Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

Posts in "Reps"

April 17, 2014

Rep. John Lewis’ ‘March’ Nominated for Will Eisner Award

A trailblazer in more ways than one, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., has another first to add to the list: the first member of Congress to be nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award.

Rep. John Lewis March Nominated for Will Eisner Award

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Eisner Awards, one of the industry’s highest honors, are awarded to the year’s best comics and graphic novels.  Lewis’ graphic novel “March Book One was honored with two nominations this year, receiving a nod in the Best Publication for Teens and Best Reality-Based Work categories.

The novel is the first in a three-part autobiographical series about Lewis’ participation in the civil rights movement.  The first installment explores Lewis’ childhood in Alabama and his early involvement in civil rights protests as a student at Fisk University.

Lewis co-wrote the novel with Andrew Aydin, his telecommunications legislative assistant, along with artist Nate Powell. The first-time novelists have been extremely successful, with “March” topping The New York Times best-seller list for paperback graphic novels and The Washington Post’s nonfiction list last year.

The winners of the Eisner Awards will be announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July.

Lewis is certainly no stranger to Comic-Con, becoming the first sitting Congressman to attend the convention last year. In San Diego, Lewis was met by enthusiastic supporters as he promoted his graphic novel.

Although Lewis will have to wait until this summer to see how “March” fares, a nomination certainly gives him a reason to dance.

April 15, 2014

Web Comic Riffs on Jim Moran’s Plea for Higher Pay

Internet celeb Remy Munasifi has worked up a new tax day ditty ridiculing wasteful government spending, tedious filing practices and a certain Virginia pol’s pitch to have Uncle Sam slip lawmakers a few extra bucks.

In his latest bid to again strike viral gold, the right-leaning comedian twists Pharell’s smash hit “Happy” into an anthem for those beset by paying their fair share.

One of the talking heads featured in the video is ID’ed as Rep. Jim Moranmor — a none-too-veiled-shot at Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, who recently told our colleague, Hannah Hess, that Congress-folk can no longer afford to live in This Town.

“We are so underpaid,” the Moranmor character mutters as the song begins to trail off. Full story

April 14, 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross Has Long Had His Sights Set on Capitol Hill

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man suspected of killing two people on Sunday at a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., has been trying to hitch a ride to Washington on the racial purity ticket for decades.

Cross’s purported hate crime rattled a nation still reeling from the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, a nightmarish scenario that once again featured a disturbed service man — the late Army Spc. Ivan Lopez orchestrated the most recent outbreak of violence, whereas Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan took over a dozen lives in November 2009 — ambushing unsuspecting colleagues.

A former Ku Klux Klan activist who later founded the exclusionary White Patriot Party, Cross has repeatedly — and rather unsuccessfully — tried to bring others around to his peculiar way of thinking.

Some online outlets suggest the perennial write-in candidate has been at it since 1984; he has, luckily, never gained significant traction in any contest.

He mounted an unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in 2006, as well as a failed bid in 2010 (Cross received just seven votes) to replace retiring Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo. Full story

Take Five: Pedro R. Pierluisi

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Puerto Rico’s Democratic representative in Congress, Res. Cmmsr. Pedro R. Pierluisi, discusses his trip on Air Force One and working as a staffer.

Q. While you were attending law school at GWU, you worked as an aide to then-Res. Cmmsr. Baltasar Corrada del Río. How did working as a congressional staffer prepare you for returning to Capitol Hill as a member of Congress?

A. I remember walking with him at a fast pace, in between the office and committee hearing room and trying to talk to him about this or that. And seeing the way that he handled himself — always welcoming people from Puerto Rico. What I do when people come in — the way I run this office — is similar to the way he ran it.

Q. After serving as Puerto Rico’s attorney general for four years, you practiced law in the private sector for a decade. Why did you decide to run for public office again?

A. I was approached by then-Res. Cmmsr. Luis Fortuño — he was going to be running for governor. He approached me and proposed that we run as a ticket from day one. Two out of [my] four [children] had already graduated from college. So I had two out of four and I said, “Well, if I’m going to ever do it, let me do it now.”

Q. You were one of five children, so can you describe what it was like growing up in a large family?

A. I was the middle child so I was a bit spoiled by my mother. … When I was in her belly she had an oven — estufa — a stove that blew up. And she was like six months pregnant or something like that when it happened. And she burned herself badly so she was so worried about me. And so when I was born it was like a gift of God that I was alive and well.

Q. In 2011, President Barack Obama visited Puerto Rico, the first sitting president to do so since John F. Kennedy. What is your fondest memory from his trip?

A. My Air Force ride back with him. I came back with him, pretty much on our own with a couple of people and the Secret Service. And you know he was in his office and so on and I was at the VIP area having dinner, watching a movie. Right after the movie ended, the president comes in.  So he says, “So did you have a good time?” “Yeah the dinner was great, I watched a movie.”  He said, “So what did you see?” And I said, “Unknown.”

And then he says, “Is it any good?” And I said, “You know what, yeah, it’s pretty good. But you know this plane is too noisy. I think I’m going to have to rent it at home because I missed half of the dialogue.” So he laughed because I think I’m the first one who’s on Air Force One and I’m complaining about it!  He’s cracking [up] — like saying, “This guy’s a character, look what he tells me!”

Q. What is one thing you would like your fellow members of Congress to know about Puerto Rico?

A.  People from all over the world live in America and you can be an American and yet also be very proud of your ethnic, racial, cultural, roots. That’s Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s what America’s becoming.

April 11, 2014

Appropriations Chairman Piles On to Moran’s ‘Underpaid’ Remarks (Video)

Turns out not even the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee can avoid weighing in on whether members are “underpaid.

At an appropriations markup Wednesday, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., laid into Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., after Moran’s amendment to raise each member’s pay by $2,800 was rejected by voice vote.

“I might with tongue and cheek say that this issue got a raise out of Mr. Moran,” the Kentucky Republican said.

The issue of member pay has created a rift on Capitol Hill of whether members are “underpaid” or out of touch.

By JM Rieger Posted at 4:18 p.m.
DC, Reps, TV Land

Tom Petri’s S.O.S (Save Our Sausages)

Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri took to the House floor Thursday to issue a dire warning to grill tenders the world over: Europe is coming for our pork products.

“Bratwursts are delicious,” he declared in a shout-out to Sheboygan’s claim to fame.

It seems the European Union wants to impose new restrictions on certain products, namely processed meats, cheeses and seasonal beers, as part of a swirling trade agreement — a power grab that’s left a bad taste in the Wisconsin delegation’s mouths.

“This is, frankly, getting ridiculous,” Petri argued, adding, “If anything, we should be trademarking the name ‘bratwurst,’ not them.”

Across the Capitol, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has rallied nearly half the Senate to the cause, raising a bipartisan chorus of voices in favor of protecting homegrown snacks from the proposed geographic restrictions. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of April 7 (Video)

While senators explain their beef with cable TV and representatives talk about Big Macs, Majority Leader Harry Reid just cannot get enough Koch.

April 10, 2014

Vance McAllister’s Dalliance With the English Language

Sure, he’s canoodler-in-chief NOW. But just a few short months ago, Rep. Vance McAllister was just another tongue-tied candidate spewing out muddled policy positions on social media.

Just days before the special election that would help bring the lip-locking Louisiana Republican to Washington, McAllister hit his Facebook flock with this doozy of a diatribe (mis)spelling out his positions on family, the Affordable Care Act, immigration and the federal budget.

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(CQ Roll Call photo illustration)

Somewhere in the middle of that 340-odd word, run-on sentence (Grammar police, ho!) McAllister demands that the undocumented get with the program already and learn to “read, write, and speak English.”

Eschewing punctuation, however, does not appear to be a deal breaker in McAllisterland.

Online detractors, meanwhile, have a few choice words of their own for Capitol Hill’s cheater du jour:

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 9, 2014

Democrats Hustle to Secure 2nd Annual Capital Soccer Classic Win

House Democrats just barely edged out their GOP counterparts Tuesday to clinch the 2nd Annual Capital Soccer Classic, a friendly contest that featured few score changes during regulation play but threatened to become a nail-biter toward the end.

Democrats Hustle to Secure 2nd Annual Capital Soccer Classic Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The charity match, co-sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and POLITICO, brought together pols partial to spending time on the pitch, a roster which included North Carolina Democrat Mike McIntyre, Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen, Washington Republican Dave Reichert, California Democrat Eric Swalwell and Indian Republican Todd Young.

Democrats Hustle to Secure 2nd Annual Capital Soccer Classic Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

At the close of the 30-minute contest, Democrats were leading 4-1, thanks largely to the two goals Swalwell fired past the GOP-led squad. Full story

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

Documentarians Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler are still putting the finishing touches on “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” an unflinching look at the life and times of retired Rep. Barney Frank.

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

(Courtesy Jim Ready)

The whole world will get a peek into the insights they’ve gleaned from the Massachusetts Democrat — and the handful of congressional colleagues who agreed to weigh in on his illustrious career — when the feature length project debuts April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Canavan told HOH she first met Frank while working on the transition team for then-Boston Mayor Kevin White. As a lowly college student, Canavan recalled spending many long nights (she pulled graveyard shift duty) fielding constituent calls. Frank, who devoted his days to setting up the office of public service, would keep her company after work in order to keep his ear to the ground. Full story

April 8, 2014

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky-Panky

An offbeat observation by someone who sounded none-too-surprised to learn that Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister had been busted getting busy with a congressional aide got us thinking about whom, exactly, Capitol Hill playboys spend their time seducing.

“It’s always the schedulers,” an HOH reader opined online after perusing the tawdry tale of McAllister’s videotaped make-out session with district aide — and Facebook friend (social media has doomed us all) — Melissa Hixon Peacock.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(Screenshot)

The Ouachita Citizen exposed the interoffice dalliance (both McAllister and Peacock are married to other people) with the help of a grainy surveillance video purportedly leaked to the local paper by another McAllister aide.

While Peacock clearly fit our conspiracy theorists’ bill in this particular case, HOH decided to examine the past 20 years of congressional sexcapades to discern whether libidinous lawmakers do, in fact, have a clear cut “type.”

Ex-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Object of his affection: the late Chandra Levy, his intern. Full story

April 7, 2014

Take Five: Rep. Alan Lowenthal

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., talks about participating in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements as well as how playing racquetball helped him get things done in the California Legislature.

Q. Before you became a legislator, you taught community psychology at California State University, Long Beach. Why did you decide to study and ultimately teach this subject?

A. I went to graduate school during the civil rights movement and also the war in Vietnam. I was at Ohio State University working on my Ph.D., and I was in the clinical psychology program. I became more and more convinced, as did a lot of other psychologists, young folks who were in graduate school like myself, that psychology was not relevant. Why didn’t we understand what was happening among the reaction against the Vietnam War? Why didn’t we understand more about what was going on in our communities with the rise of issues, women’s issues, African-American issues, and others?

So there was a new group of psychologists in graduate programs and students who really did not want to study how you treat people for problems, but how do you prevent them? And so it broadened psychology. But it really enabled me to incorporate my academic beliefs in the study of behavior as well as my desire to be relevant in my community, to promote well-being in my community, and to understand the various diversities and different groups in my community.

Q. What was it like participating in the anti-Vietnam War movement and civil rights protests while you were at Ohio State?

A. It was a time when we believed everything was possible. I think we’ve kind of lost that in this country. And maybe we shouldn’t have had it — maybe it was a fantasy. But we really believed and there really was a sense that we were making great changes in the nation. We were finally beginning to acknowledge a great oppression that had taken place to people of color, to women, to people of different sexual orientation.

Q: You’re a baseball fan — who is your favorite player?

A. Well, I love the Los Angeles Dodgers. I love them all. If I had to pick one person — I grew up worshipping Sandy Koufax. So I have a particular fondness for pitchers.  I love Clayton Kershaw. He reminds me of Koufax, he’s dominating.

But I grew up — I lived and died as a kid with Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson had probably more influence on who I was, who I became, than any other person.

Q. Why did you start playing racquetball?

A. When I was at Cal State Long Beach, I was in a regular Friday morning and weekend tennis game. And after a while I realized I didn’t have that much time. So I learned that I could play racquetball, which used some of the same skills, at 6:30 or 7 in the morning, be finished by 8 or 8:30, and I’d still have the whole day.

I got a lot of legislation out of the state Legislature out of playing racquetball. We got a courthouse in Long Beach, much of it. And we also got the independent redistricting commission out of the California state Senate because I played with the leader of the Republican Party, Dick Ackerman, and Ackerman became my buddy. I played with Ackerman for years and years.

Q. What’s a misconception about life in California?

A. You know, the misconception that I think many people have is that somehow California is dysfunctional. It doesn’t work, it’s kind of tilted, and all the nuts in the world are in California. And I find it just the opposite. I find California is very progressive, very thoughtful, future-oriented, has real concern about not only its children but its children’s children, what the future’s going to be like. California is an attitude, and it’s an attitude that really is all-encompassing, appreciates diversity, looks at everybody as a strength.

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:54 p.m.
Reps, TakeFive

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

Evergreen Staters stuck here in the District want to help those back home still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating mudslide by raising a few glasses — and hopefully some big bucks — Tuesday night.

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

(Courtesy Washington State Society)

The Oso Mudslide Relief reception is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the State Room at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE). There is a suggested donation of $20.

The natural disaster struck the Oso community on March 22; the administration officially took action on April 2.

Funds collected at 201 Bar are expected to benefit the United Way of Snohomish County. Event organizers are also planning a raffle featuring prizes such as an Xbox One and gift certificates to local restaurants.

Congressional aides told HOH that Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene are planning to attend the fundraiser. The office of Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said the slightly hobbled lawmaker (currently on crutches) is aware of the event, but could not guarantee his participation.

April 4, 2014

Solons See No Slam Dunks in Alabama BBQ Bracket

Alabama’s tourism authorities have flipped March Madness into a food fight, pitting many of the Yellowhammer State’s revered barbecue purveyors against one another in an online popularity contest.

Based on the most recent balloting, one of the following contenders will walk away with the title once voting closes April 7: Jim ‘N Nick’s in Birmingham (chicken, pork), Smokin’ on the Boulevard in Florence (ribs) and Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer (sauce).

Trouble is, some of the folks here on Capitol Hill would beg to differ with the vox populi. Full story

Ex-Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

Gary Meltz, a one-time aide to Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., who has since carved out a niche for himself in the crisis management game, is inviting friends and colleagues to come celebrate the birth of Meltz Communications.

The fledgling communications firm officially threw open its doors in late January. But Meltz suggested that the myriad demands of actually setting up shop have made it nearly impossible to stop and enjoy a single minute of the momentous life change.

Ex Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

(Courtesy Meltz Communications)

He hopes to rectify all that by indulging friends with a few drinks, some gourmet treats and signature matchbooks (‘natch) at an invite-only reception scheduled to take place April 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Science Club (1136 19th St. NW). Full story

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