Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

July 16, 2014

Senate Softball Rivalry Once Again in Full Swing

Party lines, schmarty lines.

The key thing that keeps Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., going while here in D.C. is the burning desire to topple the other in their annual softball showdown.

Team Scrantonicity has faced off against the Hit It Toomey squad each summer for the past three years with mixed results. Scrantonicity throttled its foes 20-10 last year, but Team Toomey has wracked up more “W”s than losses over time.

“Sadly team Toomey leads the all-time series 2-1. But I’m quite confident the series will be all even after tonight’s festivities,” a Casey aide assured HOH in a trash-talking email.

Those looking to get swept up in softball mania should make their way over to the National Mall (Seventh and Madison streets NW) around 6:45 p.m. to catch all the action.

Look for Casey to be snagging flies in the outfield (our tipster says the boss typically patrols right field), while Toomey tends to plant himself at third.

Vote for Your Favorite Congress Border Run Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Congress Border Run 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 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • This reminds me of that children’s classic, “Make Way for Ducklings.”
  • Think of these kids as bills proposed in Congress. None shall pass.
  • We’re also now seeing some refugees from Brazil, looking for a new land of soccer opportunity.
  • We had to update the sign.
  • When the president couldn’t make it, he did send down these nifty new signs.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on July 20 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 3:55 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

“We’ve got some fresh peppers in here. They’re not hot,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mischievously goads his congressional aides after pouring out the baggie full of mixed chilies he religiously totes around in his coat pocket.

Sam Lombardo, a much-too-trusting summer intern, takes the bait, hurling a pea-sized ornamental pepper down the hatch.

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The impetuous youth makes it through the first few bites unscathed, but is soon fanning his wide-open mouth for relief while Weber — who is always looking to welcome new chili-heads into the fold — chuckles with delight. Full story

Joe Manchin Brings the ‘Hollow’ to D.C.

Wild and wonderful though it may be, West Virginia continues to wrestle with its fair share of challenges. Sen. Joe Manchin III wants to help shine a light on what life is like in the Mountain State by hosting a screening of “Hollow” (that’s “holler” to you and me, Russ), a cinematic labor of love released last year.

The “interactive documentary,” which continues to foster community building across the social media sphere, will be shown on July 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center. Those interested in attending should RSVP to hollowevent@manchin.senate.gov.

Filmmaker and West Virginia native Elaine Sheldon McMillion is expected to participate in a discussion about her attempt at getting up close and personal with the community in economically depressed McDowell County.

Topical snippets — including a dizzying spin through a county fair — are available for viewing via Vimeo.

1 MINUTE IN APPALACHIA: County Fair from Hollow Interactive on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, McMillion has been urging social media users to collectively reminisce by flooding Instagram with pics tagged #hollerhome. Full story

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

The savviest minds at the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University’s School of Law know that it’s easier to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar — or Hill Country BBQ, as the case may be.

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Karen Czarnecki, director of education at Mason’s Law & Economics Center, said the decision to seed the semi-regular policy luncheons with imported Texas-style barbecue predates her tenure with the school. But she can vouch for its efficacy.

“It has been very popular and is served at every briefing,” she said of the crowd-pleasing spread. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 2:56 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

July 15, 2014

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

A scantily clad Courtney Stodden will feed alterna-weenies to Hill staffers Wednesday, performing her civic duty on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by serving as the celebrity eye candy for the group’s congressional veggie dog giveaway.

The model/singer/teen divorcee is expected to begin dispensing the meat-free munchies — wearing “nothing but strategically placed lettuce leaves,” per PETA’s media alert — alongside the Independence Avenue-facing entrance to Rayburn promptly at noon.

“Veggie dogs are delicious and kinder to animals, the environment, and our health than artery-clogging, meaty hot dogs are. The choice is easy to make!” Stodden asserted in a release.

PETA has for years paraded around pro-vegetarian ladies — including 2008 Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole and pin-up queen Vida Guerra — in an attempt to lure the epicurious away from the American Meat Institute’s widely attended annual hot dog lunch (typically held inside Rayburn on the same day).

PETA to Plant Stripped Down Courtney Stodden Outside Rayburn on Wednesday

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After poking around her YouTube archive, it would appear that Stodden’s anti-carnivorous advocacy dates back to at least 2012.

Full story

Tammy Duckworth’s Feel Good Regimen

Summer colds suck. Good thing Rep. Tammy Duckworth has a secret weapon for a speedy recovery.

When her hubby fell ill over the weekend, the Illinois Democrat immediately sprung into action, whipping up a batch of her savory cure-all.

“I don’t normally follow a precise recipe — I just keep adding things to taste,” Duckworth said of her never-quite-the-same approach to cooking. The aforementioned pick-me-up prepared for her couch-ridden mate bears many of the familiar ingredients — chicken, mixed vegetables, broth — one’s own parents might have used to soothe away internal ickiness, but also features a few signature touches.

Duckworth’s Chicken Soup

1 heaping tablespoon minced (or finely chopped) garlic; jarred is fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
1 large whole chicken breast, about 1.5 pounds (Bone-in is better, but boneless is easier to use.)
34-ounce box chicken broth
1 large onion, cut lengthwise into strips
4-5 carrots, chopped
4-5 ribs of celery, cut crosswise into quarter-inch slices
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce (You can use Japanese soy sauce like Kikkoman, but I prefer Chinese style for this soup.)
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cups pasta, cooked separately until al dente and drained. Reserve. (I like rotini or shells but any shaped pasta will do.)

Preparation
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned and softened.
Add water and whole chicken breast.
Cover and bring to a low boil for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove chicken and pull apart into shredded chunks; discard bones. Return meat to boiling liquid.
Add chicken broth, carrots, onions, parsley and celery.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add soy sauce and sugar one tablespoon at a time to taste. Add more soy to taste, but be careful with the sugar. It can be too much very easily. The sugar just adds a little depth of flavor to the soup, it shouldn’t make the soup taste sweet.
Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. (I like a little pep in my soup, so I always add the pepper.)
Spoon desired amount of pasta into bowl, top off with as much soup as you like and a little garnish of fresh parsley if desired.
Serve with Ritz crackers on the side.

“I add soy sauce to everything,” Duckworth said of her penchant for the fermented flavor enhancer. The rest of the production is modeled after the soul-satisfying meals she once slurped at a long-since gone eatery. Full story

David Valadao Attempts to Rope Online Flock Into #CowAppreciationDay

Rep. David Valadao has invited the entire Twitterverse to weigh in on what he should name the mottled black newborn calf that joined the dairy farm last weekend.

 

 

“Help me give this heifer a name! #NameACalf,” he implored supporters on social media.

A Valadao aide said the family usually handles naming duties, but indicated that the freshman lawmaker wanted to be more all-inclusive this time around. “Given that CA-21 is the biggest dairy district in the entire United States and thousands of our constituents work in the industry, Congressman Valadao thought it would be fun for constituents and their children to name this heifer (female cow),” the aide told HOH via email.

Got a guaranteed winner rolling around in the back of your mind?

Don’t dawdle.

Team Valadao plans to corral all the suggestions and select the final nomenclature come Thursday afternoon.

Mitch McConnell, the New Tom Cruise?

 

Mitch McConnell, the New Tom Cruise?

(Screenshot)

Is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell the senator who most reminds you of Tom Cruise?

Sure, there might be other politicians more likely to wear aviators (looking at you, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.), but if McConnell is the one you think of, then Heard on the Hill thinks the Kentucky Republican’s re-election campaign has the perfect gift for you.

Among the items available in the McConnell for Senate campaign store in conjunction with a $20 contribution to the Team Mitch effort is a unisex “pro-gun” T-shirt bearing an uncanny resemblance to the logo from the 1986 Cruise drama “Top Gun.”

“Top Gun” studio Paramount Pictures declined to comment for this report.

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 1:50 p.m.
Foolishness

July 14, 2014

Flashback: Members Face Danger From the Sun

Flashback: Members Face Danger From the Sun

In this 1989 photo, aides to Rep. John William “Jack” Buechner, R-Mo., are seen outside (Andrea Mohin/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the House Energy and Commerce Committee takes up legislation that would streamline the approval of new and modern ingredients for sunscreens, we discovered a column from the pages of Roll Call 25 years ago this week.

Back then, this newspaper featured a recurring column called “Capital Health.”

The column a quarter century ago warned of the dangers of unprotected exposure to the sun by members of Congress, featuring a great quote from Dr. Stephen Katz of the National Institutes of Health. As Lucretia Marmon wrote:

Premature aging of the skin and skin cancer are caused by prolonged and intermittent overexposure to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

And Members of Congress should take care. They might actually be more vulnerable than Americans in general.

Dr. Stephen Katz, chief of dermatology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), says Members are prime candidates for photodamaged skin and skin cancer. Says Katz, ”Congressmen are mostly white. They are more affluent and they vacation more. They are concerned about their looks and likely to prefer a tan. And they probably get their tans during short exposures to the sun.”

Along with this warning comes the good news that smile lines and “aging spots” don’t necessarily come hand-in hand with getting older. And skin cancer can be prevented. Professionals are urging Members to get smart and cover-up.

As for the new legislation, Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., said in a statement that the bill “will allow Americans access to the best products on the market and also spur innovation in an area of significant public health importance.”

“With skin cancer being by far the most common form of this terrible disease, it’s important that consumers have access to the latest breakthroughs in sunscreen technology,” Whitfield said.

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

Displaced Wyomingites are invited to reconnect with the wonders of the Cowboy State July 19 at the Committee of Wyoming People in the East’s upcoming shin-dig, an annual tradition marked by barbecue, mechanical bull riding and country music.

Commune with C.O.W.P.I.E. Saturday Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 37 annual C.O.W.P.I.E., which is scheduled to stampede into Eastern Market’s North Hall, kicks off with a members-only cookout (organizers bring in burgers and sides for their core constituency) before throwing open the doors to the general public at 8 p.m. Tickets are available in advance (through July 17) for $35, whereas those who wait until the day of must either shell out $25 for general admission (no alcohol) or $50 to booze it up.

“Only snacks are available after 8 p.m., but the beer and Jack [Daniels] will be flowing all night,” an event coordinator told HOH of what folks should expect to find at the Western-themed soiree.

Attendees are encouraged to break out their snazziest frontier wear, be it highly polished calfskin boots, wide-brimmed chapeaus or bright shiny belt buckles.

Desperate to wear your chaps out in public to an actually appropriate situation?

Allow the motorized bucking beast to make all your wildest dreams come true.

“We give out a Cheyenne Frontier Days belt buckle to the winner of our competition each year, and that always leads to some pretty impressive talent,” one organizer shared.

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

The second installment of Rep. John Lewis’ illustrated history of the civil rights era, “March: Book Two” has a newly designed cover and a tentative release date: late January of next year.

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Top Shelf Productions spokesman Leigh Walton said Lewis would not be traveling to San Diego next week for Comic Con, as he did last year. Congressional aide and co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell are making the trip, and are expected to update fans about the planned trilogy Friday, July 25 at noon during a Top Shelf-led panel discussion.

Per the promotional materials, Book Two appears to pick up several months after Book One drew to a close (spring 1960), with the Georgia Democrat continuing to exercise his commitment to non-violent protest by hitting the road with the Freedom Riders and, ultimately, helping to lead the history-making 1963 march on Washington.

“Pre-orders are already coming in for Book Two,” Walton said of the mounting interest surrounding the ground-breaking set of graphic novels. Much like Book One, the next episode of Lewis’ extraordinary life will be available in paperback, hardcover, and as a limited edition, autographed collectible.

House Panel Hones Skills on Genetically Modified Consumers | Madisonville

House Panel Hones Skills on Genetically Modified Consumers | Madisonville

Ranking member Schrader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The more obscure House committee hearings can be like minor league baseball: a place to see raw talent refining its skills for a bigger stage. You just have to look past the wild pitches and base-running mistakes.

House Agriculture has a Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee that includes Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and ranking member Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., on the roster. Davis, holding the gavel in the absence of the chairman, pounded it audibly at a hearing last week and spoke with one-day-I’ll-be-a-real-chairman deliberation. Schrader kept saying “this great country” as though he had been flubbing it in the past and was sent down for additional practice.

The hearing was on the Benefits of Biotechnology. The missing subtitle was “The Problem With Consumers.” The committee was there to lament the fact that consumers don’t buy enough genetically-modified food. Shoppers apparently picture the skull and crossbones whenever they see a label saying genetically modified. General Motors can boost sales after disclosing its cars kill people, but the food business can’t move beef fed with genetically engineered grain. Full story

July 13, 2014

Congress Makes a Run For The Border | Capitol Quip

Congress Makes a Run For The Border | Capitol Quip

The humanitarian crisis at the Southern border has drawn not just migrants from Central America and Mexico, but members of Congress on fact-finding missions! Now we’ll get to the bottom of things. Which brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip captioning contest.

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

He Shoots, He Doesn’t Score | Capitol Quip

He Shoots, He Doesnt Score | 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.

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