Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

October 9, 2013

Congress’ Dueling Chaplains

Nine days into the first government shutdown in 17 years, members of Congress are not the only ones who cannot seem to reach agreement.

Following Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black’s remarks last week, asking God to “save us from the madness” of the shutdown, Black lambasted members again Wednesday morning for denying death benefits to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

“Forgive us for continuing to sow the wind even when hearing the sounds of the approaching whirlwind,” the former Navy chaplain said. “Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on far-away battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough.”

Black’s prayer contrasted with the offering from the House’s guest chaplain, Rev. Rob MacIlvaine, who praised members for their efforts.

“Father, I thank you for the heroic leadership that this House of Representatives has exemplified in the past week during this present crisis,” said MacIlvaine, who was sponsored by freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla. “I thank you for the late nights, I thank you their heroic efforts to seek compromise and I thank you for the creative solutions they’ve proposed. And yet Lord at present, there is no solution.”

By JM Rieger Posted at 5:10 p.m.
Reps, Sens

Anti-Shutdown Voices Giving Congress an F-Bomb

As the country continues suffering through the ideologically motivated government shutdown, advocates hoping for a swift resolution have reached their wit’s end. Many are done mincing words.

Cultivated Wit creative director Brian Janosch is helping the frustrated masses communicate extreme displeasure with the state of affairs via an expletive-fueled advocacy effort that rhymes with Yuck Fou Congress.

The undiplomatic portal that launched Tuesday provides a conduit for the mounting disgust with Congress, logging about 42,000 visits and 220,000 page views from fiercely disillusioned citizens so far. Janosch said they’ve already gone bicoastal, collecting online supporters from New York City to Los Angeles and from those across the pond (London’s in the mix).

In addition to vociferously savaging those whom Team FYC holds personally responsible for derailing our democracy — a burgeoning Republican roster featuring Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and Reps. John Culberson and Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas — the site urges visitors to join the fight however they can.

Tools provided include a link to a voter registration program (TurboVote), as well as a plug to support nonpartisan government watchdogs (Common Cause, Sunlight Foundation, Rootstrikers).

“We wanted three good examples of organizations looking out for public interests to get the ball rolling and to communicate that message that we’re not as powerless as we sometimes think we are,” Janosch said. Full story

CQ Roll Call Family Continues to Grow

The baby boom in the CQ Roll Call newsroom continues. John Irons, our graphics and layouts maestro, and his wife, Halimah Abdullah, have welcomed son Malcolm Ahmad Abdullah Irons to the world.

(Courtesy of John Irons.)

(Courtesy of John Irons.)

Malcolm clocked in at a healthy 6 pounds, 13 ounces on Sept. 27. Our tipster tells us both mom and baby are doing fine.

Malcolm was born on the same day as another newsroom kiddo, Michaela Rayne Trygstad, the first daughter of Roll Call political reporter Kyle Trygstad and his wife, Kelly.

October 8, 2013

Tim Griffin’s Son Tests Old Adage: Vote Early, Vote Often

John Griffin may be the youngest person to ever vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dressed in his Christmas-sweater-vest-best, John — the toddler son of GOP Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas — accompanied his dad to evening votes Tuesday.

And John, who looks to be about 3 years old, voted for about a dozen members.

(Screenshot via Twitter.)

(Screenshot via Twitter)

Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 9:43 p.m.
HillSide, Kiddies, Reps

Arrests Make Members Tardy for House Votes

The House started voting around 7 p.m., but a few of its most progressive members may still be tied up with the Capitol Police.

Eight members of Congress were among the 200 people arrested at an immigration rally on the National Mall on Tuesday afternoon. Among those charged with “crowding, obstructing, and incommoding” were Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, John Lewis of Georgia, Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, Joseph Crowley of New York, Al Green of Texas, Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Charles B. Rangel of New York.

Each will face a $50 fine for their civil disobedience on behalf of immigration reform.

Before being cuffed, Gutierrez vowed he and other members would “lose a few hours of our freedom to stand for justice for the children who are being put in foster care today because their parent was deported last night.”

The arrests began at approximately 4 p.m. on First Street between Maryland Avenue Southwest and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. As of 6:30 p.m., Gutierrez had not yet been released, according to Press Secretary Douglas Rivlin.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 7:17 p.m.

Bunny Man Puts the Fun in Fundraising

Tourists who wander along the closed-off stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the White House should, in theory, be used to seeing some pretty off-the-wall stuff.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Tuesday proved no exception.

“Look! It’s a BUNNY!” shrieked an out-of-town teen (the matching, dayglo t-shirts are a dead giveaway) — who will most likely return home with an Instagram feed chock full of pics of locked gates, barricaded monuments and traffic barrels festooned with yellow tape — upon spotting the sign-wielding character parading around outside POTUS’ pad.

The costumed crusader told HOH he was making the rounds to raise awareness about Purge Day, a fledgling movement that challenges everyone to unburden themselves of all negative thoughts once annually (next official observance: Aug., 20, 2014). Full story

Overheard: ‘Talk to Jay’

“I’m just going through my list, guys. Talk to Jay.”

President Barack Obama, referring any reporter complaints about who was being called on at Tuesday’s White House news briefing to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:16 p.m.

Welcome to the Party, Superdupercommittee!

Supercommittes need not apply. This is a job for the superdupercommittee.

This year’s intractable debt and shutdown fight requires a faster, stronger, newer supercommittee, according to House Republican leaders. Supercommittee simply won’t do. It needs a new name.

This isn’t just the opinion of HOH. Indeed, as soon as the news broke Tuesday that the House GOP would call for a bipartisan, bicameral committee to iron out differences, what was previously a joke around town — “Why don’t they create a supercommittee? Ha!” — became a legislative proposal. Full story

Louie Gohmert Fans Love Playing Fantasy Politics

According to President Barack Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, there have been no winners in the government shutdown that has paralyzed Capitol Hill and turned the District into a ghost town.

Guess they haven’t been keeping up with the growing number of Facebook fan pages where armchair campaign managers plot alternative power grabs by their dream candidate: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.



The Truth Dispatch publisher Trey Mays launched his “Gohmert for Speaker” platform on Oct. 3 and has been bowled over by the positive response so far.

“I’m kind of amazed that I’ve been able to get this many likes. I’ve never created a group or page that got this much,” Mays told HOH. Mays also said he’s only really been reposting content shared on Gohmert’s official page, plus some color commentary about the burgeoning flock he’s gathered. “I’m pleased with it.”

Mays said he’s emailed Team Gohmert about drafting a new “Contract With America”-style manifesto to realign the country with conservative values. So far he’s heard nothing but crickets.

“I haven’t been contacted by anyone yet. And I guess I don’t really care if I am or not,” Mays said of the radio silence. “But it would be cool.” Full story

NRSC in the Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Sure, its featured content will likely still make a blue stater see red.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has adopted a hot pink color scheme for the remainder of the month to honor the life-affirming work of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Along with a prominent “Donate” button at the top of the home page, the site is firmly in the pink. Even links to outside websites, archived material and tweets are outlined in the breast cancer awareness hue.

“This was a very simple effort to call attention to the fight against breast cancer and pay tribute to survivors across the country,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring told HOH of the show of solidarity. One thing that doesn’t appear to change, though, is the NRSC determination to paint the Senate electoral landscape red.

We haven’t heard much from Team Komen since it waved the white flag after getting caught in the crossfire of the 2012 election. Perhaps they’ve decided to steer clear of political controversy for a while.

October 7, 2013

Miley Cyrus Twerks GOP on SNL

Fresh off her headline-grabbing turn at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus set her sights on ripping the government shutdown a new one this weekend on “Saturday Night Live.”

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, took a metaphorical beating in the parody vid, prancing around in Cyrus’ signature skimpy gear and acting just as crazy, if not crazier, than the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus does in what passes for her real life. Full story

Steve Stockman Plans Ahead for 2014 State of the Union

Let it not be said that Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, isn’t thinking about the future.

In the midst of a government shutdown and a looming default on the debt limit, Stockman released this statement Monday: “Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) will announce Tuesday his invited guest to January’s State of the Union Address. Stockman’s guest to the 2013 address was musician and gun activist Ted Nugent.”

We eagerly await the announcement, although it will be hard to top Uncle Ted.

Rocker Nugent, right, was Stockman's guest at the State of the Union this year. How do you top that? Find out Tuesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Nugent, right, was Stockman’s guest at the State of the Union this year. How do you top that? Find out Tuesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pedicabber Shuttling Food Around During Shutdown

Self-propelled tour guide James Willett has apparently had a tough time shepherding potential fares into his pedicab during the ongoing government shutdown.

Thankfully, folks still gotta eat.

(Courtesy Carmine's)

(Courtesy Carmine’s)

According to a Carmine’s spokeswoman, the self-employed tourist wrangler has seen his business “catastrophically depleted” because of all the administration-mandated closures around town — particularly the suddenly inhospitable National Mall and historic monuments.

“He basically has to warn everybody, ‘I can go ahead and ride you by, but you can’t stop,’” the Carmine’s rep said of Willett’s politically inspired predicament.

When Jeff Bank heard about Willett’s dilemma last week on 94.7 Fresh FM (Willett’s mom was sharing his tale of woe with morning drive personality Tommy McFly), the Carmine’s CEO hired him on the spot, offering Willett the opportunity to pad his income by peddling around mountainous pasta dishes to carb-loving customers.

Willett jumped at the opportunity, tacking up the following thank you message on the rear of his ride for all to see: “Thanks Carmine’s for hiring me!! No longer a victim of the FURLOUGH ripple effect!!!!”

Somebody, Somewhere, Do Something

Fans of conspiracy theories about the puppet masters have apparently had enough, and they want everyone from the Masons to Google and the Knights Templar to fix the hurtling mess that we’ve come to call the U.S. government.  Full story

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