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

November 16, 2014

Capitol Quip Dances in the End Zone

Capitol Quip Dances in the End Zone

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.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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

November 14, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 10 (Video)

Despite the short work week, members still managed to discuss airbags, baseball and Mitch McConnell’s age while dressed in madras.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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Tim Ryan Concentrates on Keeping Mindfulness Around

Rep. Tim Ryan is expected to share his thought-provoking life hacks with the Zen seekers assembling in Arlington, Va., for the Mindful Leadership Summit.

Tim Ryan Concentrates on Keeping Mindfulness Around

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ryan, who has urged colleagues to take better care of themselves, is scheduled to be interviewed about his own contemplative practices Nov. 14 at 4:45 p.m.

According to the Ohio Democrat, everyone — moms, dads, corporate CEOs, fellow pols — can make a difference by becoming more attuned to the modern world.

“I think everybody’s a leader today. We’re all dealing with the same challenges of information overload and constant connection to our work,” he told HOH.

Full story

Lawmakers Line Up Behind Veteran Retraining Efforts

Pols from different sides of the aisle are lockstep when it comes to the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping disabled veterans break into the financial services field.

During its six-year run, the program — which revolves around a six-month residency focused on advanced education, fieldwork and mentoring — has helped nearly 80 retired military personnel pursue alternative careers.

“This makes all the sense in the world. The skill sets that our military have … lead to success in the financial services world,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said as he rallied attendees at a Capitol Hill reception he co-chaired with Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, and Republican colleagues Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio and Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey. “[And] we’re still not doing enough.”

Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Scott Peters, D-Calif., circulated amongst the WSWF alumni and Franklin Square Capital Partners execs (their company co-sponsors the WSWF project) on hand to network.

Lawmakers Line Up Behind Veteran Retraining Efforts

Rep. Scott Peters listens in during a reception on Capitol Hill for the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

Female Senators Meet for ‘Power Workshop’

Female Senators Meet for Power Workshop

Mikulski holds court at the “Power Workshop.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Right at the border between the House and the Senate sits a hideaway office, adorned with two chandeliers and pictures of past female senators.

Future and current women of the Senate ascended the Capitol steps to the glittering room after the final votes Thursday evening for the “Senate Women Power Workshop” hosted by the dean of the Senate women, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.

“Hellooo, sorry I’m late!” Mikulski was overheard saying as she entered the room. From outside the tall wooden doors, one could hear Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., respond, “I’m Shelley.” Full story

November 13, 2014

Jerry Moran Brings ‘Under New Management’ Cake to GOP Lunch

Jerry Moran Brings Under New Management Cake to GOP Lunch

Moran with an “Under New Management” cake outside a Senate Republican lunch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jerry Moran borrowed a page from a fellow Kansan Thursday to celebrate the Republican takeover of the Senate.

The outgoing National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman brought a decorated cake for the enjoyment of his fellow senators to the Republican Conference lunch in the Lyndon B. Johnson room. ”Under New Management” the cake blared in frosting, along with an exterior photo of the Capitol Dome.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 4:09 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Sens

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

From the Drive-Thru to Congress: The Fast-Food Caucus Dishes

Apart from her immediate family — and, perhaps, the hog castrators of the world — no one appears to be prouder of Iowa Republican Joni Ernst than those she used to break bake bread with.

Hence the reason Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, rushed to congratulate the one-time breakfast-rush worker and senator-elect in a splashy ad in the Des Moines Register.

From the Drive Thru to Congress: The Fast Food Caucus Dishes

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Thanks, Joni, for reminding us that, in this great country of ours, your job and your life are what you make of them,” the head of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains praised in the ad, after Ernst touted her biscuit-making past in her election night victory speech.

Her ascension to Capitol Hill follows a career trajectory familiar to the growing number of lawmakers who dedicated parts of their youth to slinging burgers and fries at various grab-and-go establishments.

Other members of what we’ve dubbed the Fast-Food Caucus include:

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

An aide to the 2012 GOP vice presidential pick confirmed that the Wisconsin Republican briefly worked at McDonald’s during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school.

According to his office, the former grill cook — “The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” Ryan told the New Yorker — gleaned plenty from the experience.

“Congressman Ryan learned the value of hard work — a lesson that continues to help him in Congress today,” Team Ryan said. And before being elected to the House, Ryan further honed his hospitality skills working at Tortilla Coast.  Full story

November 12, 2014

Capitol Quip Presents: You Make the Call

Capitol Quip Presents: You Make the Call

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. Eastern Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • As always, prevent defense never works.
  • They make the Redskins look good!
  • A victory for the players but where are the cheering fans?
  • I gave up sports to cover politics, but I can’t seem to shake that Crimson Tide.
  • Looks like the Blue Team’s getting “Double Spiked!”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Nov. 16 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.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:54 p.m.
Capitol Quip

STEM Researchers to Dazzle Teens, Lawmakers With Science

A handful of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellows are making the most of a whirlwind trip to D.C., huddling this week with administration officials and education-minded solons all in the service of stoking the analytical minds of tomorrow.

The quintet of Ph.D holders — Katie Brenner, biochemistry; Livia S. Eberlin, chemistry; Jennifer Laaser, polymer physics; Lauren O’Connell, chemical ecology; Sabrina Stierwalt, astronomy and astrophysics — have been brought to town by L’Oreal USA as part of its “For Women in Science” program.

In addition to pocketing $60,000 in research grants, the multi-talented fellows are getting VIP treatment up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The group was expected to touch base Wednesday with representatives from the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of Science and Technology Policy before bouncing over to the National Museum of Natural History for a behind-the-scenes tour of the gems and minerals collection.

They plan to make the rounds on Capitol Hill early Thursday (tentatively set to visit with Congressional STEM Education Caucus members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.) before broadening the horizons of two dozen local teens during a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The last stop of the public relation roller coaster is the For Women in Science Awards Ceremony set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Women in the Arts museum.

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Jim McDermott Marshals Support Around ‘Korengal’

Ex-Navy psychiatrist-turned-Rep. Jim McDermott will attempt to kick-start a conversation about veterans’ mental health issues by hosting a screening Thursday of the Afghanistan war-tracking documentary, “Korengal.”

Event organizers have scheduled an opening reception for 6:30 p.m. in the Congressional Auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center, with a 7:30 p.m. screening to follow. They will also host a panel discussion with McDermott, filmmaker Sebastian Junger and representatives of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors afterwards. Interested parties may RSVP via email (jack.dannibale@mail.house.gov) or by phone (202-430-0311).

The unflinching film, which follows directly in the footsteps of Junger’s earlier, award-winning effort, “Restrepo,” explores the horrible toll modern combat exacts from those stuck on the front lines of the decade-plus long war on terror.

“You do terrible things. Then you have to live with them afterwards,” one soldier explains on camera.

A McDermott aide said the Washington Democrat has been working with Junger and Vietnam War veteran turned author Karl Marlantes for the past few years on establishing a national commission on veterans intended to help unburden battle-scarred warriors.

“Today, we are seeing too many casualties among American soldiers in their transition home.  In light of this crisis, Congress must act,” McDermott counseled in a release.

Related:

In ‘Korengal,’ Junger Closes the Book on Afghanistan

Film Captures Afghanistan’s Toll

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:57 p.m.
Flicks, HillSide, Reps

Congressional Baseball Game Players Designated for Assignment

Congressional Baseball Game Players Designated for Assignment

Bishop, seen here at bat, won’t be back for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baseball’s offseason can be quite cruel. Events that take place far from the baseball diamond alter rosters and the fortunes of teams. So it goes with the Nov. 4 elections, which bumped two incumbent members of Congress who won’t be back for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game this coming summer.

Already, the GOP roster was set to lose Rep. Jack Kingston, who lost a Senate primary bid in Georgia and knew early he wouldn’t be returning for the 114th Congress. Election Day wrought further havoc for both rosters as Reps. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., and Vance McAllister, R-La., lost their re-election bids. Call them the Designated for Assignment Caucus.

Bishop will leave a hole at third base for the Democrats and was a veteran bat and glove for manager Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle’s squad, which has won six straight games against the GOP team.

McAllister, elected to Congress in a special election in November 2013, has only the one game of experience, but it was a memorable one. He was able to get a hit off of his home-state colleague, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, the Democrats’ star pitcher.

Speaking of whom, Richmond has a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, which will require surgery. He has vowed to return to the mound next year, but such injuries and the recovery time can be tricky.

And there could be drama over in the GOP dugout, stinging from so many losses as of late. Earlier this year, the Republicans’ long-time manager, Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas, withstood grumblings about his tenure and a shadow push to replace him with a fellow Texan, Rep. Roger Williams, a former professional baseball player. Barton survived, all the while ceding some decision making to Williams.

Now that Williams has given up, for now, his interest in taking over the National Republican Congressional Committee, he might be tempted to go full bore for the only leadership position left to him: Skipper of the GOP baseball team.

The offseason drama continues.

Related:

Cedric Richmond Has ‘Every Intention’ of Pitching Next Year

Complete Coverage of the 2014 Congressional Baseball Game

Williams Won’t Challenge Walden For NRCC

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November 11, 2014

Thundering Herds Expected Wednesday for Bison Day Fest

The bison lobby is storming back onto the Hill Wednesday for its annual congressional reception — a celebration of things large, lumbering and mammalian.

The National Bison Day shindig (NBD was actually on Nov. 1, but this is close enough for government work, right?) is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Dirksen 106. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to RSVP via Eventbrite.

One of the sponsors told HOH this year’s festivities would include complimentary bison sliders (courtesy of Western Buffalo Company), bison meatballs (a new addition to the program), bison-shaped cookies and samples of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s barrel-aged wares (everything’s coming up Kentucky!)

Amateur photographers can also snap away at the planned Beards for Bison “selfie station.” Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of the 2014 Campaign Season (Video)

As news outlets tracked the best campaign ads of the 2014 cycle over the past seven weeks, HOH kept tabs on the other activities which kept your elected officials busy, including arguing with constituents, reciting Greek history and reading mean tweets.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 10, 2014

Diran Lyons Rings Obama’s Bell

Pop culture slicer-and-dicer Diran Lyons has pieced together a new video wherein President Barack Obama maintains a laser-like focus on just two things: razing hell and sinking putts.

Mad props to Fox News Channel personality Megyn Kelly for contributing that killer quivering lip.

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