Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 24, 2014

Posts in "HillSide"

June 18, 2014

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

Of all the “firsts” Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, has accomplished since succeeding retired solon Daniel Akaka, we’re most excited about the inaugural “Taste of Hawaii” event she’s cooked up for late July.

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

(Courtesy Mazie K. Hirono)

Why it’s taken this long for our friends from the South Pacific to have the culinary stage all to themselves remains somewhat of a mystery.

“No one had ever asked before,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said of the missed opportunity no one had apparently given much thought to before.

Until Hirono came to town. Full story

June 16, 2014

Tom Harkin, George Miller Score Cupcake Title IX Send-Off

Tom Harkin, George Miller Score Cupcake Title IX Send Off

Harkin, left, and Miller can expect cupcakes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The American Association of University Women is sad to see retiring lawmakers Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of  California go, but wants to watch them have a blast doing so at a reception featuring bubbly and gourmet baked goods.

The retiring Democrats will be feted on Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325) as part of the 42nd anniversary of Title IX. Harkin, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee, and Miller, the ranking member and former chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, are longtime advocates of the university community.

“Cupcakes and champagne will be served,” the open invitation reads. Well-wishers should sign their commitment to their team — Teams Free Booze and/or Sugar Rush — via the online registration site.

Teen Capitalists Demand Congressional Attention, Supply Dessert

Junior Achievement USA’s latest crop of budding entrepreneurs are looking to bend pols’ ears with prospective start-up plans on Tuesday. And the aspiring businesspeople are fully prepared to sweeten the deal by dishing out free ice cream.

JA’s annual “trade fair” is scheduled to take place Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Hart 902.

Members and staff who attend the presentation will have the opportunity to pick the brains of more than six dozen teen problem-solvers hailing from Chicago; Atlanta; Philadelphia; Los Angeles; Denver; San Diego; Minneapolis-St.Paul; Cupertino, Calif.; St. Louis; Nashville, Tenn.; Tampa, Fla.; Springfield, Mass.; Lancaster, N.Y.; and Camden, Del.

Some of the moneymaking ideas on the minds of the would-be wheelers-and-dealers include:

  • Subscription make-up delivery (a la a lipstick of the month club)
  • School mascot-branded belts
  • Hand-cranked robo vacuum (battery-free operation)
  • Branded digital screen cleaners
  • Customizable bracelets
  • A website development school (Check yo’ self, ITT Tech!)

Organizers said Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; and Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.; Chris Collins, R-N.Y.; and Scott Peters, D-Calif., have all agreed to give the projects a look-see.

Their reward?

Jack and Jill ice cream (with assorted toppings) and freshly baked apple pie. And they can wash it all down with lemonade or iced tea.

Exit Interview: Justin Harding

He may be back home in his beloved Beehive State now, but veteran GOP aide Justin Harding tells HOH he will absolutely miss the hustle and bustle — and occasional solitude — of life on Capitol Hill.

The seasoned House aide is following in his latest boss’ footsteps, leaving the side of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to serve as chief of staff to Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. Chaffetz did time as chief of staff to then-Utah Gov. John Huntsman before striking out on his own.

Harding started his new gig Monday. Full story

June 11, 2014

For Team Cantor: A Spotify Playlist for Commiserating

Team Cantor is at the Tune Inn, drowning their sorrows and listening to ’90s and 2000s rock. So what does the sound of political depression sound like? We at HOH humbly offer this Spotify list of tunes to nurse a crushed soul. Or soul-crushing tunes. One or the other:

Team Cantor Self-Medicates to Tune of $6,500

Team Cantor Self Medicates to Tune of $6,500

Team Cantor gathered at the Tune Inn to commiserate. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Current and former staffers for soon-to-step-down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor flooded into the Tune Inn Wednesday for a semi-private shindig featuring some heartfelt sobs, a few laughs and lots of Jameson.

The aides assembled at the Capitol Hill watering hole shortly before the Virginia Republican took to TV to announce that he would be relinquishing his leadership post, but not his seat, as of July 31. Cantor suffered a bruising defeat at the hands of tea party candidate Dave Brat on Tuesday night.

Once the news conference was over, the commiserators wiped away their tears and immediately opened their wallets — ponying up $500 and $1,000 apiece in order to cover the $6,500 required to have the bar to themselves from 6 p.m. ’til closing.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:43 p.m.
DC, HillSide, Staffers

Other Than That, Mr. Boehner, How Was Dinner?

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was having dinner at a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant when the returns from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary race came in showing the Virginia Republican had lost.

“No, you know the rules,” Boehner said when asked if he had any comment when leaving the Trattoria Alberto, which describes itself as “Fine Italian dining in a friendly, neighborhood setting.”

Boehner, in shirtsleeves and with his tie undone, was referring to his typical practice of not answering questions outside of a press conference. His demeanor was somewhat prickly, but not surprising given that he was being unexpectedly pursued after dinner by a few reporters after a stunning defeat for establishment Republicans. Full story

June 9, 2014

Drink In the Granite State’s Awesomeness on Wednesday

The New Hampshire delegation will welcome scores of home-state businesses — including a baker’s dozen of booze makers — to the Capitol Wednesday for the fifth annual “Experience New Hampshire” reception.

Drink In the Granite State’s Awesomeness on Wednesday

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster and their Republican counterpart, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, are poised to once again co-host the epicurean love fest.

The invite-only taste-around is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325).

Per Shaheen’s office, first-timers Ali Baba’s Wholefoods Festival and Treasures, Michele’s Sweet Shoppe, gourmet chocolatier Lindt and New Hampshire Mushroom Company are all expected to inject new life into the noshing side. Shaheen favorites Granite State Candy Shoppe and L.A. Burdick are safely back in the rotation.

Meanwhile, newly recruited beer slingers Great Rhythm Brewing Company, The Prodigal Brewery and Throwback Brewery will join the ranks of an already impressive tippling line-up scheduled to include:

We’re feeling punchy (hic!) just thinking about all the guzzling — ahem, responsible sipping — that lies ahead.

June 3, 2014

Kids Sway the Darndest Things

“A 4-year-old ‘lobbyist’ just handed this to me in Dirksen,” a colleague relayed via email after crossing paths with the pint-sized influence peddler over in the Senate office buildings.

Kids Sway the Darndest Things

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

The combative sentiment stamped across the narrow strip of campaign literature is the latest rallying cry adopted by the left-leaning ladies behind the MomsRising movement. Group members are on Capitol Hill today beating the drum for U.S. Surgeon General nominee Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.

May 23, 2014

Take a Hike, Ya Lazy Bums!

The Senate overlords would like for everyone to get out and about today.

Take a Hike, Ya Lazy Bums!

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Mother Nature certainly appears to be on board.

Take a Hike, Ya Lazy Bums!

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Enjoy the extra dose of vitamin D!

May 22, 2014

Picturing Life in Syria

Those curious to see how the other half lives — and by other half, we mean the innocents orphaned by ongoing insurrection — can get a sobering look into the struggle for survival in the Middle East Thursday night at the reception for “The Children of Syria” exhibition in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Picturing Life in Syria

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The reception, which is scheduled to take place in the Kennedy Caucus Room from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., caps a two-day run of the featured snapshots enjoyed in the Russell Rotunda.

Picturing Life in Syria

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The jarring images are the handiwork of a half-dozen international photojournalists working to chronicle the gravity of making one’s way through a war-torn existence. Full story

Hank’s on the Hill Woos Whiskey Drinkers

Our local Hank’s (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is celebrating being in the running for a RAMMY award by offering up a special Jameson-spiked cooler on Thursday night.

Mixtress Gina Chersevani, potential heir to the 2014 Cocktail Program of the Year crown, assures HOH she’ll be shaking up “It’s All About the Benjamin’s” — a frozen drink featuring the aforementioned Irish whiskey, spiced sweet vermouth and atomized lemon — for only $5 (regular price: $12) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening.

The promotion is part of a citywide cocktail jamboree orchestrated by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington in anticipation of the June 22 gala.

Additional participants include:

  • Black Jack (1612 14th St. NW): Hosting a RAMMYs-themed carnival from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. complete with drink tickets, fair games, fried foods and raffles.
  • Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW): This high roller is expected to dole out kifu, a blend of Hangar One vodka, Cointreau, ginger, lemon and basil, shaken (not stirred) and garnished with candied ginger.
  • The Gibson (2009 14th St. NW): This cocktail haven is going pre-Prohibition, rolling out classic concoctions for $8 a pop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the upstairs bar.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St. NW): The multi-level drinking den is spreading specialty cocktails all around. Terrace-goers can sip the Sao Paolo Sunset and Back Porch; Saloon patrons will be privy to The Art of Deception and Like Strawberry Shine; those who descend into Dram & Grain will be treated to Ode to Omaha and Skye High. Each drink will set guests back $10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

May 20, 2014

Dave Camp Aide Extracts Reality Show From Dustbin of History

“Spymaster USA” alumnus James Brandell — aka chief of staff to retiring Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., to you civvies — is marking the 10-year anniversary of his brief flirtation with reality TV stardom by screening the pilot episode of the short-lived show Wednesday night at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE).

Dave Camp Aide Extracts Reality Show From Dustbin of History

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Brandell is resurrecting the British export (their version of the show survived for several seasons) in a bid to have a little fun while raising money for his latest Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign.

There is no charge to attend the two-hour extravaganza (think: drinks and chitchat from 6-7 p.m. and intense scrutiny of the unfolding melodrama from 7-8 p.m.), though Brandell would certainly welcome any contributions that arts aficionados would care to make.

“This is my kind of way of giving back,” the endurance sports vet told HOH of the low-key get-together.

Brandell originally made it his mission to stamp out cancer after his mother, the late Mary Ellen Brandell, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. He has since found another reason to keep up the good fight: his boss’ withering — but successful! — battle with lymphoma.

For those of you who missed the weekly nail-biter the first time around, the cult classic featured a handful of starry-eyed Capitol Hill denizens angling to enjoy just a taste of the spy game.

Given that no footage of the U.S.-based production remains in circulation — Brandell said a friend had the incredible foresight to burn a copy of the original The Learning Channel broadcast onto a DVD so many years ago — just imagine that this tense exchange from the U.K. programme was happening in a dilapidated cottage just south of Richmond, Va.:

In addition to Brandell, show-runners tapped Stephanie Whelpley, a Senate GOP aide who later worked her way up through the George W. Bush administration, as well as a certain then-tax reporter who may still be covering Congress today, to share in the pseudo-covert escapades. (For those who didn’t scour Tax Notes in the early part of the last decade, or follow other parts of this reporter’s un-IMDB-able show-biz career, keep digging.)

Do your part by drinking heavily (201 Bar is kicking back 10 percent of the booze tab to Brandell’s Team in Training efforts) while watching ex-Delta Force member cum “Spymaster USA” consultant Eric L. Haney put the would-be recruits through hell.

May 19, 2014

Chad Smith, Others Beat Drums for Arts Funding

The National Association of Music Merchants and select members of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities will storm the Hill this week to drum up additional resources for arts education programs.

The fly-in efforts include: an inaugural student “talent show” at the White House (Tuesday), the star-studded “Celebrating Music Education” reception at the Library of Congress (Tuesday night) and a camera-friendly press conference led by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., just steps from the Capitol (Wednesday).

Meanwhile, Chad Smith — you know, he who pounds the skins for the Red Hot Chili Peppers — is expected to huddle, in private, with Speaker John A. Boehner early Wednesday.

No word on whether the legendary percussionist plans to school the Ohio Republican in the art of getting folks marching to the same beat, or if he’ll share his strategy for besting comedian Will Ferrell in the charity battle (there’s a golden cowbell up for grabs) the dueling doppelgangers are expected to wage Thursday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Not a part of Boehner’s inner circle?

Smith is also expected to float around the NAMM Foundation’s shindig at the Jefferson Building. The other celebs expected to walk the red carpet Tuesday night (flashbulbs should begin popping around 7 p.m.) include: actress Alfre Woodard, multimedia artist Chuck Close, ballet vet Damian Woetzel, Tony Award-winning actor John Lloyd Young, painter Kerry James Marshall, singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood, “House of Payne” star Doc Shaw and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Military Flicks Invade Capitol Hill, NoVa

The GI Film Festival is bringing its army of thought-provoking films to the forefront this week, beginning with a sold-out world premiere in neighboring Old Town Alexandria and VIP screening Tuesday in Congress.

Veteran turned Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, New York Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III are all slated to attend the invite-only reception and premiere of “The Civilian-Military Divide” on Tuesday.

The film, directed by Sean McNamara, explores the burgeoning disconnect between the modern military and the general public.

“The mission of GI Film is to relay the messages of what the military truly does for our country, including sacrifices made; its goal is to bridge the gap between civilians and military members,” festival spokeswoman Heather Mahoney said of the group’s eight-plus year mission.

The action gets underway a day earlier for those across the river.

GIFF actually kicks off with the world premiere of “Field of Lost Shoes;” the project, directed by Sean McNamara, explores the trying times faced by a band of untested Virginia Military Institute cadets facing a date with destiny at the Battle of New Market.

Actor — and sometime director — David Arquette, told HOH reinterpreting history is practically the family business.

“My grandfather Cliff Arquette had a Civil War Museum in Gettysburg, so we always grew up with Civil War books and collectables,” said the Virginia native, who portrays Capt. Henry A. DuPont in the harrowing drama. “It was a great opportunity to honor him.”

Sadly, our favorite night life impresario will not be visiting our neck of the woods this time around.

“I have no plans to go to Capitol Hill this trip. I’m just going to screen the film and hope the audience (and my grandfather somewhere) likes it,” Arquette suggested.

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