Communicators Network and Republican Communications Association.

According to DCNet board chair Hannah Kim, first-timers joining the respective advisory panels include:

  • Kezmiché “Kim” Atterbury, communications director for Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
  • Brett Morrow, communications director for Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.
  • Alex Nguyen, communications director for Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.
  • Rob Runyan, press secretary for Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.
  • Michael Marinaccio, digital coordinator for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Ben Miller, communications director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
  • Michael Rekola, deputy press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
  • Trevor Foughty, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind.

Those who swing by to congratulate the ascending messengers will be privy to two free drink tickets apiece and complimentary Tex-Mex-style appetizers.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently listed the positions panelists hold within their respective networking groups instead of their posts on Capitol Hill.

March 11, 2014

Restaurant Associates Recruits Raw Foodie for Lunch Demo

Postmodern Foods Founder and CEO Denise Hicks will prepare eco-friendly dishes and drinks in the Longworth cafeteria Wednesday as part of a special arrangement worked out with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

 

 

The green living demo is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to Restaurant Associates spokeswoman Gina Zimmer, Hicks is expected to share tastes of her Raw Greens Juice, forged from celery, cucumber, apples, kale, spinach, parsley and lemon (among other things),  Cinnamon’y Cashew Milk and Massaged Kale Salad, featuring the titular greens, onion, assorted seeds (pumpkin, fennel), apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

“The guest chef thing was something we and Restaurant Associates agreed would be a good way to offer different food options,” CVSA staffer Adam Sarvana said of the pro-plant-based eating pop-up. “They deserve all the credit for choosing Denise to do it.”

Hicks is expected back on the Hill on March 28; that’s when she’ll join Miss DC 2013 Bindhu Pamarthi as co-headliner at the next CVSA event.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:01 a.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

March 10, 2014

Aaron Schock’s New Spox Is Ready to Rock

Benjamin Cole, a former pitchman for energy policy advocacy groups, has landed on Capitol Hill and is already burning up the communication circuits.

The newly minted spokesman for Illinois Republican Aaron Schock spent the past several years serving as the communications director for the American Energy Alliance, which is the mouthpiece for the think tank-y Institute for Energy Research.

Trouble is, Cole used the emails he had harvested at AEA to help introduce himself around Congress — which means his missive turned up in the inboxes of many unsuspecting (and thoroughly uninterested) Democratic press shops.

Aaron Schock’s New Spox Is Ready to Rock

(Screenshot)

Along with sharing his title and contact info, Cole assured everyone the he had “hit the ground running,” quickly working in a plug for the Schock sponsored, anti-Affordable Care Act bill poised for a floor vote this week. “I did not send to every Cap Hill Office. Only to a pre-existing contacts list that I have maintained, somewhat effectively, through the years,” Cole told HOH of the note he fired off.

Our tipster dubbed the self-congratulatory blast “embarrassing.”

“This guy was a flack for the dubiously named Institute for Energy Research … who used to blast all of our email boxes with similarly breathless triumphs,” the House staffer suggested.

Although initially annoyed, the Democratic operative quickly reconsidered and left the door open to getting fed more intel from uber-chatty counterparts on the other side of the aisle. “If House Rs want to add House Ds onto their staff listserves, it might help everyone make better sense of their rudderless leadership here,” our source quipped.

March 7, 2014

Police Conclude Investigation Into Capitol Car Crash (Updated)

Police Conclude Investigation Into Capitol Car Crash (Updated)

(Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police have cleared the scene of a fatal single-car crash that propelled a silver SUV into a tree south of the Capitol early Friday morning.

No details have been released on what may have caused the high-speed collision as the driver headed northbound on South Capitol Street. The car hit a large, decorative flower pot — ironically designed to deter crashes and traffic — with such force that the vehicle was flung airborne, ripping branches nearly 30 feet above the ground from two nearby trees.

Updated 6:42 p.m.

First responders arriving on the scene around 3 a.m. found the silver SUV vertically wrapped around a tree, about 50 feet from the cracked pot. The force of the crash catapulted pieces of the car into the intersection with D Street Southeast. The Metropolitan Police Department identified the driver, who died in the accident, as 19-year-old Hunter B. Harries of McLean, Va. A toxicology report is “pending autopsy,” said MPD spokesman Hugh Carew.

Full story

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