Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

February 12, 2014

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

Hurried meetings on Capitol Hill might do for social media pushers or app designers.

But the business execs in charge of skippering a good portion of the country’s seafood supply to market prefer to slow things down a bit, serving up the delicious fruits of their labor and talking big picture when they sail into town.

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Gulf Coast Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Association will get the chance to do just that during their upcoming “Let the World Be Your Oyster” reception. The annual outreach effort, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place Feb. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW).

Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of regional specialties, lovingly prepared by visiting chefs from across Louisiana. Featured items include: oysters on the half shell courtesy of Acme Oyster House in New Orleans; oyster Rockefeller soup (fashioned from fresh oysters, butter, chopped spinach, Pernod and more) courtesy of Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette; oysters voisin (fried oysters, creamed spinach, bacon, bordelaise sauce and extra cheese spooned over toasted baguettes) courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurants; pickled oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar courtesy of Cotton in Monroe; open-faced oyster ravioli courtesy of Ruffino’s Restaurants; and charbroiled oysters courtesy of Acadiana toque Jeff Tunks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:25 p.m.
DC, Food, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

February 11, 2014

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

February 10, 2014

Rubio Looses Epic Smokescreen Regarding Marijuana Use

Sen. Marco Rubio sees absolutely no upside to clearing the air about any previous drug use.

But as he proved on Monday, he’ll ramble on and on about why it’s a lose-lose for elected officials to speak candidly about ever having consumed cannabis.

Fusion talk show co-anchor Mariana Atencio attempted to light a fire under the Florida Republican by probing the one-time tea party favorite about the burgeoning endorsement of medical marijuana at the state level.

“I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the father of four got rolling. Full story

Chewing on Beto O’Rourke’s Snacking Habits

Rep. Beto O’Rourke is a brave man. And not just because he’s open to rolling around town on public transportation, which he did late last week.

Nope.

The Texas Democrat wowed us by broadcasting his love for a certain guilty pleasure: Thin Mints.

 

 

Around midday on Feb. 7, O’Rourke interrupted his #BusingwithBeto adventure to stock up on the controversial confection.

Within minutes of the casual disclosure, the social-media-sphere passed judgment on O’Rourke’s shopping selection:

 

Full story

February 7, 2014

Paul Gosar’s Love for Legislation He Voted Against

Paul Gosars Love for Legislation He Voted Against

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama signed the long-awaited farm bill into law Friday, prompting the traditional outpouring of congressional press releases. But among the digital back-pattings was one carefully worded missive that lauded Obama for signing provisions of Rep. Paul Gosar’s wildfire prevention legislation into law — even though Gosar voted against the final bill.

“When it comes to wildfires, 2013 wasn’t a good year, which is why I’m especially proud that the majority of my wildfire prevention legislation was signed into law today,” Gosar stated. Full story

February 5, 2014

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’-GOP Connection

TV scriptwriter and social media maven Nina Bargiel is completely mystified by what our elected leaders are up to these days.

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’ GOP Connection

(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)

Still, she’s hoping to crack the code by utilizing what appears to be a near universal translator for modern politics: “Mean Girls.”

Yep, the cult comedy about vindictive high schoolers that’s sparked thousands — nay, millions! — of BuzzFeed contributions continues to find new life in the battle to better comprehend the day-to-day lunacy that transpires on Capitol Hill.

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’ GOP Connection

(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)

Bargiel — who said said she originally envisioned applying her love of language to speech-writing, only to be lured by the bright lights of Hollywood (she’s helped pen several hit kids’ shows including the Disney Channel’ s “Lizzie McGuire,” Nickelodeon’s “Romeo!” and Cartoon Network’s “Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), launched her Mean GOP platform shortly after the new year.

Her fascination with our fractured government, however, has been a long time coming.

“I’ve become incredibly interested in politics since the George W. Bush presidency on,” she said of the psychosocial shock and awe she experienced during the previous decade. Full story

February 4, 2014

Lorenzo Lamas Mulls Run for Waxman’s Seat

In Heard on the Hill’s ongoing quest to bait as many celebrities as possible into running for the newly opened west Lost Angeles seat in Congress, we got a joking “maybe” from “Falcon Crest”/”Grease” star Lorenzo Lamas:

 

 

For context, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced last week he is retiring from his west Los Angeles-based district. California’s 33rd is unique in that it covers Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, parts of West Hollywood and a whole handful of other movie star enclaves.

This is the first time since 1974 that the region will see  an open-seat race, and so we spent part of Monday afternoon trolling various movies stars on Twitter to see if they are mulling a run.

This race has the potential to be the greatest House race in the history of the United States, and we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. (For serious coverage of the race, check out our At the Races blog.)

Full story

February 3, 2014

Milton Wolf’s Family Feud

Meet Senate hopeful Milton Wolf.

Milton Wolf’s Family Feud

(JM Rieger/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The tea party candidate hoping to knock off longstanding Kansas Republican Pat Roberts this fall is not only not at odds with the parties currently controlling Congress, he’s also at war with his own bloodline.

As Wolf explained to At the Races, the trained physician just happens to be a distant cousin of President Barack Obama.

The two are, admittedly, not all that close:

That’s a tough spot to be in.

And it’s not one that many others appear to be able to relate to.

Progressive problem solver Walter White is clearly stumped by Wolf’s antagonistic attitude: Full story

Funny Ladies Get Serious About Women’s Rights

Her irreverent “State of the Uterus” address may be in the rearview, but satirist Lizz Winstead is already looking forward to stirring the electoral pot this fall. And she’s got a posse of high profile pals coming along for the ride.

The co-creator of the “Daily Show” most recently yukked it up by having a felt replica of the female reproductive system give conservative lawmakers a thorough tongue lashing for attempting to impose their religious views on women. Her twist on the president’s annual State of the Union speech was the opening salvo in a battle that’s meant to rage on through the upcoming midterm elections.

Having laid the initial groundwork for the “V to Shining V” campaign, Winstead said she intends to turn the Lady Parts Justice portal into an interactive map of places where women’s rights are being threatened by spotlighting eyebrow-raising rulemaking happening in statehouses across the country. Full story

January 31, 2014

Chabot, Holtz Huddle at GOP Retreat

Leave it to Speaker John A. Boehner to bring fellow Ohio Republican Steve Chabot face to face with his past.

Boehner tapped College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz to motivate House Republicans during the group’s retreat in Cambridge, Md. — a pep talk which included a throwback pic of a mutton-chopped Chabot being courted by the then-third-year coach to play ball at the College of William & Mary.

Chabot, Holtz Huddle at GOP Retreat

(Courtesy Team Chabot)

Full story

January 29, 2014

Washington, Colorado Delegations Go Big on Super Bowl Bet

House lawmakers with ties to the championship-seeking teams — the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks — scheduled to duke it out for world dominance Sunday during Super Bowl XLVIII, have raised the stakes by wagering some curious comestibles.

Along with all the obligatory sweets and regional produce, several pols have put genuinely adventurous dining experiences on the table.

Should the Broncos falter, Rep. Cory Gardner, D-Colo., is prepared to treat his counterparts from the Evergreen State to a hearty helping of Rocky Mountain oysters.

Deep-fried bull testicles are the “surprise” specialty locals love to foist upon unsuspecting visitors.

(Ballsy move, sir.)

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., appears determined to light a fire in the competition’s belly, offering up a sample of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (a decade-old distillery dedicated to producing small batch spirits) along with “tamales” of unspecified origin.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., would be willing to part with boxes of select Celestial Seasonings Tea.

Mind you, a sore loser might be tempted to slip the victors a box of senna-laced “LaxaTea”… Full story

‘Hi, My Name Is ___!’ — Hard to Forget Freshman Names

On Capitol Hill, name recognition is the ultimate cachet.

Just ask the anonymous members who diligently toil away only to be written off by reporters as “backbenchers,” members of the “rank and file” or the quietly maneuvering “Obscure Caucus.”

That’s likely never been a problem for the handful of standout lawmakers who joined the ranks of the Fortney “Pete” Starks and Arlen Specters of the world by adding their distinctive monikers to the congressional rolls last year.

Not that sporting a unique forename guarantees every visitor will absolutely nail it when they come a-calling.

It’s a Family Affair

Rep. Markwayne Mullin is accustomed to sticking out in a crowd. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Oklahoma Republican said his name pays tribute to two dear family members — a duo who has, over time, repaid the favor in kind.

“My father was the youngest boy of eight children and he had two brothers who did not have any sons. And since I was the youngest of seven in my family, I was named after both of them: Mark and Wayne,” Mullin said of the compound ID.

The honorary mashup earned him some extra attention every year.

“In my large family, Christmas was the occasion we gave most of our gifts. I grew up on a working farm, so birthdays were just another work day,” he said. “But my uncles … would always make me feel special and give me gifts on my birthday.”

Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., said his name isn’t rooted in history so much as planted in his parents’ hearts. According to his staff, the McAllisters initially anticipated having a girl, so they settled on the name “Vanessa” for their little one. Once they learned a man-child was on its way, they clipped Vanessa down to Vance.

According to Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, his name is quite common — at least across the pond. Full story

January 28, 2014

Comics Lambast GOP in ‘State of the Uterus’ Address

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” is no longer willing to take the legislating of women’s bodies lying down. That’s why she’s storming the Web late on Tuesday — and all 50 state capitals later this fall — to rail against any infringement against reproductive rights.

Winstead is venting some of that anger via the “State of the Uterus 2014” address she will deliver via Lady Parts Justice after President Barack Obama and all his Republican opponents are done jaw-boning for the night. Full story

January 24, 2014

Flying High With Former N.H. Sen. Bob Smith

Ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown may not have officially announced his candidacy for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, but former Sen. Bob Smith has — sort of.

Flying High With Former N.H. Sen. Bob Smith

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican lawmaker has filed papers for the New Hampshire Senate seat he held for 12 years — though he hasn’t exactly announced his candidacy formally.

He is, however, hitting the D.C. circuit in search of money and support. And HOH had the unplanned pleasure of sitting next to him on his return flight from Baltimore to Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.

If you ask Smith, he has every intention of beating sitting New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and fellow Senate alumnus Brown.

“I’m not running for my health. I’m serious,” Smith told HOH over the course of a roughly 45-minute discussion that ranged from the current race to the sheer magnitude of the universe. (He couldn’t seem to shake a recent Discovery Channel special on the solar system.) Full story

January 22, 2014

Leaders Line Up to Critique SOTU

President Barack Obama will deliver his latest State of the Union address (now with online Easter eggs!) to the nation on Jan. 28, an annual temperature-taking that has spawned a cottage industry of alternative evaluations.

Leaders Line Up to Critique SOTU

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Academics from the free-market-loving Cato Institute aren’t even waiting to hear what “44” has to say this year, offering up their pre-buttal of POTUS’ read on the yearly status report on Friday. The “Libertarian State of the Union” luncheon (food courtesy of Cato) is scheduled to take place beginning at noon in Rayburn B-369, and will feature in-depth discussions about politically charged issues (Affordable Care Act, NSA information tracking, the congressional budget process) by Cato contributors Chris Edwards (tax policy), Julian Sanchez (technology/national security) and Ilya Shapiro (constitutional studies).

Interested parties can RSVP to attend in person (events@cato.org) or catch the fireworks on cato.org/live.

Utah Republican Mike Lee will follow in the footsteps of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — last year’s mouthpiece — by delivering the “official” tea party response for 2014.

“For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer announced in a release.

Lee is scheduled to share his undoubtedly blistering assessment of Obama’s performance at the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW) immediately following the president’s speech. Casual observers can watch from home via teapartyexpress.org.

The Green Party is hosting a virtual shindig. The group is planning to broadcast the entire SOTU online and will then toss its 2012 presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, into the mix for a real-time Q&A about everything the country will have just heard. Sign up to participate via the GP Facebook page.

The Log Cabin Republicans are keeping a low profile. No marquee speakers or frenzied news conferences. But an aide tells HOH the group does expect to post something on its website and blast out an official response once Obama signs off for the evening.

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