Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 24, 2015

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May 4, 2015

Robin Kelly’s Version of ‘Cheers’

Robin Kelly’s Version of ‘Cheers’

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Robin Kelly plans to kill two birds with one stone Thursday — celebrating her 59th birthday (again) and raising some coin for her campaign coffers — during a little get-together at Bocce’s Bar and Grill.

Although the second-term Democrat already marked her actual nameday (April 30) in the office (“Staff did surprise her with her favorite coconut cake,” Team Kelly said of the vanilla-frosted, shaved coconut-covered centerpiece procured from Harris Teeter.), the suburban Chicago watering hole (3909 Lincoln Highway, Matteson, Ill.) got the nod to serve as host for a second round of festivities.

The fundraiser (tickets start at $29 per person) is scheduled to take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Robin Kelly’s Version of ‘Cheers’

(Screenshot)

“Bocce’s is her ‘Cheers.’ She has celebrated many occasions there from her husband’s birthday to sorority events. But, really it’s the everyday normalcy of Bocce’s that she loves,” a Kelly aide told HOH about the congresswoman’s affinity for the local hang-out. “It’s her favorite place to go and spend time with friends and neighbors who’ve become an extended family over the years, people who know her as just ‘Robin.’” Full story

April 30, 2015

Taste of America Returns for 2015

Taste of America Returns for 2015

Mark the calendar: Roll Call’s Taste of America 2015 food-on-food competition returns soon. Will Utah’s cherry cobbler repeat? Or will West Virginia’s pepperoni roll restore glory for the Mountain State? Full story

April 29, 2015

Pols to Put Their Best Feast Forward at Gourmet Gala

Attendees at the March of Dimes’ Gourmet Gala Wednesday should expect to see some new faces peeking back at them from behind the congressionally run tasting booths scheduled to dot the floor of the National Building Museum.

Pols to Put Their Best Feast Forward at Gourmet Gala

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The annual fundraiser is typically one of the better-attended events of the season, garnering bipartisan support from newcomers and cook-off vets alike.

When the curtain rises at 6:30 p.m. for this year’s dine-around, a number of novice contenders are expected to spoon-feed the philanthropic community their best awards bait.

Per an event aide, the roster of first-time “chefs” includes: Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., Chris Coons, D-Del., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, David Perdue, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va., as well as Reps. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga. Full story

April 27, 2015

House Aide Saves ‘Black-ish’ Star From Embarrassment

House Aide Saves ‘Black ish’ Star From Embarrassment

Perhaps Lewis’ heroism inspired Aydin over the weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic staffer-turned-graphic artist Andrew Aydin graduated to full-fledged superhero over the weekend, swooping in to extract “Black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross from a ridiculously sticky situation.

The gallantry unfolded right in front of HOH as the two passing acquaintances — “Congressman [John] Lewis and I met Ms. Ross in Chicago when we were all on ‘Windy City Live’ on the same day,” the House aide shared, providing a peek into the star-studded alliance he’s cultivated since helping to pen the Georgia Democrat’s autobiographical graphic novel, “March” — exchanged pleasantries during a White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner shindig.

Full story

April 25, 2015

In the Trenches with Chris Johnson: WHCD Edition

With all the haters throwing shade at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, HOH couldn’t help but wonder whether any of our fellow reporting brethren still get anything (other than a vicious hangover) out of the booze-soaked weekend.

Sure, critics are convinced the event has devolved into an orgy of media one-upmanship. And the crush of celebvocates paraded around at corporate-sponsored parties does tend to steal most of the thunder from the actual journalists being feted.

Then again, sometimes one simply must embrace the absurdity of it all.

At least that’s what Chris Johnson, the White House reporter for the Washington Blade, did a few years back when he came face to face with former Sen. Rick Santorum.

In the Trenches with Chris Johnson: WHCD Edition

(Courtesy Chris Johnson)

Full story

April 24, 2015

Prayer Warriors Want WHCD Refocused on Community Service

Pray at the Pump founder Rocky Twyman Friday plans to put the screws to all the revelers floating around #ThisTown for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner by publicly petitioning President Barack Obama to prod the host journalists and visiting celebrities to pursue more worthwhile causes.

Prayer Warriors Want WHCD Refocused on Community Service

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Special prayers will be offered for our partying White House correspondents whose news organizations are spending millions on impressing Hollywood stars instead of using money for investigative stories that impact the nation,” Twyman said in a release announcing his intention to picket outside the White House from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Full story

April 20, 2015

Listen Up, D.C.! Here Comes the White House Correspondents’ Jam.

If getting the ear of Washington was half as easy as coaxing accomplished writers who moonlight as rockers out from behind their laptops and up onto stage, Mother Nature Network Co-Founder Chuck Leavell might very well already be running #ThisTown.

Between his musical stature (the veteran keyboardist is gearing up for another tour with the Rolling Stones) and environmental advocacy bona fides (he’s testified before Congress about forestry issues), Leavell seems like the ideal get for the celebrity maelstrom the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has become. Instead of waiting around for others to court him, the budding media mogul is wooing music lovers via the inaugural White House Correspondents’ Jam.

Listen Up, D.C.! Here Comes the White House Correspondents Jam.

(Courtesy Mother Nature Network)

Leavell recruited five correspondent-fronted bands — Fortune Senior Editor-at-Large Brian Dumaine, Esquire scribe Tom Junod, CNBC Senior Economics Reporter Steve Liesman, New Yorker Editor David Remnick and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Mark Rozzo are all slated to play with their respective outfits — to blow the doors off the Fairmont Hotel (2401 M St. NW) on April 24 from 7 to 11 p.m.

“Politics can get really heavy. This is an opportunity for everyone to say, ‘Hey! It’s just rock and roll,’” Leavell told HOH. Full story

March 16, 2015

Maine Pols Think Tom Moser Might Just Make It in D.C.

Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins are slated to help christen Thursday the latest showplace carved out by artisan furniture maker Tom Moser.

A one-time college professor turned full-time craftsman — “He was a professor of rhetoric, of all things, at Bates [College],” King told HOH — Moser has built a second career for himself by creating highly coveted conversation pieces for the home and office.

Collins and King are tentatively scheduled to attend the ribbon cutting at his new shop (1028 33rd St. NW) Thursday from 6:30-9 p.m. The invitation-only affair is expected to feature  “Made in America” tasting stations, specialty drinks and the opportunity to win a limited edition, hand-signed American flag cobbled together from different woods (Maine maple for the white stripes, Pennsylvania cherry for the red stripes and Missouri black walnut for the background to the stars). Full story

February 4, 2015

Novelty Bourbon Delivery an Uncompromising Success

Lawmakers from across the Capitol poured into the Willard Hotel Tuesday to honor the unique flavor bourbon has contributed to Congress.

Novelty Bourbon Delivery an Uncompromising Success

House Speaker John A. Boehner shares a laugh with Rep. John Yarmuth. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The feel-good presser was the brainchild of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association; the former provided historical context while the latter kept the predominantly Southern crowd in good spirits.

Novelty Bourbon Delivery an Uncompromising Success

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

February 2, 2015

Symbolic Bourbon Barrels Toward D.C.

It may not be happening in the Oval Office, but master distillers from Kentucky are making their way to Washington Tuesday to supply Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with a self-styled bourbon summit.

The participating purveryors, working in conjunction with the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship, loaded up the “Bourbon Barrel of Compromise” in Lexington, Ky., Monday and sent it on its way to D.C. for a planned reception/tasting event scheduled to take place at the historic Willard Hotel.

“It was a bourbon geek moment,” Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory said of the intoxicating feeling of watching the commemorative cask roll out on route to the nation’s capital. Full story

January 16, 2015

Laser Cat May Just Take Your Breath Away

Follow Friday. Feline Friday. Whatever you want to call our weekly tumble down virtual rabbit holes, there’s no escaping the fact that you MUST pledge allegiance to Laser Cat.

An amalgamation of music, art and animatronics, Laser Cat is scheduled to shower Yards Park with all kinds of visual funkiness next month. The eye-catching experiment, which has so far been nurtured by the Barcelona-based visionaries known as Hungry Castle and the Art Directors Club, thrives on a steady diet of fan-submitted art, fun-loving DJs and global destinations.

⚡️ Laser Cat Brooklyn ⚡️ from Hungry Castle on Vimeo.

Full story

January 6, 2015

Members Party Down on the First Day of New Session

Having already posed for the obligatory pictures, placed their hands on the good book and weathered a nail-biter of a leadership challenge (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, voted for … himself! Newcomer Curt Clawson, R-Fla., endorsed … Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul), the members of the 114th Congress dove right into what #ThisTown does best: schmoozing.

Six-term Sen. Charles. E. Grassley wandered across the Capitol to greet incoming delegation member Rod Blum, but just missed his newly minted colleague.

Members Party Down on the First Day of New Session

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I’m going to go find out where my boss is right now,” a Blum aide assured the senior Iowa Republican. Full story

December 16, 2014

Eleanor Holmes Norton Hosts 25th Annual Kids’ Holiday Party

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., will once again open up the halls of Congress to the District’s disadvantaged youth on Wednesday, injecting some cheer into the holiday season by hosting her annual Capitol Hill Holiday Party.

Eleanor Holmes Norton Hosts 25th Annual Kids’ Holiday Party

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The festive gathering, scheduled to take place in 345 Cannon from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., is being put on in conjunction with the UPO Inspire Foundation, a charitable organization that works to empower local families. According to Team Norton, this year’s gathering will feature gifts for the attending children as well as a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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December 15, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Dec. 8 (Video)

With holiday jet fumes in the air, Congress spent its final full week of 2014 on “The Colbert Report,” strategizing for bar fights and telling their favorite Dick Cheney quail hunting stories.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

December 2, 2014

Booze Crews Toast Mark Amodei, Linda Sánchez

Booze Crews Toast Mark Amodei, Linda Sánchez

Sanchez will be toasted for her bipartisanship. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Beverage slingers are raising their glasses to Reps. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., for being so darn agreeable.

The House lawmakers have been named the 2014 Congressional Bipartisanship Honorees by Constellation Brands. According to an organizer for a Beer Institute-hosted event that will fete the duo, the two got the nod  “for their willingness to engage constructively and respectfully with members of the opposing party.”

A commendable trait, to be sure — even if their respective voting records don’t seem to reflect said open-mindedness. Full story

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