Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

March 4, 2013

Public to POTUS: Cut. It. Out.

Public to POTUS: Cut. It. Out.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the Monday after the sequester began to take effect. And the lights are still on! (Woohoo!)

More importantly, the Internet is still on — and that’s all any armchair lawmaker needs these days to broadcast policy prescriptions for a shinier, happier America. At least, that’s what we gathered from the latest slate of anti-sequester pleas posted on the White House’s “We the People” petition forum.

To be fair, President Barack Obama does sound like he could use all the help he can get with unraveling the across-the-board budget cuts that Congress agreed to last fall.

“I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue. … It’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction,” he told the press after convening the first Cabinet meeting of his second term. “I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everyone knows is the right way to do that.”

That’s nice, sir. But the vox populi wants its pound of flesh.

Full story

Bob Ney Eyes The Monocle for Book Event

Former Rep. Bob Ney, the former buddy to Jack Abramoff and powerful House Administration chairman who went to prison for his misdeeds, is back in Washington, D.C., to promote his new book.

“Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill” is being released Tuesday, and the Ohio Republican will be at the Senate-side restaurant The Monocle from 5 to 7:30 Wednesday evening to promote it.

“After some soul searching, a lot of aggravation, & some fun — IT’S HERE! Yes, I may need some bodyguards if I visit D.C.,” Ney tweeted recently, along with a link to the book.
Full story

Cherry Blossom Mania in Full Bloom

It’s official: The cherry blossoms are on their way.

If you, like HOH, were wondering about the lingering winter weather and distinct lack of springtime feeling around Washington, D.C., lately, worry no more.

Monday morning at the Newseum, the National Park Service announced this year’s prediction for the peak blooming dates of Washington’s famous cherry blossoms.
Full story

CNN’s Candy Crowley: She’s With the Band

World, consider yourself now enlightened to what everyone at the CNN Washington bureau already knows: Candy Crowley is a comic genius and game for pretty much anything.

To wit, her son Jonathan’s band, Vinyette, released a video over the weekend of her shamelessly promoting its new song, “Meatball Love Tone.”

In the video, the “State of the Union” moderator emotively explains over the phone her “Meatball Love Tone” fandom during the final moments before she goes on air.

Full story

Capital Pride Seeks ‘Heroes’ Nominations

Calling all Washington, D.C.-area Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists and supporters: Capital Pride, the nonprofit that hosts the annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival, is seeking nominations for its annual Heroes award.

The award — which will be given out at the organization’s Capital Pride Heroes Gala on May 29 – honors individuals who have worked to affect D.C.’s LGBT community in a positive way, either through bold-faced activism or quiet diligence. Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 1:30 p.m.

March 3, 2013

Prayer, to No Avail

If one believes in prayer, then the sequester didn’t have to come to pass.

Prayer warrior Rocky Twyman of the Pray at the Pump movement marched to the Capitol the day before the sequester hit, hoping to raise his voice with fiscally frustrated lawmakers anxious to circumvent the anticipated across-the-board budget cuts.

Turns out supplicants were in short supply.

“Our attempts to get congresspersons to pray were futile. Everybody had excuses,” he told HOH. “Congress is gone for the weekend. Nobody cares about us.”

Capitol Quip: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Capitol Quip: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson has submitted another image for your consideration this week. Submit your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists Wednesday to go before readers for another vote. We’ll let you know the five finalists Wednesday afternoon, and readers will have until 5 p.m. EDT, Thursday, to pick their favorite. See more.

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

D.C.’s Drunk History

Seems like no matter where you look — the multiplex or The New York Times best-seller list — the entertainment media is obsessed with President Abraham Lincoln.

Leave it to the bleary-eyed revisionists at Drunk History to swing the spotlight back to poor, forgotten Edwin Thomas Booth.

Anyone unfamiliar with “Drunk History” should have their pop culture scholar card taken away immediately.

The irreverent retelling of famous events — “This isn’t historically accurate. But this is what I think happened,” is how a punchy raconteur explains the Ben Franklin lightning storm story — has spawned nine consciousness-bending installments on Funny or Die and is heading to Comedy Central this summer for an eight-episode run.
Full story

Banned in the District: Fun License Plates

If you’re getting a new car and were hoping to show the town your personality via your license plate, think again.

A recent Freedom of Information Act request from brought to light the District Department of Motor Vehicles’ full list of banned vanity plate inscriptions, and boy, is the list long.

The document is 55 pages and contains thousands of prohibited puns, innuendos and double entendres of varied provenance.

Full story

Overheard on the Hill

“What Playboy was to most well-adjusted boys, National Review was to me.”

— National Review Editor Rich Lowry at a party for Robert Costa at the W Hotel

Jon Tester, Gym Rat?

With the double-secret-probation-style mystery shrouding the Senate members-only gym, outsiders are left to imagine what happens there, like whether Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., uses the treadmill.

This is precisely what HOH asked the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, in a wide-ranging sit-down interview about the gym.

“You know, I’ve seen him on the StairMaster, the rowing machine. Jon really pours his heart into it. He really goes at it hard,” Durbin said.
Full story

Capitol Quip: Winner Gets a Ticket to Ride

Capitol Quip: Winner Gets a Ticket to Ride

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 the Heard on the Hill blog. The author will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. See more.

March 1, 2013

Beyond the Beltway, McCarthy Opines on ‘House of Cards’

Even the actual House majority whip has thoughts about his fictional counterpart in the Netflix TV series “House of Cards.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told an audience in Sacramento that watching the propgram, the office occupied by Whip Francis Underwood looked familiar.

“I start watching this show and after the first couple of shows, his office starts to look like my office. There’s this map, right, sitting there. I look over on the wall, he’s got that whip sitting there,” McCarthy said, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Underwood, a cold and calculating South Carolina Democrat portrayed by Kevin Spacey, does not resemble McCarthy, which is part of the reason the real Congressman may have agreed to meet with Spacey.

“[Spacey] keeps calling my office and wants to know if I’ll sit down with him. I’m saying no because I know it’s not going to turn out well for me, right?” McCarthy said in California. “Well then they tell me he’s going to play a Democrat. I said, ‘Sure, come on in!”

Throughout the first season of the Netflix show, Underwood gets himself embroiled in one scandal after another in order to achieve his political goals. Oddly enough, Torey Van Oot, the Bee reporter on the case in Sacramento, has written no shortage of Congressional ethics stories herself: she covered the trial of then Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., as an intern for Roll Call.

Rubio Wonders Who Should Be in Senate Harlem Shake Video

On Friday afternoon Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., kinda, sorta offered to head the Harlem Shake caucus.

Rubio Wonders Who Should Be in Senate Harlem Shake Video

“If I put a [Harlem Shake] video 2gether in Senate who should be in it? Taking suggestions now,” Florida’s junior senator tweeted.

For those who might not be clued into to the ubiquitous Internet meme, Rubio helpfully included a link to the Harlem Shake repository.

Rubio’s office confirmed that the tweet and the Senate Harlem Shake idea were, in fact, the senator’s own. They said they have no comment at this time.

“Do you think it is going to happen?” HOH asked. “Can we be in it? We’ll totally make a fool of ourselves for an exclusive.”

“I think you’re getting ahead of yourself,” Rubio’s spokesman said.

Well, until we catch up with ourselves, our fingers are crossed that when Rubio gets back to D.C., he will immediately offer a motion to shake in the Senate, and that it will be agreed to by unanimous consent.

D.C. Journos Make ‘Em Laugh

It was a big night for the funny ladies of journalism.

The story from The Hamilton Thursday night is that young female journalists, especially those of color, are hilarious and killing it in this town.

While both the women and men who performed at the annual Commedia Dell Media event in front of 300 people had their moments of funny, the performers were quick, self-deprecating, laser-sharp, edgy and hilarious. Full story

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