Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 29, 2015

July 17, 2013

Howard University Fights to Keep Trayvon Martin’s Memory Alive

A Florida jury has had its say on the devastating confrontation between armed, self-styled watchman George Zimmerman and the late Trayvon Martin. Now attendees at Howard University’s College of Medicine are firing back.

The perception-challenging pic is just the latest political statement from the historically black bastion of higher learning.

Howard students were also featured in this provocative video, released a month after Martin was killed in Sanford, Fla.

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., is also grappling with how to move forward in a world where Zimmerman has been cleared of any wrongdoing.  He’s urging Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to let Congress investigate the matter further.

July 16, 2013

Fire at Postal Museum Put Out Quickly

The District of Columbia Fire Department dispatched two trucks to the National Postal Museum at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday after smoke was spotted rising from a construction site on the south side of the building, according to an officer at the scene.

Fire at Postal Museum Put Out Quickly

First responders extinguished the fire at the museum within minutes. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

No one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished within minutes, the officer said. Police and fire officials are still investigating the cause.
Yellow police tape wrapped around streetlights on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and North Capitol Streets, preventing pedestrians from crossing while fire trucks were on the scene.

Congress Storms the Kastles

Congress Storms the Kastles

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Backhand-wielding lawmakers are expected to bounce over to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf (800 Water St. SW) Thursday night to play in a charity tennis tournament that will mark the first time some of them will have swung a racket in public in, well, ever.

A handful of members boasting varying skill levels have signed on to participate in the second annual Washington Kastles Charity Classic, a fundraiser benefiting the D.C. Public Education Fund, Food & Friends and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Tickets to the event — pre-game reception starts at 5:15 p.m., match play at 7 p.m. — start at $10, and are available via Ticketmaster or at the stadium.

Reps. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Charlie Dent, R-Pa., Donna Edwards, D-Md., Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., and Melvin Watt, D-N.C., will join former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., in team play (The Stars vs. The Stripes). Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:28 p.m.
Baller, DC

Congress Decoded: ‘My Good Friend’ and Others

With all the charged doublespeak clouding the air in both chambers these days (see: nuclear option, Senate and farm bill, House), we here at HOH thought this might be a good time for a refresher course on deciphering the often perverse lexicon of Capitol Hill:

1. Congressional phraseology: “My good friend”

Translation: “Gotcha now, you sonofab…” Full story

Suzan DelBene Dumps on Her Failed Flick

Cleaning up at the cineplex, by all accounts, takes hard work, talent, perfect timing and perhaps just a little bit of luck. Based on her characterization of an independent film she co-financed, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., appears to have come up terribly short in several of those departments.

Suzan DelBene Dumps on Her Failed Flick

(Courtesy Facebook)

Full story

July 15, 2013

Top Aide for Michele Bachmann Arrested on Theft Charges

U.S. Capitol Police have arrested a top aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., on charges of theft.

Capitol Police zeroed in on Javier Sanchez and arrested him on July 11 as part of an investigation of a string of thefts in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“Earlier this year the United States Capitol Police (USCP) was apprised of thefts that occurred in the Rayburn House Office Building. The USCP conducted an investigation and were able to identify a subject. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 37 year old Javier Sanchez of Virginia. The arrest took place on 7/11/2013. Sanchez has been charged with Theft II,” said a statement from Shennell Antrobus, the Capitol Police’s public information officer.

When asked if Sanchez was in custody and if there was arraignment or court date for him, Capitol Police said no further details were forthcoming at the current time.

A senior Capitol Hill law enforcement official said the arrest was for Sanchez’s theft of money from Bachmann’s office, and was unrelated to other burglaries in Rayburn. “Theft II” is used to classify when the value of the stolen good falls below a $1,000 threshold.

A request for comment from Bachmann’s office was not immediately returned.

Ted Poe Has a History With the Lone Ranger

Ted Poe feels pretty strongly about the Lone Ranger, and that’s just the way it is.

The Texas Republican confirmed his fanboy status in a fervent op-ed published Monday in some Texas newspapers, noting the recent release of “The Lone Ranger” movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp and averring his love of the masked cowboy and telling the improbable story of how he came to serve as the judge in a case involving Clayton Moore, the actor who played the Lone Ranger in the famous black-and-white television series.

Full story

Socially Conscious Ice Cream Scoopers Hit Recess DC

Socially Conscious Ice Cream Scoopers Hit Recess DC

(Courtesy Taharka Brothers)

The Baltimore-based ice cream making Taharka Bros. will be serving up socio-politically inspired sweets at Recess DC Tuesday night in the hopes of putting a cherry on top of a Kickstarter campaign geared toward landing them a food truck.

The “Ice Cream for Change” tasting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Recess DC (727 15th St. NW). Admission is free, but promoters are suggesting donations of $20 in order to help the entrepreneurs reach their $28,000 fundraising goal. A donation of $50 entitles guests to open bar access from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Although still a young company, the TB brand already extends beyond Charm City, including standing orders for their signature gourmet ice creams at Eatonville restaurant and the various Busboys and Poets outposts surrounding our area.

TB has also participated in the now-annual DC Scoop competition and plans to face off against fellow frozen treat purveyors later this month.

Full story

Take Five: Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his/her legislative work.

This week, Congress’ newest member, freshman Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., talks about life in D.C., farming in Missouri and college football.

Q. Having worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for about a month now, what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

A. How slow everything is working; serving at the state level for eight years in the House of Representatives there, you can usually see light in the tunnel pretty significantly and you can see things moving and getting done quickly, but it seems like everything is moving at a snail’s pace right now.

Q. You spent some time studying in Cambridge while in law school — if you could travel anywhere today, where would you go?

A. I would say Australia. It’s just a country that I’ve never traveled to, and I think it would be a good visit.

Q. You are a fourth-generation farmer — what is your favorite part of your family’s farm?

A. I’m the fourth-generation owner of our family farm. Being a farmer, I think, is pretty significant. … I have a strong interest in agriculture, let’s put it that way. The best thing about the family farm is that it’s been in our family for several generations and just to be out there. … I enjoy listening to the cows more than I do people yelling and griping in Washington, D.C.

Q. Speaking of D.C., what is your favorite part of the city so far in the time you’ve spent here?

A. The history of D.C. Knowing that you’re walking in the same halls that so many other former leaders of our country were walking in, I think that’s pretty significant — definitely the history.

Q. Will your Missouri Tigers bounce back this year in the SEC?

A. Absolutely. I compare the Missouri Tigers to myself, being a graduate of Missouri and being the newest member to Congress, and Mizzou is also the newest member of the SEC. I look at it from the perspective that a lot of people may be underestimating the Tigers, but they’re going to overperform this year.

By JM Rieger Posted at 1:29 p.m.
DC, TakeFive

Leader Reid, It’s Mark Sanchez on Line One

Hey, if Harry Reid can take a gratuitous knock at the University of Southern California football program, HOH can take a gratuitous shot at the New York Jets, amirite?

With that out of the way (sorry, Jets fans), we’ll get to the serious accusations the Senate majority leader launched against Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s alma mater — that they bought players! — which is sort of like that one time Mitt Romney paid an effective zero percent tax rate, except probably a little truer.

The Nevada Democrat spoke Monday morning at the Center for American Progress and made little to no news about the Senate’s filibuster standoff, but he did take a 20-second timeout to flash his sports acumen by making fun of a poor, unassuming intern from USC, who told the majority leader that he was mulling “switching sides” after Reid’s Trojan insults. Full story

After Year on Lam, Lujan Grisham’s Pup Comes Home

A year after her furry-footed friend scampered off into the great unknown, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has again found love — thanks to the good Samaritan who delivered her precious companion, Kiwi, back into her loving arms.

After Year on Lam, Lujan Grishams Pup Comes Home

(Courtesy Michelle Lujan Grisham)

The audacious Shih Tzu first interjected herself into Lujan Grisham’s life back in 2004, scampering into the New Mexico Democrat’s car on a fateful, rainy day. That same free spiritedness may have prompted Kiwi to burrow out of Lujan Grisham’s yard last summer, a breakout the avowed pet lover discovered after her two other dogs freaked out from repeated hot air balloon landings near the Albuquerque home. The great escape happened a mere four days after Lujan Grisham won a spirited primary for the Democratic nomination. Full story

July 14, 2013

Egyptian Spring Is Sprung | Capitol Quip

Egyptian Spring Is Sprung | 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. And check out our past winners on Pinterest.

Nuclear Summer in the Senate | Capitol Quip

Nuclear Summer in the Senate | Capitol Quip

Senators every few years or so take it to the brink over use of the chamber’s delightfully arcane and complicated rules and procedures. Members of the august chamber fret and fume and spit and claw, while the rest of the world tries to figure out what a motion to proceed is.

Let us know how you feel about the Senate’s latest version of the Cuban missile crisis by leaving your caption in the comments section below.

Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday evening.

The winner gets a signed print from illustrator R.J. Matson.

Looking for inspiration? Check out a lineup of our past winners on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

July 12, 2013

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Pregnant With Third Child

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers announced today she and husband Brian Rodgers are expecting their third child.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Pregnant With Third Child

McMorris Rodgers is expecting her third child this December. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Being a wife and mother have been the most wonderful and blessed experiences in my life.  For some time, Brian and I have hoped we would be able to have another child, so it is with great joy we announce that we are expecting our third in December,” the Washington Republican said in a statement.

McMorris Rodgers, who turned 44 in May, is the only woman to have given birth twice while serving as a member of Congress. She said in her statement she will continue to serve in her leadership position and will seek re-election in 2014.

“Both Cole and Grace were born while I was a member of Congress, so we will continue to balance the challenges of parenting young children and working – just like countless moms and dads all across America,” she said.

By Jason Dick Posted at 5:58 p.m.

Who Is ‘Dirty Harry Reid’?


Who Is Dirty Harry Reid?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We don’t think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office has any sway over the folks at “Jeopardy!” But the timing Thursday was just too ironic.

On the same day that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid presented plans to his caucus to change Senate precedent to curtail executive branch filibusters (which we’ve covered extensively over at #WGDB), “Who is Dirty Harry Reid?” made an appearance as a correct response on an episode of the top-rated quiz show program.

That question came in a before-and-after category that required the name of a current senator in each response to a clue. Reid was paired with the iconic Clint Eastwood character. One of the Senate’s other big baseball fans might be happier with the amalgamation involving his name.

The clue: “1970s pitcher whose name precedes a type of arm surgery takes a Senate seat for Arizona.” The correct response: “Who is Tommy John McCain?”

McCain’s Diamondbacks are all too familiar with the procedure to repair the ulnar collateral ligament. Pitcher Daniel Hudson recently visited Dr. James Andrews for his second Tommy John surgery.

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