Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 5, 2015

December 5, 2013

Chaka Fattah Preps New Public Affairs Show

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah will add TV personality to his résumé next year, spearheading a forthcoming public access show dubbed “A Capitol Idea with Chaka Fattah.”

The half-hour, public-affairs-style program is expected to air on the Pennsylvania Cable Network beginning Jan. 19, 2014.

(Courtesy Chaka Fattah)

(Courtesy Chaka Fattah)

Fattah taped his pilot episode on Dec. 4 on Capitol Hill, sitting down with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., for a heart-to-heart about manufacturing issues. A Fattah aide said the shows are expected to be split between a discussion with a policy/program expert and an interview with those affected by the corresponding issue.

Fattah expects to wrap the manufacturing segment next week, when he’ll bring a Philadelphia-area entrepreneur over to the House TV studio to talk business.

Debra Anderson, Fattah’s deputy chief of staff, told HOH the plan is to devote at least one episode to each of the congressman’s core priorities, a list that includes neuroscience, college preparatory programs, expanding cooperatives and youth mentoring.

“It’s just a different way to get the message out,” Anderson said of Fattah’s ongoing multimedia outreach. Full story

December 4, 2013

Def-Con 5 Captions | 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. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The hard part is trying to cover your behind!
  • How long, do ya’ think, until the voters signal the all clear?
  • Is this Mutually Assured Democracy?
  • The silence is deafening!
  • All safe to come out and resume fundraising now!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Sunday and in the following 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 6:25 p.m.
Capitol Quip

House Oversight Web Pages Snub Dems

Far be it from us to tell de facto GOP bloodhound Rep. Darrell Issa of California how to conduct his professional affairs, but it would seem he needs to haul at least one more individual before his truth-seeking panel: whoever dropped the ball on maintaining an accurate committee website.

It would appear that Issa, who has used his power as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to mercilessly grill administration officials about virtually everything, does not demand that same level of full transparency or accountability from his own staff — at least when it applies to dealing with the Democrats on the panel.

Although she was sworn in to office eight months ago and currently serves on various oversight panels, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who won a special election to replace recently imprisoned former lawmaker Jesse L. Jackson Jr., remains conspicuously absent from various rosters, including:



the full committee, Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:33 p.m.
Freshman, HillSide, Reps

Reps, Wizards Christen Horton’s Kids Hoops

“Do y’all know how to shoot any hoops out here in Ward 8?” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., asked the crowd gathered to cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished outdoor basketball court at the Horton Kid’s Community Resource Center.

Norton, along with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both congressional hoopsters, were on hand Tuesday evening to celebrate the court’s reopening, a project funded by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation — a charitable wing of the Washington Wizards organization — and the Hoops for Youth Foundation.

Wizards Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely attended as well as Wizards/Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Norton, back row, left, and Vesely, center and Porter helped christen the refurbished court. (Photo courtesy of Horton's Kids)

Back row from left, Norton, Vesely and Porter helped christen the refurbished court. (Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

Brenda Chamberlain, the executive director of Horton’s Kids, said the court will be put to good use. “This court gets used by hundreds of kids every day,” she said. Full story

The Post-Thanksgiving Judiciary Committee Gobbledy-Glock | Madisonville

Madisonville-Logo(185x185)The House Judiciary Committee this week sounded like the living room after Thanksgiving dinner. After loading up on turkey and stuffing, family members moved to the comfortable chairs and fell into familiar roles.  Americans travel far for the once-a-year chance to hear deranged in-laws and peculiar cousins vent. Judiciary decided the country wanted more of it in the week after Thanksgiving.

Republicans and Democrats tried beforehand to rein things in by promising to discuss the president’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws. But Uncle Robert W. Goodlatte, the GOP host from Virginia, dropped any pretense of even-handedness by immediately telling everybody the president not only wasn’t executing the laws, he was personally leading the gang breaking them.

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Uncle Bob cited Edward Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and Federalist Paper 47. He brought some neighbors in to back him up, and, in an upping of the Thanksgiving ante, put them under oath. The four neighbors’ collective publications and appearances on TV must have added up to thousands. So Uncle Bob thought he had conquered the living room right there. Full story

Greek Chefs Invade Congress

As part of a push to promote the Hellenic diet, the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building will be transformed into a “Mediterranean festival of feasting” Wednesday evening, featuring exotic foodstuffs prepared by headline-grabbing Greek chefs.

The “Greek Diet Goes to Congress” demo is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Embassy of Greece arranged for the invite-only festivities in conjunction with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairmen Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley.

“The Omega Diet” author Dr. Artemis Simopoulos is the headliner for the cultural exchange and he will be accompanied by a number of telegenic toques from all over. Some of those who’ll come bearing edible gifts include: Food Network personality Cat Cora, Zaytinya chef Michael Costa, local restaurateur Mike Isabella, Kapnos chef de cuisine George Pagonis and healthy eating advocate Katerina Stai.

A Think Food Group aide said Team Zaytinya would be serving olive oil-poached salmon with smoked walnut skordalia and pomegranate, as well as kale dolmades filled with butternut squash, pine nuts, short grain rice and parsley.

A spokeswoman for Isabella said the “Top Chef” alumnus was planning to woo tasters with marinated shrimp with fennel and grapefruit, melitzanosalata (featuring smokey eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, feta) and fava (yellow lentils, squash, spinach, pearl onions).

An embassy aide said Stai, who mostly works on kid-friendly eats, plans to dish out a modified pumpkin pie mixed with feta and wrapped in phyllo dough, and melomarakona — traditional holiday cookies fashioned from sugar, olive oil, honey, chopped walnuts, orange juice and cinnamon.

“This event will show that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor,” Simopoulous said in a release announcing the inaugural culinary extravaganza.

‘Tis the Season for Heckling at Capitol Tree Lighting?

From the minute Speaker John A. Boehner began his address at the Capitol Christmas tree lighting on Tuesday evening, his words were washed out by the chants of dozens of immigration advocates.

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, Giovanni Philip Gaynor, 6, of Colville, Wash., and Boehner are pictured shortly after they lit the Capitol Christmas Tree on the west front. The 88-foot Engelmann spruce was harvested from the Colville National Forest in Washington state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, Giovanni Philip Gaynor, 6, of Colville, Wash., and Boehner are pictured shortly after they lit the Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Front. The 88-foot Engelmann spruce was harvested from the Colville National Forest in Washington state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“All I want for Christmas is reform,” the demonstrators yelled. Ironically, news broke earlier in the day of Boehner’s hiring of Becky Tallent to be his new immigration policy director, a move widely regarded as showing the speaker’s willingness to pursue immigration legislation.

Despite the distraction, Boehner plowed through to talk about the Christmas season, and the 88-foot Engelmann spruce did, indeed, light up.

Capitol Police estimated the crowd to be about 1,000 guests on an unseasonably warm December day.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., was scheduled to lend comments before Boehner’s official address but canceled on Sunday after giving birth to her third child.

Fellow Washingtonians Reps. Jim McDermott and Doc. Hastings helped introduce the speaker.

By Anna Giaritelli Posted at 10:59 a.m.

December 3, 2013

Whose District Is It Anyway?

The first years after the decennial redistricting can be confusing for everyone. Case in point? Consider the situation of our CQ Roll Call colleague Frank Oliveri, a Bronx, N.Y., native who was talking Tuesday with Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., about the weekend’s deadly Metro North train crash.

Rangel, who knows his new district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Rangel, who knows his new district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rangel told Oliveri he was surprised that the train lacked automatic breaks. The two proceeded to the House subway and were joined by another New York Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Rangel informed Nadler, as he had told Oliveri moments before, that the crash happened in Rangel’s district.

“Serrano told me it was in his district,” Nadler said, referring to another New York Democrat, Rep. José E. Serrano.

“Well, he’s wrong,” Rangel said.

“Redistricting,” Nadler said.

“Redistricting,” Rangel said.

And the train went down the line.


Hot Dog Photo Bites Lindsey Graham

Who knew a food pic could be so polarizing?

(Courtesy Lindsey Graham)

(Courtesy Lindsey Graham)

Clearly not Sen. Lindsey Graham, who on Tuesday posted a seemingly innocuous snapshot of a pit stop at Skins’ Hot Dogs near South Carolina’s Clemson University.

“Lunch today at Skins’ Hot Dogs in Clemson … can’t beat it!” the South Carolina Republican boasted via Twitter.

While he was having his fill of pork and beef, the Web trolls raced to draw first blood. Full story

John Lewis, Top Shelf Productions Shower Congress With Free Comics

Top Shelf Productions, publisher of the top-selling graphic novel based on Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis’ contributions to the civil rights movement, is spreading the wealth this holiday season, gifting his congressional colleagues with a free download of digital versions of “March” and “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.”

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Lewis has spent the better part of the year sharing his debut graphic novel, the first in a planned three-part series, with the world. He broke ground by being the first sitting lawmaker to brave the wilds of Comic-Con, matched wits with a parade of cable talk show hosts (Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow) and has chatted up everyone from trained librarians to local readers.

This latest effort, however, appears to be more personal, as Lewis conveys in a note to be delivered to every congressional office today. Full story

December 2, 2013

Big John Cornyn Hangs Out on Google

In describing his typical week, Sen. John Cornyn said in a Google Hangout Monday that he’s “kind of a boring guy.” Outside of work, the Texas Republican said he likes to hunt, read and exercise, but he doesn’t want constituents to think he doesn’t like his job in Senate.

That squares with the “Big John” imagery of his last campaign’s advertising, but we digress.

“If you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work,” he said. Full story

Pols Post Up for Community Basketball Court Christening

Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., will join iconic District sports figures at the Tuesday unveiling of a new basketball court erected outside the Horton’s Kids Community Resource Center at 2500 Pomeroy Road SE.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Hoops for Youth sprung for the “modern” blacktop, which replaces a woefully run-down predecessor.

(Courtesy Horton's Kids)

(Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

“Most of the concrete was uneven and cracked,” a Horton’s Kids aide said of the dilapidated, single-hoop play area the local nonprofit had to contend with prior to the monthlong renovation.

Monumental CEO and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis will be on hand to help break in the new court, and he’s bringing along Wizards players Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely to, presumably, run a few drills with local youths. The official program will run 4-5:30 p.m.; after that, the open-air court will be available to anyone who wants to drive to the hoop. Full story

Capitol Jewish Forum Hosts 20th Annual Hanukkah Celebration

All of Congress is invited to mingle with members of the tribe Tuesday at the annual Hanukkah celebration hosted by the outreach arm of American Friends of Lubavitch, the Capitol Jewish Forum.

The all-inclusive party, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mike Mansfield Room (S-207) of the Capitol. All lawmakers and staff are welcome to attend. (Non-staffers must RSVP to by no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2.)

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch, said the event typically draws a few hundred guests, including leaders from both sides of the aisle.

(Courtesy LM Photography)

(Courtesy LM Photography)

“As they say, ‘Only in America!’” he quipped about being flanked at last year’s event by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

Shemtov said the festivities this year will be marked with plenty of fried latkes (plain, with sour cream and applesauce on the side), jelly doughnuts, live music and complimentary Hanukkah gifts (simple menorah, candles and a dreidel included in each set) for the kids.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to bring the festival of lights to the Capitol,” Shemtov said of the goodwill gathering.

District Taco Eating Crown Up for Grabs

Got any room left in the old hollow leg after all that Thanksgiving feasting?

District Taco is searching for whoever has the guts to try to break the current taco-eating record Tuesday night, at its debut eating challenge at the new(ish) Capitol Hill location.

Those interested in stripping food brawler Randy Santel of his claim to local fame — he polished off 18 tacos not a month ago — should RSVP ASAP via email ( or Twitter (@districttaco) to join the pool of aspiring competitive eaters. Then it’s just a matter of putting on your hungry pants and showing up at 656 Pennsylvania Ave. SE before the dinner bell officially rings. (Contestants should show up at the Capitol Hill location no later than 6:45 p.m. The actual taco eating is expected to commence around 7:15 p.m.)

Team DT launched the friendly eat-offs  several years back in Arlington, Va., and now hosts a new contest whenever another location comes online. Co-founder Marc Wallace, however, noted that anyone is welcome to brave the taco gantlet whenever they like.

“Any person can come in and pay $40 to challenge the record,” he said, adding that those who break the current record are automatically refunded the money and receive a $100 gift card to the restaurant.

The winner of Tuesday’s challenge, who will have to dispatch more than 18 tacos — served in flights of four, featuring a fully dressed breakfast (eggs, cheese, potatoes), carne asada (grilled beef), pollo asado (grilled chicken) and carnitas (pulled pork) taco each — in under 15 minutes, will be rewarded with a $100 gift card, a District Taco hat, a District Taco T-shirt and their photo on the wall of fame.

We here at HOH tend to believe a fresh roll of Tums might also come in handy.

Then again, we’ve never really had the stomach for speed-eating contests.

Christina Bellantoni Returns Home to Roll Call

If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter in the past hour, you will have heard the big news that former Roll Call Politics Associate Editor/current PBS NewsHour Politics Editor Christina Bellantoni is headed home to Roll Call to run the ship as editor-in-chief.

Here’s to you, Ms. Bellantoni:

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