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July 1, 2015

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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.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(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.

(Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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

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December 2, 2014

Booze Crews Toast Mark Amodei, Linda Sánchez

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

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

Overheard: Sink or Swim With Joe Manchin

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“We go out in the middle of the Potomac, and that way nobody can jump or swim. They’ve gotta talk.”

— West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III shares the secret to the bipartisan shindigs held aboard his houseboat on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 26, 2014

Illinoisans Invited to Toast Statehood Day

The Illinois State Society is throwing down on Dec. 3 in the Capitol Visitor Center for Illinois Statehood Day. And any Land of Lincolners looking to get their Prairie State on are welcome to partake.

Illinois Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk is expected to host the reception, which is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in HVC 201.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cmdr. Jess Porter, future skipper of the USS Illinois — a nuclear submarine in the making — is slotted to be the guest of honor. Kirk is a former Naval reservist himself.

If you hail from the state, or work for someone who does, register now (via the Illinois State Society page) to enjoy free food and drink.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 17, 2014

John Dingell, Carl Levin to Be Honored With LBJ Award

Rep. John D. Dingell speaks with reporters (File Photo by Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

Dingell, left, will be honored along with longtime colleague Levin. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

Fifty years ago, Rep. John D. Dingell stood next to President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signed the Civil Rights Act. He had already clocked in nearly a decade in the House at that point.

On Tuesday, Dingell and his longtime Michigan colleague, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, will be honored with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for years of public service in the name of the Texas POTUS’ legacy of civil rights.

Put together, the two Democratic lawmakers have more than nine decades of experience representing the Wolverine State in Washington.

Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, was elected in 1955 and is retiring at the end of this year. His wife, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, will take his seat in the new Congress.

Levin was elected in 1978 and will retire at the end of the 113th Congress as well.

“I consider my votes to advance the Civil Rights movement throughout the ’50s and ’60s among the most important votes I’ve cast in my 58 years in the House of Representatives,” Dingell said in a statement.

Levin, who said driving a taxi during law school helped introduce him to people from diverse backgrounds, served as general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in the ’60s. The foundation cited his support of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and his stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policies as modern-day civil rights achievements.

The award ceremony will be held Tuesday at the Newseum. Bob Schieffer of CBS will be the master of ceremonies. Proceeds will go toward the LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center.

Nineteen members of Congress and one representative-elect are expected to attend, including the two honorees. The list includes Debbie Dingell; Levin’s brother, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich.; Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.; Corrine Brown, D-Fla.; Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Steven Horsford, D-Nev.; Gene Green, D-Texas; Dan Kildee, D-Mich.; and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Related:

John Dingell to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Dean John Dingell’s Office on Display

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 13, 2014

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

November 7, 2014

Bend the Elbow With Northwesterners at Annual Beer Fest

The state societies for expats from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are once again taking over the North Hall of Eastern Market to celebrate their favorite regional export: craft beer.

The annual “Go West Beer Fest” is scheduled to take place Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature, for the very first time, signature pours from Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company.

Non-members can get a taste of what they’ve been missing by forking over $30 — a fee which has, in past years, entitled guests to unlimited pours from participating breweries (Redhook, Big Sky and Deschutes).

According to one organizer, mobile vendors DC Slices (specializing in thin crust pies and fully loaded tater tots) and Dirty South Deli (grilled Andouille sausage and pimento cheese sammie, please) have been tasked with making sure that visiting bellies remain full.

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November 5, 2014

Mark Warner and the (Almost) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night

ARLINGTON, Va. — After stringing a hotel ballroom full of supporters along for over four-and-a-half hours — and, himself, being kept in the dark about his professional future by nebulous return results — Sen. Mark Warner made an executive decision to call the still-undecided race in his favor.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., (right), joined on stage by fellow Virginia Democrats Sen. Tim Kaine (far left) and Gov. Terry McAuliffe (left), signals victory as minutes before midnight on Nov. 4 as his wife, Lisa Collis (far right), looks on. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Warner, right, joined on stage by fellow Virginia Democrats Sen. Tim Kaine, far left, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, signals victory as minutes before midnight on Nov. 4 as his wife, Lisa Collis, looks on. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I think we know about close races in Virginia,” the battle-scarred incumbent — who fell 5 points short of knocking out his predecessor, now-retired five-term Sen. John W. Warner, back in 1996 — joked with guests just minutes before election night furiously ticked to a close.

The 11th hour appearance (literally) was weirdly scored. Who puts the Pitbull-Kesha collaboration “Timber” and Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight” on the same playlist? And the yawning victory party (one bored-to-tears photog played solitaire for two hours straight) transpired regardless of the fact that network news anchors continued reporting that things were too close to call in the contest between Warner and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie.

Even as the rest of the electoral map broadcast by CNN perilously flooded with red, ardent supporters attempted to keep their cool. Full story

Election Night Partyers Drink It All In

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Keeping tabs on the shifting electoral landscape is much easier to do with a drink in your hand. At least that’s what HOH took away from the spirited exchanges we encountered in D.C. on election night 2014. At a watch party in The Jefferson Hotel organized by owner Connie Milstein, guests were greeted with warm smiles and air kisses — and then immediately hustled into a faux voting booth.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“Now that you voted, you can go to the bar!” one of the evening’s bubblier hostesses informed guests who’d just finished casting their ballots for those they’d most like to see run for president during the next cycle. Full story

November 3, 2014

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

Election night 2014 is looking like it’ll be a nail-biter.

With so many variables in play — Will the Affordable Care Act ultimately prove detrimental to Democrats’ professional health? Who will independent candidates caucus with on Capitol Hill? How long (and how many runoffs) before we divine the next Senate majority leader? — one might be tempted to grab a drink, catch a movie and perhaps wait for “The Daily Show” recap on Wednesday, rather than suffer through umpteen hours of wall-to-wall news coverage.

But that’s not how #ThisTown rolls, is it? Full story

October 14, 2014

DC Vote to Celebrate Pro-Democracy Efforts at Annual Gala

The autonomy-seeking advocates at DC Vote — a District-minded group backed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton — plan to honor the Herb Block Foundation Wednesday for continuing to nurture the spirit of democracy.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to organizers, the 2014 Champions of Democracy Awards Gala is scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets to the fundraiser — which is also expected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D.C. Home Rule — are $175 per person.

“Americans living in our nation’s capital raise families, pay full federal taxes and fight and die in wars but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate,” is how DC Vote summarizes its mission to defeat the disenfranchisement faced by local residents.

Norton is scheduled to serve as honorary chairwoman of the annual fete, an event that has historically attracted fellow pols such as Rep. José E. Serrano, the New York Democrat who made an appearance at the group’s 2013 get-together. Full story

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