Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 3, 2015

April 17, 2013

Chess Masters Four Moves Ahead of Capitol Hill

Trying to move policy in this town can feel a lot like watching a blindfolded scrum of well-dressed people play chess.

Appropriate, then, that a group of six master chess players will be in Room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday to play members, staffers and chess aficionados blindfolded.

Yasser Seirawan, the current grand master in residence at the St. Louis Chess Club and one of the leaders of the Capitol Hill event, explained how the chess games will unfold.

“Well the idea is, if you’re blindfolded, you have this image of the board in your mind, and what you have is a helper who says, ‘Your opponent makes this move.’ So, then you imagine that position in your mind,” he says. “Then you tell your helper, ‘Well, tell my opponent I’m going to take his bishop,’ and so on and so forth. That takes real mental agility,” he says. “That’s intense.” Full story

Partisan Detente at Bryce Harlow Dinner

The scene at the annual Bryce Harlow Foundation awards dinner is always a little otherworldly — by Washington standards. It’s a place where lawmakers laud lobbyists and Republican politicians unabashedly fete Democrats.

At the April 16 dinner in the heart of K Street, Sen. Jerry Moran, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, piled on the praise for Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., whom the Kansan pointed out is up for re-election next year. As NRSC chairman, Moran said, one of his responsibilities is to make sure Warner “is replaced by a Republican.”

No matter. He introduced Warner, who received the lobbying group’s 2013 Bryce Harlow award, which recognizes lawmakers who promote business and economic interests. Full story

One Heck of a Guy

It ended up being a Heck of a night. On the evening of April 12, a plane left Washington, D.C., heading to Las Vegas. A female passenger began to feel a bit woozy and her condition quickly escalated, so the flight attendants took to the intercom and asked the plane if there was a doctor on the flight.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., an osteopathic physician, an ER medicine practitioner and a heck of a guy, answered the call.

The congressman was led to the back of the plane to the galley, where the woman was seated. She said she was feeling lightheaded and a bit faint.

Heck took her vitals and figured she’d make it through the flight just fine. In a classy move, Heck decided to keep a close eye on her condition throughout the flight. Then he briefed the airport medical staff who met the plane to collect the patient.

According to Heck’s staff, neither the flight attendant nor the patient knew they had a member of Congress in their midst. Heck kept mum about his actions after getting off the plane.

Heck’s spokesman, Greg Lemon, tells HOH the staff learned of the whole event because another passenger gave Heck a very public atta-boy.

“I was proud to see our own Congressman Dr. Joe Heck step up and volunteer,” Rex from Las Vegas wrote to the Fox5 Las Vegas show “The Rant.” “A shout out to him, he made it look so routine!”

All Clear on Hart 7 1/2

Senate staffers in the Hart Office Building spent part of their morning stuck in a holding pattern after reports of suspicious packages shut down the first and third floors.

Meanwhile, it was business as unusual on one of the lesser known levels:

April 16, 2013

Juiced-Up D.C. Gin

When last we visited with nascent D.C. tastemakers New Columbia Distillers, their signature spirit, Green Hat Gin, was just beginning to trickle into the market.

My how they’ve matured.

The hometown hooch hawkers will be releasing their debut seasonal bottling — a 90-proof production punctuated by three types of citrus (pomelo, blood orange and lemon peels all pitch in), cherry blossoms, rosemary and pepper — on Saturday.
Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:33 p.m.

Washington Rock City

What do Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Rush, Heart and Reps. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have in common?

The first four are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday in Los Angeles.

The latter two are the lawmakers whom fellow House members should contact if they want to join the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus and get on the list for the group’s party next week, which will be thrown on Capitol Hill by the Hall of Fame.
Full story

Overheard on the Hill

“I’m ranking member.”

Senate Judiciary ranking member Charles E. Grassley, telling a horde of reporters Tuesday that he shouldn’t be mobbed over questions about guns and immigration.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:31 p.m.

Prelude to Panel Crashing

Before becoming the official mouthpiece of the deadbeat’s lunch circuit, Mr. “Panel Crasher” made a living for himself on Capitol Hill.

And he has some fond memories of life under the Dome.

The recently ousted wage-slave and mind behind told HOH he blew into town several years ago with nothing but a fascination with international affairs and national security at his back and an uncharted future ahead of him. Fortune smiled upon the 20-something Northeasterner, leading him to an internship in the House that eventually turned into a paying gig as a committee staffer.

Full story

McCain Between a Camera and Schumer

His war record notwithstanding, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is one brave man.

How so?

Because here, once and for all, is proof positive that someone was successfully able to get between Sen. Charles E. Schumer and a camera:



Here’s hoping McCain made it out of the driveway unscathed. (h/t Zeke Miller)

April 15, 2013

Lugar’s Knight Moves

Former Sen. Richard G. Lugar should probably go ahead and update his résumé on Tuesday. That’s when the Indiana Republican will be dubbed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire during a semi-private ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Full story

Take Five With Rep. Chellie Pingree

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress a little better by asking five fun questions all relatively unrelated to their legislative work. This week Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, tells us what’s on her playlist and who she’d want to play her in a movie of her life.

Full story

No Separation of Church and State When Tragedy Strikes

The twin blasts that rocked the Boston Marathon Monday sparked an outpouring of support from suddenly somber and reflective pols. The one thing they almost all defaulted to was prayer:
























We hear ya.

At Long Last, Spotify Returns to the House

The kinks blocking House members and staffers from accessing the popular music-streaming website Spotify have finally been ironed out, officially ending the two-month-long Spotify drought plaguing the House side of the Hill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office told HOH on Monday.

Those on the House side of the Capitol looking to listen to some tunes can access Spotify via the application’s Web client at, Cantor’s Deputy Digital Director Connor Walsh said.

Access to Spotify was blocked on the House network earlier this year due to concerns that the website could pose cyber-security threats.

After working to address the security concerns with the House Chief Administrative Officer, the House announced last week that staff could once again use Spotify to stream music while at work.

But staffers reported that access was still spotty, with many staffers still receiving the dreaded “WEBSITE BLOCKED” message that they’d received during the two-month Spotify ban. Full story

North Korea Has Some Growing Up to Do

World leaders might be getting worried about what North Korean leader Kim Jung Un is up to.

(Courtesy Facebook)

But some conservatives seem to believe wreaking global havoc remains just out of reach for the nascent despot.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...