Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

October 11, 2013

An Open Letter to the GOP

There we were, pacing around the White House compound searching for some ridiculous news conference promising words of wisdom from a pint-sized budget savior (the purported “lil superhero” never actually showed), when a scrap of what initially looked like litter fluttered across our path.


The hand-scrawled indictment was doing a little dance just outside the shutdown-shuttered Treasury building, twisting and twirling in the breeze like that impish grocery bag that broke up all the melodrama in “American Beauty.”

Its involuntary acrobatics made us, ever so briefly, forget about the ideological tug of war that’s kept the government on hiatus for going on two weeks.

Until, of course, we read the note.

The unidentified author really let the GOP have it, rebuking Republicans for abandoning the guiding principles of their forefathers in favor of the political flavor of the month.

“The Republicans have gone stupid … They will never again be the party of Lincoln … Stop your idiotic thinking just to stay with your group no matter what!” the unsigned missive raged.

HOH can’t help but wonder what would possess someone to pour their thoughts onto paper — Willard Intercontinental stationary, no less (Did they pause between bites of their $18 Angus cheeseburger to pen this? Or was the drafting done after the $9 pastry basket had been sufficiently picked over?) — and then casually discard the end product on the streets of D.C.

At the very least the mystery critic should have tacked the talking points to the door of the Capitol Hill Club, Martin Luther-style.

Congregation Implores Furloughed to Keep the Faith

Lest any left-by-the-wayside Hill staffers begin to feel that Congress is doing just fine without them:

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

This D.C. church wants you to know the Big Guy still loves ya. (Even if his minions have taken to bickering among themselves.)

October 10, 2013

Conservatives Clown on Affordable Care Act

The Twittersphere lit up Thursday with a litany of famous people, philosophical conceits and pop culture references that are theoretically #MoreSuccessfulThanObamacare.

The online venting tool, which runs the gamut from rehashing universally panned films (“Waterworld,” “Ishtar,” “Gigli”) to self-deprecating humor (lots of mentions of inadequate body parts, lost loves and flagging academic endeavors), was obviously intended to allow conservatives to blow off some steam about the health insurance changes they so clearly revile.

Most of the participants — particularly those who unloaded on congressional targets — tended to direct their vitriol outward. But at least one House Republican didn’t shy away from looking inward.

Politicians fragged by social-media shrapnel include: Full story

Progressives Want Wastoids to Ring Congress’ Bell

Revolution Messaging is enabling angry — and potentially plowed — constituents to reach out and browbeat someone via their shutdown-inspired engagement portal,



Keegan Goudiss, a partner at the mobile media firm, said the idea for the rabble-rousing project, which went live early Thursday, bubbled up to the surface amid the trickle of reports that House lawmakers showed up to vote on defunding the government with liquor on their breath and the flood of shutdown-related booze fests that have cropped up all over town. Full story

Flag Orders on Hold Thanks to Shutdown

Bad news, patriots. If you were looking forward to getting a flag that has flown in the Capitol from your local congressman, you’re out of luck.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

“Due to the continuing lapse in appropriations, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Flag Office remains closed. Flag requests will not be processed until the Flag Office reopens,” a downer message to the Capitol community from House Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel said today.

The flag may have been waving strong from everything from the War of 1812 battle that inspired Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner” to the present time, but it seems that the idiocy of a government shutdown can bring it to heel.

Pouring it on, Strodel also informs congressional offices, at least those that can check their email, that they “may also wish to inform consituents that all requests for flags will be delayed because of the lapse.” Fear not, those, there’s a money back guarantee! “To refund a constituent who paid by check, please submit a voucher to the Office of Financial Counseling in B-245 Longworth HOB. To refund constituents who paid by credit card, submit the Credit Card Refund Request Form,” he states.

As someone in HOH HQ said when we saw the news, “womp, womp.”

By Jason Dick Posted at 11:56 a.m.
DC, HillSide, Nationwide

October 9, 2013

Five Essential Captions to Choose From | 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. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Poor gal. She’s still carrying a torch for that no-good Uncle Sam.
  • Boy, those Federal employees sure have it easy!
  • Liberty on furlough.
  • It looks like SHE’s just as tired of Congress as WE are.
  • I guess it’s hard to keep standing for liberty when Congress deems you non-essential.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Oct. 14 and in the following day’s 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 6:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Shutdown Hasn’t Halted All the Sausage-Making in D.C.

Congress might have stopped pumping out larded-up legislation during the languishing standoff with the White House.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But that doesn’t mean everyone in town has given up on the art of sausage-making.

Over a dozen charcuterie fans made their way over to Union Kitchen on Oct. 3 to partake in Cured DC founder Chris Johnson’s step-by-step introduction to the wonders of meatpacking.

The epicurious group spent two-plus hours transforming a roughly 100-pound side of Old Spot pork into glistening, fat-studded links of Tuscan-style salami. Full story

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.

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