Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 27, 2015

March 24, 2015

Take Five: Rep. Derek Kilmer

Take Five: Rep. Derek Kilmer

Kilmer. Big “Star Wars” fan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., discusses his “Star Wars” obsession, the pros and cons of winning a jalapeño eating contest, and teleportation.

Full story

March 23, 2015

Rep. Raul Ruiz Welcomes Twin Girls

Rep. Raul Ruiz Welcomes Twin Girls

Raul Ruiz)" width="188" height="335" /> Ruiz with his wife, Monica, and twins Sky and Sage. (Photo courtesy Rep. Raul Ruiz)

Rep. Raul Ruiz, the California Democrat and doctor known for saving ailing passengers on airplanes, can now add a new role to his resume: dad.

Ruiz and his wife, Monica, welcomed twin daughters, Sky and Sage, over the weekend, his office announced Monday afternoon.

Full story

Date Set for Congressional Golf Tournament

Date Set for Congressional Golf Tournament

Phil Gingrey works his way out of a sand trap during the 2011 tournament. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Get excited: The 14th annual First Tee Congressional Challenge is scheduled for Monday, July 27.

This year, Roll Call has promised a shiny new trophy for the winners.

Full story

O Can He Sing

O Can He Sing

Now-Secretary of State John Kerry played in the Congressional Hockey Challenge in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mike Sommers, chief of staff to Speaker John A. Boehner, is not Canadian.

But the top aide to the House leader from Ohio has a hard-to-explain love for the national anthem of our True North neighbors. He’ll let it shine on Wednesday at the 2015 Congressional Hockey Challenge.

Full story

Hot Button Time Machine: Dan Mitchell’s Budget Tips

With House and Senate Republicans readying the horses for trading in the hopes of taking a victory lap after reconciling their competing spending priorities, HOH elected to check in with keen political observers about what has to happen to salvage the perennially doomed budget negotiations from ultimate ruin.

Approving a symbolic funding blueprint — it is non-binding, after all — and following through with the corresponding appropriations bills have over the past few decades largely become passé on Capitol Hill.

Hot Button Time Machine: Dan Mitchell’s Budget Tips

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., chairman of the House Budget Committee, concludes a news conference Monday in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama enjoyed one year (2009, his first in office) of unified support for his budget, but since has seen congressional leaders pass the buck via highly politicized continuing resolutions or desperation-move omnibus bills.

Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at Cato Institute specializing in fiscal policy, would love to see that trend reversed.

But that, he projects, will take time. Full story

HOH Word of the Week: Politician

“A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead 10 or 15 years.” — President Harry S. Truman explaining a very important distinction (and why he was happy to be in the former camp) in 1958 per “The Political Bible of Humorous Quotations from American Politics” by Rich Rubino.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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

March 19, 2015

Mark Takano Schools Marco Rubio on Net Neutrality

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., may seem like a nice guy, but he went all “Mr. Hand” on Sen. Marco Rubio over the Florida Republican’s op-ed on net neutrality.

Takano, a Harvard graduate and former public high school teacher, took to Facebook Thursday and scorched the presumed 2016 GOP presidential candidate, giving him an “F.” Full story

Grammar Cops to White House: Spelling Counts

Convinced that the relationship between President Barack Obama and the unified Republican Congress simply could not get worse?

Oh, please. As long as there’s spell shaming to be done, of course it can.

One Washington Post scribe noticed recently that White House communicators had a helluva time putting out press releases last month. (Damn you, February!)

The shop doesn’t appear to be making incredible strides. Full story

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hill’s Past

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hills Past


The only thing better than celebrating a birthday is celebrating it all year long. Roll Call is turning 60, and we’re doing a whole bunch of stuff to mark six decades of covering Congress.

That’s why we’re doing congressional trivia for #ThrowbackThursday via the @rollcall Twitter feed. Follow along there!

Miss the previous iterations? Find them here and here.

Now get started on the next round, crafted from Roll Call’s archives.

Q:Who set a new record for being the longest-serving member in the House on Jan. 6, 1992?

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hills Past

The front page from the day that Rep. Whitten broke the record for longest time in office.

A: Rep. Jamie Whitten, D-Mass., won the honor after serving 50 years, two months and 14 days. He still holds the title as the fifth longest-serving member of Congress. He retired three years after breaking the record. Retired Rep. John D. Dingell currently holds first place, with 59 years and 21 days of service. The top 10 longest office holders are all Democrats.

Q: What is a Lenny Skutnik?


#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hills Past

The front page of Roll Call after the incident, praising Skutnik.

A: A Skutnik is someone who performs an act of heroism and, as a result, is invited to be a guest at a State of the Union address or other meeting of Congress. Why a “Skutnik?” The term comes from 1982, when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed moments after takeoff from Washington National Airport. The plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge before falling into the Potomac. Lenny Skutnik, who was an employee at the Congressional Budget office, jumped into the ice-riddled river to rescue one of the crash survivors. President Ronald Reagan mentioned Skutnik in his State of the Union address, and a tradition was born.


Q: What famous hotel ran ads in several issues of Roll Call from 1964 to 1968?

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hills Past

An advertisement for the “Water Gate Inn” in 1964. Their claim to fame? Popovers.

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Knowledge of Capitol Hills Past

Advertisement for the Watergate Hotel a few years later.
















A: The Watergate Hotel. Originally called the “Water Gate Inn,” the first examples of an ad list the address as “On-the-Potomac-At-F, NW.” The ad says the inn is famous for its popovers. Not anymore! In 1968, the hotel, which had changed its name, was marketed as, “A truly lovely place to stay, to meet and entertain.”

Do you have a suggestion for future questions? Other fun stuff found in your stack of newspapers? Let us know by emailing christinabellantoni – at –


#tbt: Roll Call Interviews Bill Clinton as Lewinsky Scandal Breaks

#tbt Trivia: How Well Do You Know Congress?

#tbt Trivia: Test Your Congressional Brain

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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

By Megan Evans Posted at 11:30 a.m.

Lawmakers Have Their Own NCAA Bracket Challenge

Lawmakers Have Their Own NCAA Bracket Challenge

Boehner posted his Roll Call bracket on Instagram. (Screenshot)

Occasionally, members of Congress are just like the rest of us.

Wander around the Capitol the next few weeks and you’re just as likely if not more  to see TVs tuned to the NCAA tournament as to C-SPAN or cable news. And this year, some top lawmakers are having their brackets put to the test in a Yahoo! group arranged by friend of HOH and Roll Call alumna Meredith Shiner.

Full story

Special Olympics Athletes Get Face Time With Members

Special Olympics Athletes Get Face Time With Members

Special Olympian Jason Gieschen shows off his medals during a visit to Congress in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than three-dozen Special Olympics athletes from around the country visited members of Congress Wednesday for the organization’s 12th annual Capitol Hill Day.

The athletes were seeking funding to expand the Special Olympics’ school-based program, Project Unify, which pushes for more sports being made available to children with intellectual disabilities across the country. The additional money would also go toward improving the health screening and education for Special Olympics participants. Full story

By Megan Evans Posted at 10:40 a.m.

#tbt: Roll Call Interviews Bill Clinton as Lewinsky Scandal Breaks

#tbt: Roll Call Interviews Bill Clinton as Lewinsky Scandal Breaks

In a photo printed on the front page of Roll Call on Jan. 29, 1998, Clinton delivers his State of the Union address. (Rebecca Roth/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Monica Lewinsky scandal unfolded on Jan. 21, 1998, President Bill Clinton went ahead that afternoon with three scheduled interviews with PBS, NPR and Roll Call, which were originally set up to boost interest in his upcoming State of the Union address.

Below is the article published above the fold in Roll Call the next day, Jan. 22.

Clinton: Relationship Was ‘Not Sexual’

Intern Allegations Won’t Lead to Impeachment, President Tells Roll Call

By Ed Henry and Morton Kondracke

President Clinton yesterday denied that he had a sexual relationship with a former White House intern in an exclusive print interview with Roll Call.

“The relationship was not sexual,” Clinton said in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon. “And I know what you mean, and the answer is no.”

Clinton said that he did not ask the intern, Monica Lewinsky, “not to tell the truth” about their relationship.

When asked whether the investigation will ultimately lead to his impeachment, Clinton replied, “Well, I don’t believe it will. I’m going to cooperate with this investigation. I’ve made it very clear that the allegations are not true.”

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr reportedly is investigating whether Clinton and his close friend, Vernon Jordan, urged Lewinsky to lie about whether or not she had a sexual affair with the President. Starr is investigating allegations of suborning perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), whose committee would initiate the impeachment proceedings, said yesterday if Starr verifies the authenticity of these charges, “impeachment might very well be an option.”

But the President insisted to Roll Call that he did not try to cover up anything. “I did not ask anyone not to tell the truth and I’ll cooperate,” Clinton said. “So I think that there will be a lot of stirring and a lot of speculation about how all this was done and what it portends. You all will handle this as you will. I’m just going back to work.”

When asked whether the Lewinsky scandal would overshadow his State of the Union speech next Tuesday, Clinton said, “Well, I hope not. But you guys will have to make that decision. The press will make that decision.”

As for whether it will cloud the President’s ability to work with Congress, Clinton said, “That will be up to them. I don’t think so. It’s an election year — they’ll want to get some things done, too. We’ve got a lot to do.”

Last week, the White House agreed to give Roll Call an Oval Office interview on Wednesday afternoon in order to discuss the state of Clinton’s relationship with Congress as he prepares for his sixth State of the Union address. But on Tuesday evening, with the Lewinsky story set to break the next morning, a White House official called to say that the interview would have to be conducted over the telephone because of a scheduling conflict.

Despite the latest controversy, Clinton went forward with the phone interview, which began at 4:20 p.m. yesterday and lasted for 15 minutes. On Monday, Roll Call will publish the President’s exclusive comments on his Congressional agenda and his relationship with individual leaders, such as House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

Earlier yesterday, Clinton had released an official statement saying that he did not have an “improper relationship” with Lewinsky.

When pressed to characterize the nature of the relationship, Clinton told Roll Call, “Let me say, the relationship is not improper and I think that’s important enough to say. But because the investigation is going on, and because I don’t know what is out — what’s going to be asked of me, I think I need to cooperate [and] answer the questions. But I think it’s important for me to make it clear what is not. And then, at the appropriate time, I’ll try to answer what is.”

Throughout the day, the White House tried to portray an image of business as usual for the Administration. Clinton noted that he had been playing during the day with Buddy, his new chocolate Labrador, who could be heard barking periodically during the interview with Roll Call.

But Clinton already has some Congressional Republicans nipping at his heels over the latest revelations. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), who has been calling for Clinton’s impeachment since November, fired off an explosive press release.

“For those in the House who have been waiting for a smoking gun, both barrels are smoking,” Barr said. “These latest allegations of witness tampering, obstructions of justice, perjury, and improper moral behavior should not be dismissed out of hand as the President would have us do. Rather, they should be investigated by the Judiciary Committee.”

Barr urged the House to immediately take up an inquiry of impeachment, which would lead to proceedings of the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the allegations.

Most Republican leaders, however, were reluctant to talk about the latest allegations against Clinton. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Majority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) both refused to comment on the matter.

Even House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.), a constant critic of Clinton who reopened his campaign finance hearings yesterday, refused to comment on the sexual allegations.

On the Democratic side, Gephardt and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) also refused to comment.

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) said in a brief interview, “It’s kind of sad that as we embark on this New Year that this is what we’ll be talking about.”

Hyde, meanwhile, said that if the allegations are proven true, Congress could begin the impeachment process.

“When we get a report from the independent counsel it would seem to me that if they verify the authenticity of the charges, impeachment might very well be an option,” Hyde said. “He is not immune from impeachment if … these charges are true.”

In November, Barr filed an inquiry of impeachment against Clinton, which is a parliamentary rarity. The inquiry must by approved by a majority of the House Rules Committee and the full House before it takes effect; Barr, however, only has about 20 co-sponsors.

Prior to introducing his inquiry, Barr had urged Hyde to start impeachment hearings, but the respected, cautious chairman said it was too early.

Since Watergate, three impeachment resolutions have been introduced and all of them died a quick death. The late Rep. Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.) filed one against Ronald Reagan on March 19, 1984, for ordering the 1983 invasion of Granada and preventing news coverage of the military strike.

In 1987, Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-Texas) tried to impeach both Reagan and George Bush in protest of the Iran-Contra sandal [sic]. Then in 1991, he filed one against Bush over the Persian Gulf War.

Jim VandeHei and Francesca Contiguglia contributed to this report.


The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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

March 18, 2015

Aaron Schock Discussed Government Transparency in First Floor Speech (Video)

Perhaps it was fate. 

But Rep. Aaron Schock, who tendered his resignation following allegations of improperly using of taxpayer and campaign money, ironically gave his first floor speech in 2009 on transparency. Full story

Girl Scouts Throw Members a Cookie Party

The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital has whipped up the ultimate can’t-say-no event of the century: a fundraiser (duh) honoring lady lawmakers with ties to the civic-minded organization (grrl power!) by plying attendees with custom treats forged from the group’s signature baked goods (synergy, FTW).

Girl Scouts Throw Members a Cookie Party

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The inaugural shindig — dubbed “2015 Sweet Success: Celebrating 104 in the 114th” — is expected to lure confection lovers to the UPS Townhouse on Capitol Hill from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition to commemorating sash-wearing wonders past and present, organizers have arranged for a dessert cook-off featuring local toques. Full story

Meal Ticket: Approaching 50, Mr. Henry’s Tries a Place Lift

Back when Mr. Henry’s put down roots on Capitol Hill, congressman turned commander in chief Lyndon B. Johnson was still calling the shots in the Oval Office, the only Washington Senators anyone cared about were the ballplayers who took the field at RFK Stadium and relations with Cuba were far less relaxed than they appear to be today.

Eight presidential administrations later, the family-run establishment (601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) endures — providing safe harbor to locals against changing tides that continue to wash away neighboring dive bars.

Meal Ticket: Approaching 50, Mr. Henry’s Tries a Place Lift

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Not that that kind of staying power comes easy. Mr. Henry’s, which once upon a time showcased the talents of soul singer Roberta Flack and attracted its share of gay and lesbian fans, has since seemingly faded into obscurity.
Full story

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