Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

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September 8, 2015

Chellie Pingree, Donald Sussman Parting Company

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced Tuesday she has split from her financier spouse, Donald Sussman — a break that has so far stymied her administrative obligations and may still impact her hospitality holdings.

chellie pingree

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Donald and I are sorry to say that we have separated and have decided to get divorced. It is a very amicable and truly mutual decision,” Pingree said in a news release. “It is sad for both of us but we continue to have the utmost respect for each other. This is the only statement either of us will have on this private family matter.”

Per her office, the couple wed on June 18, 2011. Full story

Congress Resumes, Twitter Swells

It’s back to school work time here on Capitol Hill, and lawmakers from around the country are flocking to social media to reaffirm their commitment to taking care of the people’s business.

The congressional to-do list runneth over this month, so pols need to hit the ground running post-recess if they hope to avoid another confidence-shaking government shutdown.

Full story

September 4, 2015

John Lewis Aims to Slay ’Em at Dragon Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Civil rights leader/graphic novelist Rep. John Lewis this weekend is lending some local star power to Dragon Con.

Congressional aide and “March” co-author Andrew Aydin tells HOH the Georgia Democrat is expected to pull double duty at Hotlanta’s fantasy fest, signing on to help welcome “Star Trek” vet Nichelle Nichols Saturday at the Guest of Honor Awards Banquet before settling in Sunday afternoon for a panel discussion and autograph session. Full story

September 3, 2015

Gay Marriage Tussle Not David Bunning’s First Brush With Infamy

David Bunning, and his wife Kay, talk to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, back to camera, before his nomination hearing before a the Senate Judiciary Committee for District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bunning, and his wife Kay, talk to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, before his nomination hearing for the federal bench. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning’s decision Thursday to punish Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses she maintains conflict with her religious beliefs isn’t the only time the legal professional has been cast in an unflattering light.

Per media reports, protestors were stunned by Bunning’s brushing aside — “One minister called the ruling unjust, saying religious freedom had been trampled on,” according to Gannett scribes — of Davis’ opposition to same-sex coupling.

But the youngest child of former Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., is unlikely to shrink from the negative attention.

His nomination in 2001 to the federal bench came with mixed reviews from peers at the American Bar Association.

But five months after President George W. Bush peered into this soul and vouched for the guy, Senate Judiciary Committee members saw fit to shepherd baby Bunning through.

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

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September 2, 2015

Prayer Leader Believes John Fleming Is Half Right About Seeking God’s Help

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pray at the Pump founder Rocky Twyman is hopeful Louisiana Republican John Fleming will not only follow through on a recent pledge to push for nationwide faith healing, but will augment that effort by embracing other humbling practices.

The House Freedom Caucus co-founder floated the idea Tuesday of petitioning The Almighty for assistance in quelling violence visited upon law enforcement officials in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama. Full story

August 31, 2015

Sticking It to the Man at the Minnesota State Fair

Has politics gone to seed at the Minnesota State Fair?

Travel Channel personality Andrew Zimmern has re-upped his mission to have folks fan out across the fair in search of fun, and while there’s a host of food-related items, there’s also a slot for the political.

Scavenger hunt! 50 things to look for at the @mnstatefair: http://t.co/7v71PO1q70

And his top priority may just stick in the establishment’s craw. Full story

August 24, 2015

Jim Webb’s 1979 Thoughts on Violence, Women and Sexuality

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Jim Webb says he’s changed his mind about his feelings on women in combat. The Virginia Democrat and 2016 presidential candidate spelled out his objections in a 1979 Washingtonian piece that is bracing in its argument that women in combat roles would have dire effects on the military’s viability.

On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Webb said he was “proud” of the first two females who recently graduated the Army’s Ranger School, was “totally comfortable now with the military being able to make these decisions in a way that goes to performance” and noted their matriculation from West Point.

Webb’s team even put up on his 2016 campaign web site a story touting the CNN appearance. It’s a big turnaround from his Nov. 1, 1979 Washingtonian article (“Jim Webb: Women Can’t Fight”). Its language about human nature, gender roles and the place of women in the service academies, is stark.

Among its more memorable passages: Full story

August 17, 2015

NFL’s John Harbaugh Calls Foul on Political Partisanship, Immigration Standoff

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was nowhere near the Iowa State Fair this weekend, but he still managed to crowbar some political commentary into a preseason presser.

A line of questioning from reporters on Aug. 15 about Harbaugh’s pitch to have professional referees spend more than just three weekends in August preparing for the regular season veered into the political arena as the NFL play caller took to his soapbox to call out Congress for routinely dropping the ball.

“Maybe talk to one another, solve a problem once in a while instead of creating a problem. Be more concerned about the country than you are your party. How about we do that?” Harbaugh chided elected officials. “Let’s try to fix things around here. … That’s what made us great.” Full story

August 13, 2015

Marsha Blackburn Digs What Gingham Café Is Cooking

Rep. Marsha Blackburn took to social media Wednesday to plug an old pal’s restaurant, a homespun establishment specializing in comfort food and tantalizing sweets.

The Tennessee Republican told HOH she originally met Gingham Café owner Niesha Wolfe shortly after arriving in Congress. Full story

August 6, 2015

Rob Portman’s Guide to Properly Rocking Cleveland

With the first GOP debate almost upon us, the eyes of the nation are turning to Cleveland — a destination Sen. Rob Portman insists is well worth exploring.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“It’s a great town. There’s so many beautiful areas now,” the Ohio Republican told HOH about the Rock and Roll Capital of the World.

Lord knows if any of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls will circulate anywhere other than the Quicken Loans Arena lobby — not a single one mentioned “sightseeing” when they shared their pre-debate rituals with IJ Review — before or after Thursday night’s Fox News Channel-moderated media circus.

Per Portman, anyone who’s feeling adventurous ought to spend some time getting to know the city. Full story

August 4, 2015

Pummel Your Liver on GOP Debate Night

Care to make the first GOP primary debate that much more palatable?

Political observers at Cloture Club and the Sun Times Network suggest getting good and blasted.

(Courtesy Cloture Club)

(Courtesy Cloture Club)

Cloture Club has devised a way to make one hang on any given candidate’s every word: attach serious drinking consequences to all the bloviating. Full story

July 14, 2015

‘March’ Team Prods Youths to Change the Future (Video)

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SAN DIEGO — Some 50-plus years since committing to drag a deeply divided nation toward a brighter tomorrow, Rep. John Lewis recently turned not to well-heeled donors or seasoned pols for help, but to a roomful of children.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“When you see something that is not right, you must disturb the order of things,” the Georgia Democrat implored the hundreds of kids who gathered on July 12 at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation to hear from the visiting civil rights icon.

Lewis, in town to promote the second installment of his autobiographical graphic novel, “March,” at Comic-Con International, spoke to a group of at-risk youths who live in a world far removed from the pop culture spectacle. Full story

July 12, 2015

Graphic Artist Sparks Impromptu Bernie Sanders Rally at Comic-Con

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SAN DIEGO – Could the (fury) road to the White House one day lead through Comic-Con?

Mario Prado, a printing wiz currently smitten with 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders, doesn’t see that as such an absurd proposition.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“Comic-Con attracts a lot of nerds. Nerds are very much on top of politics,” the printing shop owner told CQ Roll Call of his decision to stump for the Vermont independent.

Prado erected an eye-catching depiction of the populist pol facing off against the conservative Koch brothers in a Mad Max-like landscape along a heavily traveled crosswalk just outside the bustling entertainment hub. That, coupled with the fire engine-red T-shirt he wore in support of “Bernie Man” — showing Sanders’ signature shock of white hair replaced by flaming coiffure — drew in passersby, many of whom Prado said were not all that familiar with the veteran pol. Full story

July 9, 2015

John Lewis to Resurrect Historic Look for Comic-Con

Dressing as one’s favorite fictional character is part of the allure of attending Comic-Con International. Come Saturday, Rep. John Lewis intends to get into the spirit of things by giving dedicated cosplayers a peek at what real heroes wear into battle.

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

The Georgia Democrat is returning to the fantasy fest to educate attendees about “March,” a three-part series of graphic novels chronicling his decades-long fight for equality.

Instead of donning form-fitting spandex or fetishistic leather gear, Lewis aide and “March” co-author Andrew Aydin tells HOH the 15-term lawmaker plans to recreate the outfit he wore to soldier across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in early 1965. Full story

Doug Collins Fans the Flames of Barbecue Dominance

Bragging about award-winning eateries residing in one’s district is nothing new in the House of Representatives. Georgia Republican Doug Collins Wednesday did so with gusto, putting colleagues on notice that the unexpected rise of Joe’s BBQ in Blue Ridge proved their barbecue providers were the pits.

“He calls it beginner’s luck. I think we’re just turning into a legacy and tradition in North Georgia,” the two-term lawmaker boasted of TripAdvisor’s crowning of Joe’s back in May as the top barbecue restaurant in the nation. Full story

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