Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 1, 2015

September 9, 2013

Anti-War Activists Strive to Illuminate Capitol Hill

Anti War Activists Strive to Illuminate Capitol Hill

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A cadre of progressive organizations are urging those opposed to U.S. involvement in the Syria crisis to join their candlelight vigil Monday night just steps from the Capitol.

The demonstration, coordinated by, CREDO Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Win Without War, is expected to take place beginning at 7 p.m. opposite the Cannon House Office Building.

Those hoping to add their voice to the choir of naysayers can sign up here.

IOC Wrestling Reversal Draws Bicameral Cheers

With the Syria vote looming and a knock-down, drag-out fight on the federal budget and debt limit just around the corner, lawmakers will take whatever victories they can get.

Take the reinstatement of traditional wrestling to the roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which finally gave Congress something to rally around.

IOC Wrestling Reversal Draws Bicameral Cheers

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Wrestling is an incredible sport loved by many Minnesotans, including myself, and one whose athletes deserve the opportunity to participate at the peak level of Olympic competition,” former high school wrestler and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken trumpeted in a release. “I’m so pleased that the requests made to the IOC, including my own, to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport didn’t fall on deaf ears.”

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, who counted nearly 50 supporters in his corner for a bipartisan resolution chiding the International Olympic Committee for even thinking of pulling Greco-Roman grappling from the program, was also very relieved.

“The history of collegiate and Olympic wrestling runs through Iowa and we know that the determination and the hard work it teaches our kids provides them the skills it takes to succeed in life,” Loebsack asserted.

No word yet from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:43 p.m.
Reps, Sens, Sports Desk

Take Five: Suzan DelBene

Take Five: Suzan DelBene

Suzan DelBene" src="" width="445" height="296" /> (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work. This week, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., talks about her travels during recess, social media and the great outdoors.

Q. During recess you traveled with other members of Congress. Where did you go?

A. I went to Israel. [House Minority Whip Steny H.] Hoyer organized the trip and we went all over. It was an educational experience; we saw many different areas, from the southern part of the country and up north to the Lebanese border. We heard about the history of these places, which is important as we [head] back to Washington.

Q. What prompted you to want to be a member of Congress? You had several nice job titles before (Microsoft executive, Washington Department of Revenue director).

A. I had great opportunities despite financial struggles that my family went through growing up. I went to college with student loans and work study, and I believe that it’s important for everyone to have that opportunity. Folks are going to keep fighting for the chance for a better future, and I want us to preserve that. Full story

Is Illinois Teen’s Portrait a Political Statement?

To the casual observer, “Tea Party for One” may appear to be just another pic of a headless woman enjoying a proper cuppa.

Is Illinois Teen’s Portrait a Political Statement?

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But the longer we admired the award-winning portrait — which was produced by Geneva Community High School senior Avie Churchwell and now hangs in the tunnels beneath the Capitol, courtesy of Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. — the more questions poured into our gray matter.

  • Could Churchwell be jamming her paint-speckled thumb into the non-existent eyes of the leaderless tea party movement — the very entity that helped sweep Hultgren into office in 2010?
  • Is a single person enough to bestow “party” status on a gathering, conservative-themed or otherwise?
  • Do all teenage girls slog through life convinced they are totally invisible to the world around them?
  • How much must disembodied tea drinkers spend on dry cleaning? (That drink’s just going to go everywhere.)

Sadly, Churchwell did not respond to requests to discuss her haunting vision — a snub that left us feeling very much unfulfilled, invisible even.

September 8, 2013

Congress Lines Up | Capitol Quip

Congress Lines Up | Capitol Quip

Advocates of military strikes against Syria say that country’s use of chemical weapons is a red line.

Has the line shifted now that Congress is debating whether to authorize military action?

Let us know how members should navigate this question in Capitol Quip. Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section of our Heard on the Hill blog. Editors will pick five finalists on Sept. 11, and everyone can vote for the winner through Sept. 12.

Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

A Titanic Caption Winner! | Capitol Quip

A Titanic Caption Winner! | Capitol Quip

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

September 6, 2013

Rangel Suggests Nuking Poverty, Not Syria

Korean War veteran Rep. Charles B. Rangel has taken to cyberspace to plead his case for the battle he’d rather see waged than the planned attack on Syria.

The New York Democrat used the latest jobs report to call on President Barack Obama and his fellow lawmakers to focus on decimating domestic “poverty, joblessness, homelessness, income-inequality, and hunger” rather than raining down missiles on the Middle East.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:38 p.m.
FightingWords, Reps

Satirist Scored Award for ’80s Lobbying Spoof

Local funnyman Dave Nuttycombe — he of Washington City Paper and Travesty Films fame — recently discovered that “How to Lobby Your Congressperson,” a tongue-in-cheek vignette about wooing Congress that he helped craft a quarter-century ago, won itself a Telly Award.

No small feat, given that only the suits that commissioned the project probably ever saw it.

How to Lobby Your Congressperson from Dave Nuttycombe on Vimeo.

“It didn’t air anywhere. It was an in-house instructional thing,” Nuttycombe told HOH about the clip, which he explained was part of a broader package of actual ethics guidance.

“That was part of a longer program that actually did try to teach lessons in lobbying,” he said. “I was hired to do the comic relief.” Full story

Decorum Police Have No Beef With Rude Snacks

In a place where every single syllable uttered or character woven into a release is religiously parsed for ulterior meaning, hunger apparently trumps civility.

How else to explain the wealth of preservative-laden “Big Az” products that stare back at famished House staffers circling the Longworth vending machines in search of microwaveable sustenance.

Decorum Police Have No Beef With Rude Snacks

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

There’s the standard cheeseburger, a staple of truck stop deli cases and convenience store carousels. Full story

September 5, 2013

John Kerry Getting Shelled on Twitter About Syria

This whole Syria thing has spawned an army of armchair foreign policy experts who are not afraid to savage sitting leaders in pursuit of their own rhetorical amusement.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., got caught in their crosshairs earlier this week.

John Kerry Getting Shelled on Twitter About Syria

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State John Kerry is getting a taste of their wrath right now.

Online critics have launched a #JohnKerryWarMovies thread in which they float titles for fictional flicks lampooning the former lawmaker’s ongoing efforts to line up enough congressional votes to support President Barack Obama’s planned attack against Bashar al-Assad.

The combative creations include:

An homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal contribution to the horrors of war genre Full story

Waxman Challenger Sails Into the Fray

Entertainment-veteran-turned-House-hopeful Brent Roske spent his Labor Day doing exactly what he wanted to do: drinking beer on his boat with a bunch of like-minded revelers.

Waxman Challenger Sails Into the Fray

(Courtesy Brent Roske)

The only difference between this marathon bull session (per Roske, circa 200 guests mingled from 11 a.m. till close to midnight) and previous dockside shindigs is that, this time, partygoers were not just hanging with a pal. They were providing perspective to the aspiring pol, who is taking on Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

“The title of the job is ‘Representative.’ In LA, that means there’s room to have some fun,” Roske told HOH about the deliberately low-key affair, adding, “Celebrating Labor Day with swimsuits and beer is about as American as you can get.”

His would-be constituents couldn’t agree more.

“When Brent told me he was running for Congress, I knew it would be an unconventional campaign. Spending Labor Day weekend sailing and barbecuing, while talking about campaign finance reform and why we need to get out of Afghanistan, proved it,” comedian Ben Gleib said of a summer send-off fueled by edible Americana (burgers and hot dogs) and imported brews (Red Stripe, Dos Equis, Pacifico). Full story

September 4, 2013

Five Captions Run Aground | Capitol Quip

Five Captions Run Aground | Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Geez, who was steering that ship?
  • Here we go — from Baywatch back to the Planet of the Apes.
  • The one advantage of global warming!!!
  • What would America do without us?
  • Maybe if we rearrange the chairs …

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Sept. 8 and in the following day’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:22 p.m.
Capitol Quip

David Wu: Now More Than Ever

It’s been a while since we have seen our old friend, HOH favorite ex-Rep. David Wu, D-Ore. Good thing there was a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on such a weighty topic as war in the Middle East today to draw him out.

David Wu: Now More Than Ever

Is he in the seat that says “Reserved for former Members of Congress”? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


PO’ed Tweeters Pile On John McCain

In the 24 hours since he was caught sneaking a few hands of video poker during a Senate hearing attempting to hash out some way forward on Syria, outraged social media users have bombarded Sen. John McCain with some unequivocally brutal critiques.

The #JohnMcCainIsMoreUselessThan griping has been going full bore since Tuesday, with detractors incessantly firing off unflattering comparisons of the Arizona Republican to, well, everything.

The hit list of wasted efforts includes:

Senate hearings on Syria Full story

Cyber Lobbying on Syria Invades Andy Barr’s TV Time

From the looks of things, Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., just wanted to shut out the drumbeat of impending war for a little while on Tuesday night and cheer aspiring country crooner Jimmy Rose into the finals of “America’s Got Talent.”

No such luck.

Cyber Lobbying on Syria Invades Andy Barr’s TV Time


As soon as the Kentucky Republican broadcast his support for Rose, social media user @fermentation8 — whose own Twitter stream features a mix of political outrage (including regular shout-outs to tea-party-favorites Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky), pop culture worship (appears to be a heavily invested in AGT) and random pics of topless ladies — leapt into action, leaning on Barr to blow up President Barack Obama’s plan to teach Bashar al-Assad a little lesson.

Administration officials spent most of Tuesday courting Senate support for tactical strikes in Syria, and will plead their case before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday. Full story

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