Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 30, 2014

Posts in "HillSide"

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.

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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

September 2, 2014

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smith’s Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smiths Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Bagley Smith chronicled the intricacies of flip cup at the Ugly Mug during her time at Roll Call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By now, you’ve seen the announcement that Moira Bagley Smith is joining the staff of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., as communications director.

While on staff here at Roll Call in the aughts, Bagley Smith wrote regularly for our old Mug Shots feature. In that role, she brought readers to Sonoma just a year after the wine bar opened, to board games at Trusty’s and to a flip cup tournament at The Ugly Mug.

“The bar sport — a beer-chugging, cup-flipping relay race — is a test of concentration and nerves, rather than strength,” Bagley Smith said in describing flip cup in 2006.

Full story

August 26, 2014

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

Short-timer Steve Stockman doesn’t see the roughly 12 legislative days standing between him and unemployment as a time to mourn. He’d rather bring in new blood to help shake up the establishment for a few more weeks.

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Texas Republican, who took himself out of commission earlier this spring by unsuccessfully challenging Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn for his seat, is on the hunt for a new intern to keep him company until the end.

Sounds like a sweet gig for anyone looking to learn the congressional ropes, but perhaps not planning to put down roots in D.C.:

Texas Representative- 08/25/2014

The House’s most unique and courageous conservative seeks smart, happy interns (of all ages and backgrounds) for the reminder of the year. Alas, we cannot pay you. Schedules and start/end dates are negotiable if you’re worth it. We do not insist on specific, arbitrary submissions: send us whatever personal materials you think will give us reason to hire you, even if that’s just a standard boring resume and canned cover letter. Writing samples are encouraged, but not required, because even a short cover letter belies and betrays a lousy writer. Brevity is the soul of wit. This Member is not a jerk, and neither loathes nor avoids interns, but loves them, and actually speaks to them. If you are selected for this internship you will have extraordinary access to the Member and to meaningful projects that go well beyond the standard intern grunt work (or your money back). Personality and ideology are important. Please bring a confident, vigorous intellect and no drama. Ideal candidates will be true patriots who can count up to 17 in trillions, and care more about future generations than they do about sucking up to current leadership. Mushy pleasers/appeasers keep walkin’. HINT: vapid granolas who fear guns, hate babies, are ashamed of America, and think Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens are just misunderstood will not be comfortable here. Reply to: kim.tape@mail.house.gov.

Assuming that’s not a typo in the first sentence (if so, Team Stockman may want to see about locking down a temporary copy editor, too), the incoming party will need to serve as a living testament to the travails of the past year.

Which sounds to us like “Guilty Remnant” members will have a leg up in the personality and ideology departments.

Won’t be long now.

August 21, 2014

GW Hoopsters’ Swing Through Congress A Slam Dunk

Members of the George Washington University Colonials men’s basketball team had a ball wending their way through all the touristy spots in the Capitol.

The visiting collegians practiced taking the rock to the hole last week by performing impromptu dunks at various stops — including the Speaker’s Balcony and Statuary Hall — along the way.

The fun-loving contingent got the VIP treatment courtesy of former House aide Rich Landon. The ex-staffer told HOH he’s been pals with GWU coach Mike Lonergan since his shot-calling days at Catholic University of America.

Per Landon, Lonergan et al. ran into a number of congressional staffers — including one starstruck aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — who sought out the national championship-winning coach to ask for autographs and pose for selfies.

Next on Landon’s to-do list: seeing about showing a few aging rock-and-rollers around his old stomping grounds. And he hinted that he’s been in contact with one of the most hirsute Washington Nationals about possibly making the rounds.

August 20, 2014

Fed-Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

The August recess seems like the perfect time to hit the links, bask in the blessed absence of meaningless electronic blather — and perhaps settle a few political scores.

Lawmakers may be away for the next few weeks, but the automated watchdogs at congress-edits noticed that one busy beaver on Capitol Hill felt compelled to share a little something about the acolytes of socio-economic gadfly Lyndon LaRouche with the rest of the world.

The online tweak to the official Lyndon LaRouche wiki, as is often the case with these anonymous changes, was less than complimentary.

Fed Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

(Screenshot)

HOH hasn’t bumped into any LaRouchies since last fall. Full story

August 7, 2014

Cava Co-Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

Dimitri Moshovitis, co-founder and executive chef of the burgeoning Cava empire, has taken World Food Program USA’s school meals mission to heart — and he’d love to have other local toques lend a hand.

Cava Co Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“When I heard about this I was like, ‘Why doesn’t everybody do this?’” Moshovitis said following a cooking demonstration where he taught WFP USA board chairman Hunter Biden and his daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, how to whip up grilled chickpea burgers.

Per Biden, son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the group empowers struggling nations by combating hunger and promoting education.

“It’s truly transforming entire societies,” Biden said of WFP USA’s focus on food security. Full story

August 4, 2014

Exit Interview: Doug Heye

Keeping the party on message is what GOP communications guru Doug Heye has always been paid to do. Thinking things through and behaving graciously are the highly prized extras colleagues say he brought to the negotiating table.

Exit Interview: Doug Heye

Heye slips while pushing a car after a winter storm hit D.C. in 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A seasoned political operative who helped the Republican National Committee get the word out before rising through the ranks to become deputy chief of staff for communications to ex-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Heye is saying goodbye to Congress (for now) while he goes in search of new adventures.

“I hear the Yankees need a new shortstop next season,” he floated in his farewell email to the Capitol Hill community.

He leaves Congress with few regrets. “I never learned how to get to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Library of Congress — that’s probably a good thing,” he quipped.

Heye even managed to sound wistful about burning the midnight oil.

“On some summer nights, the military bands will play on the east front of the Capitol. Opening up the window to listen while working late is nice,” he said. Full story

July 31, 2014

Don Young Gets Grabby With Congressional Aide (Updated)

Don Young Gets Grabby With Congressional Aide (Updated)

Young confronts an aide who tried to stop him from entering the side door of a House Republican meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:12 p.m. | With the August recess in jeopardy and House Republicans in total disarray, the arm-twisting on Capitol Hill is getting pretty intense.

Just ask the unfortunate aide who dared cross the path of a tardy Don Young.

NBC News producer Frank Thorp V caught the late-for-the-conference-meeting Alaska Republican’s manhandling of an unsuspecting staffer on camera. Per Thorp’s Twitter feed, the aide had attempted to redirect Young to enter the already in-progress GOP strategy session through another doorway when things got physical.

“While returning to the GOP conference meeting to discuss the ongoing situation on our southern border, I was caught off guard by an unidentified individual who was physically blocking me from reentering the room,” Young said in a statement. “Regardless, my reaction was wrong and I should have never placed my hands on the young man.”

Related:

Don Young Said to Have Barged Through Barriers Blocking Asbestos Spill

July 29, 2014

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

Rep. Ted Poe has conferred upon Rep. Matt Salmon one of the highest honors his office can help provide: He’s made his fellow Republican lawmaker an honorary Texan.

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Texas Republican said Salmon, who serves alongside him on the Foreign Affairs Committee — “We’re personal friends,” Poe said — shares several defining characteristics with native-born Texans. Poe said Salmon values independence. He’s fairly outspoken. And he displays that certain ruggedness required of those who reside in border states.

“I thought it was appropriate to make him an honorary Texan and give him dual citizenship,” Poe said of the surprise distinction for the Arizona Republican.

Full story

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

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