Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

January 28, 2016

Senate Competitiveness Caucus Looks at Changing Labor Market

Coons pic

Coons speaks on American competitiveness (Photo courtesy of Coons’ office).

After the final vote of the week on Thursday, several senators stuck around to speak on the country’s labor market and how it competes globally.

Co-chairman of the Senate Competitiveness Caucus, Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., teamed up with the Council on Competitiveness for a briefing on how the changing labor market presents both challenges and opportunities for America’s workers.

“We all know then that American business, to be competitive in a far more difficult environment, we need the skills and the resources in our workforce to compete and we need the ideas, the policy ideas, to help them to do so,” Coons said at the event.

“Just last week, I was at the World Economic Forum and was struck at how broadly, around the world, this issue is dominating conversations. If we have the illusion that our competitors aren’t also tirelessly trying to solve this, we are wrong,” he said.

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Angus King, I-Maine, are also members of the caucus and spoke at the event. Baldwin and Coons are the leaders on the Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative, which encourages introducing bipartisan, pro-manufacturing bills.

“Republicans don’t have all the answers, just as Democrats don’t either,” Baldwin said at the event. “The only way we meet the challenges we face effectively, is if we have strong public-private partnerships that are supported by a Congress working across party lines.”

King, alongside Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act this year to ensure students have access to digital learning outside the classroom. At the event, he spoke on the homework gap and bridging the digital divide for rural and low-income students.

The Senate Competitiveness Caucus was founded last summer and has 12 members, from both sides of the aisle.

Also at the event, the council released their report, entitled “Work,” which is a compilation of research on how to thrive in a global economy and win the skills battle. The council is a non-partisan organization focused on the advancement of U.S. competitiveness.


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By Alex Gangitano Posted at 6:09 p.m.

A Dip Into Debate Watch Parties

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

For those looking to have some fun while watching the last Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses, here’s an HOH list of debate watch parties throughout D.C. The first debate on Thursday night starts at 7 p.m. and the main debate is at 9 p.m.

You can add your debate watch party to the list by emailing

Host: Party Politics
Where: Penn Social, 801 E Street NW
When: 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Deal: No cover charge, drink specials, giveaways, a chance to be on the set of the taping of their first show and drinking games such as “count how many times Trump says China!”
[Note: Party Politics is a non-partisan group and this event is their happy hour launch]

Host: Predictit
Where: Orange Anchor, 3050 K Street NW
When: 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Deal: Free registration and handcrafted cocktails.

Host: Young Minority Republicans Fund
Where: 1831 Bar & Lounge, 1831 M Street NW
When: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Deal: $1 Natural Light Beer, $2 shooters, $3 Coors, Bud Light, Yuengling, Miller and $6 Margaritas.

GOP Debate Watch Parties and Citizenship Workshops
Host: Mi Familia Vota
Where: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Texas
When: 6 p.m. local time.

Host: Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans

Where: Hard Times Café, 3028 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
When: 6:30 p.m.
Deal: Domestic bottles for $1.75, and food specials include 10 boneless wings for $6.

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By Alex Gangitano Posted at 12:25 p.m.

Cast Your Vote for the Next Bobblehead


The bobblehead prototypes (Photo courtesy of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum).

What better way to predict the outcome of Super Tuesday than to poll Americans on which candidate they would most like to see in bobblehead form.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum launched a Kickstarter campaign on Thursday to determine which presidential candidate has the backing to become the next bobblehead. The Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise $10,000 in pledges, will also fund the production of the figurines.

Only former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business mogul Donald Trump have been captured in bobblehead form so far. “The presidential candidates are such characters, that we thought a broader selection was needed,” the museum staff wrote in a news release. Trump’s figure is made with hair-like material.

The Kickstarter includes Clinton and Trump, as well as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. There is also a donkey, elephant and the first ever “BobbleFlag,” a flag on a spring. Prototypes have been made for each which are visible when you vote.

Only the bobbleheads with the highest demand will be produced. The Kickstarter runs for a month, ending on Feb. 29, the day before Super Tuesday.

“We will see if America’s bobblehead choices signal the results of Super Tuesday,” said Phil Sklar, the museum’s co-founder and CEO.

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By Alex Gangitano Posted at 11:35 a.m.

January 27, 2016

Reid Pulls for Trump, Then Thinks Better of It

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid insists he wasn’t serious when he told reporters he was cheering on Donald Trump in the Republican presidential contest.

“I remember the good old days when he did a fundraiser or two for me,” the Nevada Democrat said Wednesday. “With that bunch of people running, I’m kinda pulling for him.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5:18 p.m.

Kate Walsh Lobbies Against Atlantic Offshore Drilling

Walsh spoke at a Oceana Capitol Hill rally in 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Walsh spoke at a Oceana Capitol Hill rally in 2011. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Actress Kate Walsh trekked to Capitol Hill Wednesday to make the case that President Barack Obama should abandon any plans for offshore Atlantic drilling.

“It was incredible to hear how passionate, and again the myriad of reasons, people have for coming up against it,” Walsh told HOH. “Hopefully, we will be able to convince the president to take it out of the plan.” Last January, the Interior Department unveiled the latest of its five-year plan for offshore drilling, which included leases off the Atlantic coast. Full story

Heritage Action Announces 2016 Summit Speakers

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan will keynote the Feb. 3 policy summit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 Heritage Action for America conservative policy summit — scheduled for Feb. 3, between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries — will include more than 20 Republican lawmakers, featuring a keynote from Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. Full story

Snow Check! Capitol Hill Spots Extend Restaurant Week

The Monocle (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Monocle’s doors will be open Saturday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While food in grocery stores flew off the rack, D.C. restaurant week took a hit from Winter Storm Jonas.

So on Wednesday, several establishments close to the Capitol announced they were willing to extend their restaurant week deals. Restaurant week was originally set from Jan. 25 to Jan. 31. Full story

Office Space: Don Young’s Alaskan Tundra

Young is Roll Call's guest on Office Space this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Young is Roll Call’s guest on Office Space this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In this week’s edition of Office Space, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, recalls fake bear hunts, evaluates past presidents and shows off his walrus penis gavel.

Full story

Take Five: Rep. Barbara Lee

Lee (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Al Drago/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. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., talks about Golden State hoops,  being a Capitol Hill intern and how her garden grows in the drought. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 5 a.m.

January 26, 2016

World War I Memorial Design Chosen for 2018 Completion


A replica of the World War I Memorial (Photo courtesy of the Centennial Commission).

The World War I Memorial will be a three-sided wall depicting images of the so-called War to End All Wars, and will be located at Pershing Park in downtown Washington, D.C.

At an event at the National Press Club Tuesday, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission announced their memorial of choice, “The Weight of Sacrifice” by Chicago artist Joseph Weishaar and New York sculptor Sabin Howard. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 5:17 p.m.

Trashy Problem Comes Out of Blizzard Sledding

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: About a dozen sledders, young and old, took to the slopes of the West Front of the Capitol after the first few inches of snow blanketed Washington on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. Snow began to fall early afternoon as approaching blizzard conditions threatened to shut down the Washington area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sledders use a discarded March for Live protest sign to skid their way down the West Front of the Capitol on Jan. 22. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With hundreds of people sledding at the Capitol this weekend, hundreds of pieces of trash were left behind.

From March for Life signs, pizza boxes, collapsed cardboard boxes and plastic bags, people sledding were either bringing their own trash and leaving it or taking items out of the trash to use as a sled. Full story

Cory Booker: Have Shovel, Will Help Out

Booker shovels the walk of a house in Camden, New Jersey. (Photo courtsey of Courier-Post report Phaedra Trethan's twitter)

Booker shovels the walk of a house in Camden, N.J. (Photo courtesy Courier-Post reporter Phaedra Trethan’s Twitter feed.)

With the Senate postponing Tuesday’s originally scheduled debate until Wednesday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., stayed home to lend a hand — and a shovel.

“[Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell made the right call, it really helps out those who were in the storm,” Booker told HOH.

Around 7 a.m., the senator started his day in Camden to assess the snow damage. His team and Camden Mayor Dana Redd dug out cars in the city and shoveled driveways, especially for senior citizens. Full story

January 25, 2016

Snow Won’t Stop Patrick Leahy

Leahy takes pictures of the National Mall. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Leahy photographs the National Mall. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol campus was quiet Monday following a massive winter storm in the District of Columbia over the weekend, but snow didn’t stop Sen. Patrick J. Leahy from heading into work.

The Vermont Democrat was spotted entering the Senate around 2 p.m., with his camera in one hand and two bags of papers in the other. He had weathered the storm at his home in the suburbs, since he didn’t want to risk getting stuck in Vermont while a family member was set to have surgery in the D.C. area.

Full story

Claire McCaskill Reports for Jury Duty

McCaskill, recieved her law degree in 1978. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCaskill said serving on a jury was on her bucket list. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., kept constituents entertained on Monday when she was called in for jury duty.

Around 9 a.m. Missouri time, she tweeted photographs of her arrival to the jury assembly room and said it is on her bucket list to serve as a juror. Full story

Mayor Encourages Sidewalk Use, but Easier Said Than Done

With most sidewalks nearly impassable, pedestrians take to walking down Massachusetts Ave in Washington on Jan. 223, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With most sidewalks nearly impassable, many pedestrians could only walk down the streets to get around. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

D.C. residents out and about following the weekend’s blizzard are using the street to walk and not the sidewalk, posing a “big concern” for Mayor Muriel Bower.

“We really need folks to stay on the sidewalks,” the mayor’s Communications Director Mike Czin told HOH. “Roads are slick and icy,” he said, adding:  “When people are on the street, people making turns have to go wide,” he says. “It’s also hard to see people past the banks of show.”

But using the sidewalks is easier said than done, because so many of them have still not been shoveled and de-iced, even with temperatures beginning to rise. Full story

By Alex Gangitano Posted at 1:26 p.m.

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