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

July 3, 2014

Malia Obama’s July 4th Sweet 16

Malia Obamas July 4th Sweet 16

Malia, far right, turns 16 the same day as America’s birthday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the Obama family, Friday’s Fourth of July celebrations will also mark another milestone — Malia Obama’s sweet 16 birthday.

President Barack Obama made note Tuesday during a speech in Washington of Malia’s upcoming Independence Day birthday, with the president showing some apprehension as Malia begins to inch toward adulthood.

“With the Fourth of July on Friday — also Malia’s birthday for those of you who are interested — she will be 16,” the president said before beginning his remarks on the Highway Trust Fund. “A little worrisome.”

Turning 16 means Malia may soon be behind the wheel, as she will be at the minimum age eligible to obtain a driver’s permit in the District. Michelle Obama confirmed to Jimmy Fallon in February that Malia will indeed be on the road this summer, warning Washingtonians to “watch out.”

The Obamas have in the past marked Malia’s birthday in an array of locations, including on the campaign trail in 2012 and at Camp David in 2009.

Also in 2009, the president addressed military families on July Fourth in Washington as Malia turned 11 years old.

“When she was younger, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her,” the president said. “I’m not sure she still buys that.”

By Cady Zuvich Posted at 2:51 p.m.
FLOTUS, Kiddies, POTUS

Activists Petition Congress to Stick it to SCOTUS

Pray at the Pump Movement founder Rocky Twyman wants Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to step up and help him clean house across the street at the Supreme Court.

Activists Petition Congress to Stick it to SCOTUS

(Courtesy Rocky Twyman)

“Since the 2000 election that resulted in George Bush being selected as President of the United States, the Supreme Court has become highly politicized,” Twyman argues in his Change.org petition.

He cites polarizing positions such as the game changing Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, as well as controversial revisions to the Voting Rights Act, as evidence the judicial system has gone totally awry. “Because of these highly partisan decisions that enable individuals and corporations to virtually buy elections, we the people want to amend the Constitution of the United States and eliminate the unlimited terms of Justices to only eight years,” Twyman states.

Per Twyman’s plan, all future SCOTUS panelists would be term-limited to just under a decade at the highest court in the land, while any sitting justices who’ve presided longer than that would be urged to step down immediately. Full story

July 2, 2014

The Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 3 Minutes (Video)

From the opening stretches to Speaker John A. Boehner’s slow jam, watch members in all their glory as the Democrats capture their sixth-straight coveted Roll Call trophy in a 15-6 victory.

Vote for Your Favorite Thad Cochran Riding High Quip | Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Thad Cochran Riding High Quip | 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 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. (Note earlier time!)

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Don’t even say he’s riding high on the hog.
  • Praise the Lard, he won!
  • Who’s squealing like a stuck pig now?
  • Think we should tell him it’s not a horse?
  • No, I didn’t see it coming. I just thought that the pig would have been flying, too.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on July 7 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 Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:21 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Is it Live, or Is it Frank Lucas? Vote Study Suggests No Change

According to House hopeful Timothy Ray Murray, Rep. Frank D. Lucas is not who he says he is but a robot double, or some such thing. A look back at the Oklahoma Republican’s voting record begs to differ.

Is it Live, or Is it Frank Lucas? Vote Study Suggests No Change

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

A CQ Roll Call researcher examined the legislative positions staked out by Lucas since 1994, a decade during which his allegiance to the party line rarely dropped below 90 percent and his support for the commander in chief has fluctuated wildly based on who called the shots in the Oval Office.

Per the study, Lucas’ voting behavior since 2011 — the year in which Murray asserts Lucas, along with other unspecified members of the Sooner State delegation, was executed “by The World Court” in Southern Ukraine for unknown crimes — remains consistent with how the 11-term Oklahoman has routinely carried out his duties.

If anything, Lucas has displayed even more conservative tendencies, trimming his historically tepid support for President Barack Obama (all-time high: roughly 25 percent) from the upper teens to just barely above double-digits.

Hardliner or not, Murray insists he’s the only “man” left in this race.

“This is a situation similar to the Senators’ from Kentucky situation in the 2012 election,” Murray warns on his website (http://www.timothyraymurray.com/), somehow tying in Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the vast conspiracy of political replicants.

Murray did not respond to queries regarding when he planned to file a formal challenge to the June 24 primary Lucas handily won, claiming 83 percent of the vote to Murray’s 5 percent, nor did he name the other legislative doppelgangers he suspects have infiltrated the current congress.

Team Lucas, meanwhile, declined to comment on whether the disclosure would accelerate the plans of any robot/insect/alien overlords waiting in the wings.

July 1, 2014

In Washington, No One Can Hear You Sing ‘Oh, Canada’

Happy Canada Day! Or is it?

Ostensibly, July 1 is Canada Day, but you wouldn’t know that from the Canadian Embassy in Washington, nor the two members of Congress who were born in Canada: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Though the Embassy hosted visitors this morning, the latest feature on its website is a story from Monday about Ed Fast, Canada’s minister of international trade, protesting increased U.S. border inspection fees. The embassy’s most recent Washington-specific news post was “Celebrating Friendly Hockey Rivalries in Washington.”

 

Maloney, born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, visited Continental Organics, a New Windsor, N.Y., business in his district ”that focuses on hiring our wounded warriors. This innovative business produces fresh, locally grown food using a combination of aquaponic, hydroponic, and conventional organic field farming practices,” according to his tweets and Facebook page.

As for Cruz, the Calgary, Alberta-born tea party hero was busy ignoring our colleagues’ request for comment about his dual citizenship in the Senate Conservatives Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

If a country celebrated a day celebrating itself but no one knew, did it really happen?

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:37 p.m.
DC, FightingWords

Nick Troiano Goes on ‘Back to the Future’ Campaign With DeLorean

House hopeful Nick Troiano is hoping to secure his future this fall now by setting out on a comprehensive trek across Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district in a tricked-out DeLorean.

Nick Troiano Goes on Back to the Future Campaign With DeLorean

(Courtesy Team Troiano)

The independent pol’s “Back to the Future” tour kicks off on Wednesday with a visit to Barrett’s Pub, a well-established restaurant owned and operated by Shirley Barrett, the newly minted mayor of Archbald, Pa. Troiano then plans to spend the rest of the month crisscrossing the district’s 15 counties in the iconic automobile — which, per his staff, has been provided as an in-kind donation by a supporter — as part of an uphill battle to unseat two-term Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino.

Troiano’s planned trajectory includes:

  • July 2 , 5 – 8 p.m., Barrett’s Pub/474 N. Main St., Archbald: Assorted Yelpers endorsed the pizza, parted company on the quality of the wings.
  • July 3 , 11:30 – 1 p.m. , Mike’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant/Rt. 590 W., Lakeville: Family-run joint transplanted from New Jersey; per Yelp, it’s home to praiseworthy pies and incredibly garlicky subs.
  • July 4, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Emberz Restaurant/1 Lake Montrose Mall, Montrose: Local spot specializing in pizza, wings and all-you-can eat pasta.
  • July 5, 11– 1 p.m., Anthony’s Bar and Grill/31 Canton St., Troy: “They’re always willing to accommodate your food requests (even vegetarian!),” counsels one TripAdvisor user.
  • July 6, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Dale’s Café/3396 Pennsylvania 611, Bartonsville: Local eatery catering to daytime diners.
  • July 11, 5 – 7 pm., Hull’s Landing/27 Pennsylvania 442, Muncy: One D.C.-Metro expat swears by their Chesapeake wings and Buffalo chicken-style dip.
  •  July 12, noon – 2 p.m., Vince’s Pizza/311 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham: Yelpers could do without the hit-or-miss pizza, but they seem to stomach breakfast OK.
  • July 13, 11 – 1 p.m., Red Zone Sports Bar and Grille/34 Envision Dr., Mifflintown.
  • July 14, 8 – 10 a.m., Bitting’s Restaurant/16 N. 2nd St., Newport.
  • July 18, 11 – 1 p.m., Country Cupboard/101 Hafer Rd., Lewisburg.
  • July 19, noon – 1:30 p.m., Rocco’s Pizza/8 Fisher Rd., Selinsgrove.
  • July 20, 11:30 – 1:30 p.m., Pizza Town/530 S. Front St., Milton.
  • July 25, 5 – 7 p.m., The Brick Tavern/224 Main St., Blossburg: Per Yelp, it’s a greasy spoon with good coffee and a legendary fish fry.
  •  July 26, 5 – 7:30 p.m., Sullivan County Roadhouse/4741 U.S. 220, Muncy Valley: According to Team TripAdvisor, service has been steadily declining since July 2012.
  •  July 27, 11 – 1 p.m., Milford Diner/301 Broad St., Milford: more love than hate for this vintage diner from Team TripAdvisor.

Dying to shoot a selfie in front of Doc Brown’s mischief-making ride but don’t see your town on the list?

“There is some flexibility in Troiano’s schedule for additional stops,” Troiano spokeswoman Rachel Vierling assures HOH. “We will also be using social media to ask potential voters places they suggest we visit while in each county.” Full story

June 30, 2014

Coble Goes Mobile: Rep to Honor App Contest Winner

Coble Goes Mobile: Rep to Honor App Contest Winner

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., will be honoring the winner of the first-ever House Student App Challenge in his district at a ceremony in Greensboro on Tuesday.

The 83-year-old congressman, who will be retiring at the end of his term, does not carry a cell phone, but agrees the tech competition was a useful way to foster a passion for science and technology among the nation’s youth.

“I may not be tech savvy myself,” Coble said in a statement, “but I know the importance of these applications for our economy moving forward.”

The winner of the app competition in Coble’s district was Hunter Enoch, a recent graduate of Northern Guilford High School. Enoch’s app, “In-Game Rugby Manager,”earned him the top honors.

The competition was open to all high school students in participating congressional districts.

 

 

Fantasy Softball Winners Awarded Their Prizes

Fantasy Softball Winners Awarded Their Prizes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The women of Congress weren’t the only ones celebrating after this year’s sixth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Roll Call has announced the Fantasy Softball Challenge winners, and the top three entries received some coveted prizes.

As part of the competition, participants chose nine players from either team and earned points based on each player’s performance (10 points for a single, 20 for a double, etc.). Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:59 p.m.
Sports Desk

Franken Feasts on Minnesota State Fair Menu Items (Video)

The eating extravaganza that is the Minnesota State Fair may still be months away, but Sen. Al Franken is already beating the drum about the heart-stopping offerings that attendees will encounter along the midway later this summer.

 

 

The fair, which is scheduled to wreak havoc on Midwestern waistlines from Aug. 21 until Sept. 1, is expected to field more than two dozen new foodstuffs. Those debut taste sensations run the gamut from moderately healthy (all-natural, frozen fruit smoothie pop, anyone?) to downright deadly (breakfast Juicy Lucys forged from twin, cheese-stuffed sausage patties piled high on an English muffin).

Last year, the Minnesota Democrat bowed to his constituents’ wishes and sampled an order of fried pickles accompanied by chocolate dipping sauce:

According to a spokeswoman, Franken is excited to sink his teeth into a Bison Dog (hickory-smoked, pasture-raised buffalo link smothered in pickles and peppers). The adventurous aide, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to experiencing the “chicken in a waffle” creation. Full story

Bill Maher Finalizes ‘Tweet 16′ Bracket for #FlipADistrict

Comedian Bill Maher has narrowed down the list of congressional targets in his “Flip a District” campaign to oust Republican incumbents and elect Democrats.

Maher said on his HBO show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Friday that the “Tweet 16” bracket was complete with the addition of Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.

The comedian said DesJarlais is “a family values, pro-life guy who had affairs with at least six women in his clinic,” adding, “Please, Jesus, let it be this guy.” Full story

June 29, 2014

Thad Cochran Riding High | Capitol Quip

Thad Cochran Riding High | Capitol Quip

Sen. Thad Cochran overcame the odds to win a GOP primary runoff in Mississippi against tea-party-aligned Chris McDaniel last week, dashing hopes that insurgents could knock off the establishment appropriator and proud procurer of pork for his state. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

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

Let The Good Times Roll With Ted Nugent | Capitol Quip

Let The Good Times Roll With Ted Nugent | Capitol Quip

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. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

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

Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain

Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain

Akhter proposes to Hussain at the Jefferson Memorial. (Courtesy David Sims)

Assad Akhter planned his proposal before he ever even met the girl of his dreams. He just never thought he’d be able to pull it off.

He knew from the moment he interned in Washington as a college student that “one day I would propose at the Jefferson Memorial.” Soon after coming to work on the Hill as a staff assistant for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Akhter met David Sims, a photographer he decided would be the one to capture the moment. Sims at the time worked for then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.

Akhter bided his time until he met the right woman, who turned out to be  Saira Hussain, assistant vice president and counsel at BNP Paribas in New York City. The two had met at a legal event Hussain helped organize in Manhattan. Akhter found an excuse to introduce himself after meandering around in “semi-awkward conversation” at the back of the room.

“She had actually seen me speak at a networking event in the city a year earlier, thinking this would have left her impressed, I asked her what she thought of my performance. … Her response was polite but made clear that she was not exactly blown away by what she had heard,” he said.

Akhter persisted, and the two began dating. Soon after, his plan for the proposal started to take hold.

Akhter, now deputy chief of staff to Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, needed to get his girlfriend to the memorial.

“I knew she would be less than pleased if I had this moment immortalized while she wore the usual outfit of most memorial visitors: t-shirt and jeans. So I devised a plan whereby I told her that a very good friend of mine was having his wedding in DC and that I was in the wedding party and they were actually taking the pre-wedding photographs at the Jefferson Memorial, thus ensuring an excuse for needing to be there and dressed formally,” Akhter told Heard on the Hill.

It worked. On April 12, while the two were on their supposed stroll for fictional wedding photos, he got down on one knee and proposed.

Sims snapped these pictures, and Hussain said yes. A wedding is planned for this year.

 

Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain

Akhter and Hussain. (Courtesy David Sims)

Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain

(Courtesy David Sims)

 

Want to tell us about an engagement or wedding? Fill out our easy form.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 7 a.m.
Weddings

June 27, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23 (Video)

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John A. Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.

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