Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 7, 2015

May 20, 2015

Throwback: Alec Baldwin Schools David Letterman in Congressional Relations

Before bidding adieu to late-night talk show icon David Letterman, who will sign off Wednesday after three decades, HOH wanted to revisit the comparison between the two chambers that entertainer and activist Alex Baldwin shared years ago with the “Late Show” host.

“They got all the time in the world in the Senate,” Baldwin said of his disorienting visits to the “cooling saucer of democracy.”

Should any C-SPAN junkies need a break from Kentucky Republican and White House hopeful Rand Paul’s latest talkathon against the Patriot Act, Letterman’s swan song is expected to get underway at 11:35 p.m.


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Familiar Names Top Leaderboard at ACLI Capital Challenge

Tom Cotton led the way for lawmakers again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cotton led the way for lawmakers again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Runners from Capitol Hill and beyond descended  on the banks of the Anacostia River Wednesday morning for the 34th annual ACLI Capital Challenge.

On a surprisingly cool day, members of Congress and the executive branch were joined in the 3-mile run at Anacostia Park by their staff, private industry and representatives from the Fourth Estate, including a number of CQ Roll Callers. Full story

Congressional Golfers Swing for Charity

Rep. John Yarmuth warms up before participating in the 2015 Politics & Pros Golf Classic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Putting aside politics Monday, six members of Congress participated in a charity golf game to raise funds for young golfers in the District of Columbia.

The lawmakers joined more than 100 amateur golfers and 10 professional players for the 14th annual Politics and Pros Classic to benefit First Tee of Greater Washington, a youth golf program. The event at the Bethesda Country Club raised nearly $220,000 for First Tee, which seeks to foster character development through the game of golf. Full story

Overheard: Amy Klobuchar’s Dream Date

“I look to my right, Harry Reid. I look to my left, Mitch McConnell. I know: Every girl’s dream, right?”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar, describing her time in the presiding officer’s chair on New Year’s Eve 2012, as the fiscal cliff neared.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 11, 2015 (Video)

Lawmakers spent the week locating Ruby Ridge on a map, snapping selfies with pigs and preparing for bazooka-armed lesser prairie chickens.

Full story

May 19, 2015

Enter the Dragon … Boat Festival That Is

Hill staffers and alumni went to the river to row their dragons. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Hill staffers and alumni went to the river to row their dragons. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Politics may stop at the water’s edge, but competition among Capitol Hill staffers and alumni only intensified at the recent DC Dragon Boat Festival, with teams looking for bragging rights among their colleagues. As long as it wasn’t too early.

“First of all, I’ve never been up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday in my life,” said Will Adams, who recently left his job as chief of staff for Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and was at the Thompson Boat Center bright and early on May 16 to row for glory on the Kanbay! team. Full story

Steve Israel Assembling Writer’s Caucus

Lawmaker/novelist Steve Israel wants to bring other pols into the publishing fold. And he’s already got around a dozen takers who have signed on to attend Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the Congressional Writers Caucus.

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The New York Democrat — who famously pounded out his critically acclaimed political satire on his iPhone — is excited, staff told HOH, about swapping stories with other “born communicators” on a semi-regular basis.

“Rep. Israel wanted to provide members with a forum to enhance their writing skills and learn from other authors and publishers about the industry,” an Israel aide said of the vision for the group, adding that Israel is most interested in talking to other budding authors about what they’re working on. Full story

Suzan DelBene Helps Aide Get Hitched

(Courtesy Meredith Hanafi)

DelBene, center, does the honors as Zielke, left, and Schmidt, right, take the plunge. (Courtesy Meredith Hanafi)

Rep. Suzan DelBene’s professional family expanded by one this past weekend, after her chief of staff, Aaron Schmidt, went ahead and tied the knot with Justin Zielke.

The longstanding couple did the legal thing on their own, but on May 16 they invited friends and loved ones — including the Washington Democrat, who was asked to say a few words — to celebrate the joyous occasion of their union out on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

According to one of the roughly 140 guests in attendance, DelBene recounted how the two had become one. Full story

Existentialists Watch, Wonder in Digital Cloakroom

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s real-life waiting rooms have gone digital with the Cloakroom service. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill can be a confusing place, even for insiders.

Just ask the growing army of perplexed public servants trying to figure out what it’s all about on the nascent sounding board/app Cloakroom.

According to Co-Founder Ted Henderson, the anonymous service has, over the past few months, garnered a respectable following among the glue that keeps the legislative branch together.

Sure, some disgruntled staffers use it to talk smack. Full story

May 18, 2015

In Philly, Rand Paul Waxes About Christian Laettner




PHILADELPHIA — Not far from the scene of one of the most memorable moments in the history of sports, Sen. Rand Paul recalled a story he might want to be careful about telling in his home state of Kentucky.

During March Madness in 1992, the Republican senator was living in Durham, N.C., where he attended Duke Medical School. So like just about everyone else, Paul was tuned in to the East Regional final, which was played at the old Spectrum here that year, and featured the buzzer-beating jump shot by Christian Laettner, leading the Blue Devils past the Kentucky Wildcats.

Full story

Kirsten Gillibrand, Mark Warner Stand Behind ‘SLUT’

Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Mark Warner of Virginia are scheduled to lend their voices Tuesday to “SLUT: The Play,” a teen-led look into modern rape coming to the Warner Theatre for one night only.

The experimental production is set to premiere in D.C. at 7 p.m. and is expected to feature opening remarks by Warner, with Gillibrand joining in a post-show discussion. Tickets to the much-talked-about show are $20.

SLUT THE PLAY GOES NATIONAL from Evenstar Films on Vimeo.

While she’s fairly certain neither Senate Democrat has attended a previous performance, Playwright and SLUT Co-Director Katie Cappiello told HOH the participating pols are familiar with the thought provoking narrative. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:31 p.m.
Artsy, DC, Grrl Power, Sens

Taste of America Showcases Agony of Regional Defeat


The road to regional supremacy runs through the 2015 Roll Call Taste of America. The second round of voting is over, and to the vittle victor go the spoils. Just ask Maryland crab cakes, which pinched D.C. half smokes to move to the sweet, or savory, round of 16.

That Mid-Atlantic surf versus turf battle wasn’t the only regional roundhousing. Illinois’ Italian beef grilled Wisconsin bratwurst, for instance. And Florida stone crabs cracked down on Virgin Islands jerk chicken.

The current round of voting, open through May 29, features more close-in food fights. New Mexico frijoles, which gassed Alaskan king crab in round two, is in a desert shootout with neighboring Arizona’s pork chimichangas, which smothered Nevada’s chuckwagon buffet. Across the country, Delaware’s secret starch weapon, boardwalk fries, is looking to walk all over another East Coast maritime meal, Maine’s lobster rolls.

For full results of last week’s voting, including the ignominious demise of the sadly misunderstood Idaho finger steaks, are available at You can also vote, early and often, in the latest round, all in anticipation of the winner at the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 11.


Sea Change for Taste of America?

Defending Champs Go Down in Taste of America

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

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Redditor ­­Can’t Quite Figure Out Republicans



Never mind attempting to navigate the intellectual mind field that is political ideology. One social media sleuth would just like someone (anyone) to shed a little light on a burning question about the GOP.

“Are Republicans people?” web user 80provinces Monday queried a D.C-related discussion board.

Clearly 80p missed the feel-good campaign Romney campaign alumnus Vinny Minchillo rolled out last fall in an attempt to counteract the public’s perception of right wingers.

The public relations ploy proved to be a godsend for web-savvy satirists, who gleefully subverted the source material (#ImARepublican) and replaced it with merciless taunts. Full story

Friends of the Earth Out to Bury Earl Blumenauer

Environmental activists are throwing Rep. Earl Blumenauer under the zero-emission, biodiesel-fueled bus for openly embracing broader trade-promotion authority.

Friends of the Earth is going after the Oregon Democrat both here and back home in Portlandia for endorsing a polarizing “fast-track” plan the eco-warriors perceive to be a bum deal.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“That’s what you get if you’re going to side with corporate polluters,” Friends of the Earth Climate and Energy Program Director Benjamin Schreiber told HOH of the dozens of antagonistic flyers. Schreiber personally affixed the signs — which read, “MISSING: Climate Champion Earl Blumenauer” — to every available surface surrounding the Capitol South Metro station. Full story

HOH Word of the Week: Personally Obnoxious

Personally Obnoxious (or Objectionable) A characterization a senator sometimes applies to a president’s nominee for a federal office in that senator’s state to justify his or her opposition to the nomination.”

— From “American Congressional Dictionary” by Walter Kravitz.

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