Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 26, 2015

April 22, 2013

Girding Our Loins for Nerd Prom

The wild ride that is the White House Correspondents Dinner begins gaining steam this Thursday, picks up speed Friday night and barrels forward for the balance of Saturday before crashing into dueling brunches.

Anxious to hang — think open bar and endless finger foods as far as the eye can see — all week long? HOH has taken the liberty of plotting your itinerary. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:53 p.m.

Being There — 2013

This photo from our own Douglas Graham caught our eye on Monday:

Being There — 2013

A worker gets set up to start patch work on the  strip between Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)


It reminded us of one of the enduring scenes from the 1979 Hal Ashby film “Being There,” as Peter Sellers walks south on North Capitol Street.

Staffers Schooled on Veganism at CVC Lunch

About 200 Hill staffers were treated to a vegan lunch Monday afternoon by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Capitol Hill Vegetarian Caucus at a luncheon designed to spread the mantra of a plant-based diet.

Staffers munched on vegan items such as kale chips, cucumber gazpacho and grape leaves stuffed with a nut mixture, provided by the Washington, D.C., restaurant Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, and washed it all down with cupcakes provided by two-time Food Network “Cupcake Wars” champions Sticky Fingers bakery.

Staffers Schooled on Veganism at CVC Lunch

Full story

Anthony Weiner Peeks Head Out, Twittersphere Explodes

Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who, for some reason or another in 2011 abruptly resigned from office/bailed on the social mediaverse, burst back onto the scene Monday:

Anthony Weiner Peeks Head Out, Twittersphere Explodes


As expected, the Twitterati have been having a field day with this particular second coming Full story

Take Five With Rep. Doug Collins

It’s Tuesday, time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress by asking five questions relatively unrelated to their legislative work. This week, we talked with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., about his time as a chaplain in the Navy and Air Force, as well as his ambitions to be an astronaut.
Full story

PBS Takes the Constitution for a Ride

Forget the man-on-the-street shtick. NPR personality Peter Sagal became a biker on the beat during his almost two-month road trip across the country for PBS’ new historical series “Constitution USA.”

PBS Takes the Constitution for a Ride

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Rather than dwell strictly in the past, the four-part production — set to debut 9 p.m., May 7 — leapfrogs throughout time and space, giving the Founding Fathers their due while also checking in with modern man on what the living document that established this nation hath wrought.

Each installment bores down on a different tenet of the Constitution, including: freedom, individual rights, equality and the separation of powers.

In a highlight reel shown to attendees at a Capitol Hill screening last week, Sagal rolls from teachable moment to teachable moment aboard his patriotically appointed Harley. The opening sequence played like a cross between Dave Attell’s “Insomniac” and Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” with Sagal sucking down a few cold ones with everyone from heavily tattooed ex-Marine bikers in Arizona to bow-tied historians in Philadelphia.

Along the way, Sagal crosses paths with a who’s who of headstrong Americans, including: one of the original Little Rock Nine; Albert Snyder, the father of slain U.S. soldier Matthew Snyder, who sued Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred W. Phelps Sr., after the headline-grabbing group protested his son’s funeral; a proponent of same-sex marriage currently before the Supreme Court; and a Northern California marijuana grower named “Swami.”

“It’s going to enjoy a long life in classrooms across America for generations to come,” one of the series’s producers suggested.

Former social studies teacher cum Rep. Betty McCollum, meanwhile, was just happy she could finally share some work-related intel with the general public.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in this auditorium that I can talk about what I’m about to see here when I leave,” the Minnesota Democrat told those assembled in an auditorium usually reserved for top-secret security briefings.

April 21, 2013

Capitol Quip: Bulls-Eye!

Capitol Quip: Bulls Eye!

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.

Capitol Quip: 60 Votes or Bust!

Capitol Quip: 60 Votes or Bust!


Illustrator R.J. Matson’s latest cartoon needs a caption. With the Senate providing the public a civics lesson on filibuster rules recently, there should be ample fodder for captions.

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from Matson.

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

April 19, 2013

Al Franken Works the Middle-School Crowd

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who made his bones as head writer for “Saturday Night Live” and worked his way to federal office, knows how to work a crowd.

But it seems like the students from Mahtomedi Middle School of Mahtomedi, Minn., proved to be a very tough one, judging from how few appear to be giving him their rapt attention on Thursday in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building.

Al Franken Works the Middle School Crowd

Sen. Al Franken speaks to students. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ricin Man and His Trusty Dog, Moo Cow

By now you may have already heard the tale of the capture of Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator-turned-suspect for sending ricin to elected officials and who might also have believed he was being targeted for uncovering a refrigerator full of black market body parts.

But there’s always another side to every story and, the way Curtis tells it, it starts with a drive with a dog named Moo Cow. Full story

Mayor Rahm Emanuel in DC While Chi-Town Floods

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Thursday morning event at The Atlantic was canceled at the last minute due to the torrential rains and subsequent flood ravaging the Windy City. Yet, it doesn’t appear the mayor canceled plans to be at the White House on Friday.

The weather in Chicago was so horrendous that by Thursday afternoon, flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport were grounded or severely delayed. On Friday, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency in 38 Illinois counties, including Cook County, where Chicago is located, and the neighboring counties. And Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., was on the ground to see the devastation first hand.

By contrast, Emanuel was seen walking past the Westend Bistro in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Thursday night. On Friday, Emanuel went to the White House, which houses another famous Chicagoan, President Barack Obama.

According to the mayor’s office, Emanuel left Chicago Thursday morning. The mayor was in D.C. to participate in the (now-rescheduled) Atlantic event and to meet with former President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the launch of a new infrastructure taskforce.

The White House visit is just something he does whenever he is in Washington, said Sarah Hamilton, spokeswoman for the mayor’s office. Emanuel, Obama’s first chief of staff, and White House officials apparently catch up and chat about various issues having to do with Chicago.

As for whether the mayor is concerned about how it looks for him to be away while his city is under water, Hamilton assured us that he has stayed abreast of the situation, working the phones beginning late Wednesday night and receiving constant updates.

Meredith Shiner and Warren Rojas contributed to the report.

By Neda Semnani Posted at 2:52 p.m.

March? Madness!

Dear cannabis-worshipping political activists with a half-decade to kill — have we got the event for you.

According to online fun finder Eventbrite, the “1,000,000 Rastafarian Strong March” is scheduled to plow through the streets of Washington for 2,187 consecutive days.

March? Madness!


The rally, which is modeled after the headline-grabbing Million Man March, marks, as best we can tell, the second attempt by organizer Nijah Don to flood the nation’s capital with fellow Rastafarians. Full story

The Cold War Gets a Warm-Up

The Cold War Gets a Warm Up

(Jeff Watts/American University)

Ahead of negotiations between their countries’ heads of state, former Rep. James W. Symington, D-Mo., and Sergei N. Khrushchev, son of the late Soviet leader, provided some context on the Cold War and the relationship between the United States and Russia.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week scheduled two rounds of talks for September, hoping to thaw relations between the two increasingly distant nations.

Those discussions are likely to center on the range of issues separating U.S. and Russian policy, including human rights concerns, missile defense systems and the crises in Syria and North Korea.

The April 13 conversation between the former congressman and the son of the man who succeeded Joseph Stalin as the Soviet premier was as much a walk down memory lane as a detailed policy discussion.

“There are many anecdotes about Soviet life and it shows the difference between the democracy, where you have the rule of law, and the authoritarian state where you have the rule of personality,” the younger Khrushchev said in an interview at the symposium.

“My father — Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, he wanted to be recognized as equal, and you know that the United States doesn’t want to recognize anyone as equal,” he said during his remarks. “And if you are not recognized as equal, you are challenged at opposite sides.”

“We have to understand that the Cold War is a natural transition in the global history from the period where we resolve our problem between superpowers,” he said.

Symington, an old foreign policy hand, presented a slide show of photographs from time he spent as a youth traveling in Soviet Russia. “There I am, standing around, looking important,” he said to laughter from the audience.

“The youngsters I met at Moscow University and others, they were ready to go. And they were curious about America,” he told HOH. “They were a downtrodden bunch of folks, but full of spirit.”

American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture hosted the symposium in honor of John F. Kennedy’s 1963 commencement address in which he called for peace between the superpowers.

An ice sculpture and Russian and American music from the 1960s welcomed attendees as they entered the Katzen Art Center, where the university hosted a reception after the panel. Caterers served hors d’oeuvres inspired by Russian cuisine, such as non-alcoholic Moscow mules, pickled vegetables two different types of pirozhki.

Vegetarian Caucus Hosting CVC Lunch

A little more than a month after organizing a push for more diverse vegetarian and vegan options in Capitol Hill cafeterias, the Vegetarian Caucus will host a luncheon April 22 to inform congressional staffers about the “benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.”

More than 200 Hill staffers have signed up for the event, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is co-hosting the luncheon. The meal will feature a flavorful menu of kale chips, cucumber gazpacho, grape leaves with tzatziki sauce and reverse osmosis water.

Staff in attendance will hear from Elizabeth Kucinich, director of the PCRM and wife of former Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. Both Kuciniches live vegan lifestyles, and pushed for better vegetarian and vegan options in Capitol Hill cafeterias during Kucinich’s time in Congress.

Vegetarian Caucus Hosting CVC Lunch

The Kuciniches follow a vegan lifestyle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 12:29 p.m.
Food, HillSide

Take Me Out to Truckeroo

Take Me Out to Truckeroo

(Courtesy Two DC)

It’s been an unbelievably taxing week.

If you, like us, could use some serious decompressing, the first Truckeroo of 2013 may be just the respite we’ve all been waiting for.

The monthly food truck jamboree kicks off today opposite Nationals Park. (The team is up in New York tonight to challenge the Mets.)

No charge to hang (cornhole, live music), but pay-as-you-go in terms of the various vendors  (you-name-it cuisines, cold beers).

The festivities kick off at 11 a.m. and, weather permitting, will keep rolling until just before midnight.

Get your weekend on, y’all!




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