Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

September 10, 2014

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears to have made enemies out of former neighbors after bemoaning the time she spent in Arlington, Va., in her road map to female empowerment, “Off the Sidelines.”

The New York Democrat got red in the face after a slew of purple staters caught wind that she’d badmouthed their neck of the woods.

 

 

ARLnow.com touched off the original firestorm by pointing out that the rising lawmaker described the Northern Virginia enclave as a “soulless suburb” — from which she apparently fled to the welcoming arms of Capitol Hill — in her book.

Some critics fought fire with fire (the “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” camp).

 

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

(Screenshot)

 

Full story

September 9, 2014

Picking the Leadership’s Brains

As the Big Four hunkered down at the White House Tuesday in hopes of forging some sort of unified front in the campaign to eradicate the burgeoning terrorist threat known as ISIS, the Islamic State and/or ISIL, we couldn’t help but wonder what was really on everyone’s minds.

Picking the Leaderships Brains

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall…

 

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Pols Roll Out the Red Carpet for Tinseltown Workhorses

Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairmen Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., are doing their part to help give unsung Hollywood film and TV workers their due by co-hosting an entertainment industry event showcasing the pivotal contributions the below-the-line set brings to the table.

The wide-ranging “Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie & TV Magic Day” exhibition is scheduled to take possession of the Cannon Caucus Room on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event promoters told HOH members and staff are welcome to explore the interactive showcase.

Pols Roll Out the Red Carpet for Tinseltown Workhorses

(Courtesy Creative Rights Caucus)

“The shows and movies we’re all talking about, … these are the real people behind them,” a House aide said of the assembled talent expected to be on hand.

Support staff projected to get their moment in the spotlight include a make-up artist from the SyFy series “Face Off,” a costume designer from AMC’s spy-driven, Revolutionary War serial “Turn,” animators involved in Disney’s Oscar-winning, grrl power-fueled feature, “Frozen,” as well as a veteran film colorist.

Those more interested in snapping selfies than talking shop with technicians will have to make do with stalking “Breaking Bad” alumnus RJ Mitte (“Walter White Jr./Flynn”), longtime “Dallas” stars Patrick Duffy (“Bobby Ewing”) and Linda Gray (“Sue Ellen Ewing”), children’s programming star and deep sea-dweller SpongeBob SquarePants or “Cleatus,” Fox NFL Sunday’s sports robot.

 

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Sorting Out the Fax on Latest Terror Threat

The war on terror, it would seem, is increasingly being waged with microprocessors, with our nation’s enemies independently broadcasting their horrific acts of defiance online while the administration fires back with automated drone strikes from above.

Some alarmists, however, continue to rely on the vaguely familiar (but quickly fading from memory) bzzz-whirr-ping! of the lonesome office fax machine to get the word out about prospective evildoers.

An HOH tipster shared the following “alert” regarding a trans-Atlantic bombing scheme that would theoretically be perpetrated by one of Oxford University’s star rugby players.

Sorting Out the Fax on Latest Terror Threat

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Full story

September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

Mickey Edwards Says Laws, Not Lawmakers to Blame for Congressional Morass

Mickey Edwards Says Laws, Not Lawmakers to Blame for Congressional Morass

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ex-Rep. Mickey Edwards, R-Okla., hates to break it to everyone, but our horribly paralyzed, results-challenged Congress is, sadly, performing just about right, given current law.

“The Congress is working exactly the way it was designed … and it shouldn’t be,” the now-Aspen Institute scholar said of the tragically flawed electoral system that has thrust lawmakers into a battle royal-like existence.

On Tuesday night, Edwards is expected to share his sobering analysis of how individual states have set up Capitol Hill to fail with attendees of Morven Park’s “Distinguished Voices in Civics” series. He told HOH the dysfunction plaguing modern politics flows from exclusionary primaries and widespread gerrymandering.

“People are trying to figure out, ‘How we do we get out of this mess?’ My argument is: It’s not the people. It’s systemic,” he said of election laws that, rather than rewarding candidates with mass appeal, benefit those “reflective of what the partisans in their states want.” Full story

Overheard: McConnell Blasted for Going to Work

Overheard: McConnell Blasted for Going to Work

(Win McNamee/Getty Images News)

The campaign of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall, is criticizing the minority leader for heading to Washington, D.C., as the Senate returns.

“Today, scandal-ridden Mitch McConnell is running back to Washington, DC, in an attempt to dodge the tough questions he faces back home. In a new web ad released Monday, Alison for Kentucky holds McConnell accountable for his refusal to answer to the people of Kentucky,” the Lundergan Grimes campaign said in announcing the video.

Full story

Grace Napolitano, Josh Thomas Team Up on Mental Health

Call us crazy, but the “Please Like Me” screening and subsequent discussion on the current state of mental health affairs co-hosted by actor/show creator Josh Thomas and Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on Tuesday sounds like it could actually be interesting.

The edutainment outreach, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in Rayburn 2103, is coming to Congress courtesy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Participant Media.

For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ droll coming-of-age saga, the fledgling show (airing Friday nights on the youth-oriented Pivot network) centers on a 20-something child of divorce suddenly forced to wrestle with his sexual identity. Part of the growth process involves dealing with oddball friends and family members — including his off-kilter mum.

The “Rose” character has some issues she’s dealing with — cast bios describe Rose as a bipolar empty-nester struggling with adjusting to her new “normal” (“She seems to have found a nice equilibrium, but for how long?”) — many of which the show naturally plays up for laughs.

According to Team Napolitano, the California Democrat appreciates the way Josh and Rose get on. “The relationship between the lead character, Josh, and his mother is helping to eliminate stigma by approaching the subject of mental illness in a thoughtful manner,” a Napolitano aide told HOH about the heart-felt moments shared by the quirk-filled duo. Full story

September 7, 2014

The Bucks Don’t Stop Here | Capitol Quip

The Bucks Dont Stop Here | Capitol Quip

Capitol Quip is tanned, rested and back, resuming this week by asking the question, how about that revolving door? Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wasted no time in grieving his primary loss over the summer to Dave Brat, signing up with investment bank Moelis & Co. to the tune of some beaucoup bucks. This 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.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 5, 2014

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

Looking to light a fire under conservatives? Just try and tell ’em how to ingest flaming confections.

So learned a U.S. Forest Service aide after incensed Web readers — and later House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — got all fired up about an administration-penned blog post suggesting Americans keep fire safety in mind whilst observing National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

“For the things that government is supposed to do — like confront terrorist groups — we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves — like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores — government bureaucrats have that figured out,” the California Republican fumed in his latest floor agenda update.

Online critics got even hotter under the collar, torching the regulatory guidelines involved, the tone of the public service announcement and the writer’s language skills.

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

A couple of fans rallied to the Forest Service’s cause, chastising rhetorical bomb throwers for needlessly politicizing a friendly reminder. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Drop the Mic (Video)

Heard on the Hill concludes its August recess flashback with a look at the relationship between lawmakers and their microphones — from the fumbling to the malfunctions, to members who just can’t resist the urge to say one more thing.

 

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Rep. Gwen Moore Arrested During Fast-Food Protest

Rep. Gwen Moore Arrested During Fast Food Protest

Moore was arrested Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., was arrested Thursday afternoon while protesting with fast-food workers during nationwide strikes to raise the minimum wage.

“I take great pride in supporting Milwaukee workers as they risk arrest in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for their families,” Moore said in a statement following her arrest.

The protest was part of the national “Fight for 15” campaign, in which fast-food workers in more than 150 cities across the country went on strike to fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Moore engaged in a sit-in with an estimated 75 to 100 protesters outside of a McDonald’s in West Milwaukee, Wis. According to the West Milwaukee police department, officers responded around noon to multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting protesters blocking traffic on a parkway.

After West Milwaukee police asked the protesters three times to leave the road they were occupying, police arrested Moore and 26 other protesters who refused to leave and issued them all citations.

 

“She did not tout that she was a member of Congress,” Moore’s spokesman Eric Harris told CQ Roll Call in a Thursday phone interview, though he noted that people around her pointed out her occupation to police.

According to Harris, Moore and the other protesters were placed in a police truck for about an hour. Moore was then taken to a squad car where she was held for roughly 35 minutes. She and the others arrested received a citation for disturbing the peace. Moore’s citation will cost the congresswoman $691.

In light of the unrest and the shocking police response to protests in Ferguson, Mo., in August, Harris was quick to point out that the police were cordial to the protesters. “The West Milwaukee police were appropriate in how they handled everything,” Harris said. “They handled everything gracefully and appropriately.”

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By Bridget Bowman Posted at 11:33 a.m.
Reps

September 4, 2014

Nick Troiano’s Been Scoping Out Washington for Years

Aspiring lawmaker Nick Troiano is looking to broaden his fan base with a quirky new video and a crowd funded ad-buying campaign. Being on screen, however, remains a fairly new thing for the 20-something Pennsylvanian — unlike his extensive work behind the camera.

The independent candidate hoping to oust Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., this November recently unveiled a new spot pooh-poohing the contentious climate on Capitol Hill.

A Troiano aide said the plan is to plunk down whatever is necessary to get the “Washington’s a Zoo” message on TV between now and Election Day. The campaign expects to begin airing the ad during the week of Sept. 15, but is hoping to amplify the duration and scope of the media outreach by collecting supplementary capital via an online fundraising pitch.

Attracting prospective donors is always easier with personal touches.

Team Troiano will be rolling out a pair of companion endorsement videos — featuring kind words from ex-Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., (Troiano became acquainted with him through his work with The Can Kicks Back, an advocacy group focused on budgetary issues) and grunge rocker turned electoral reformer Krist Novoselic (brought together by FairVote) — before the Tilt bid expires.

The campaign is also offering up curated images from an extensive collection of time-lapse photos of D.C. Troiano and his mentor, the late Doug Bailey, captured over five years. Full story

Postpone Your ‘Recess Can’t Be Over!’ Malaise at BLT Steak

Not quite ready for Congress to return to work (someone put 12 legislative days on the clock, please) next week? Local toque Jeremy Shelton sure is.

The executive chef at BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) has been cranking out a number of recess treats for bargoers during the past month, a specialty carte — each item priced at $10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — that will (mostly) be retired come Monday.

“We have two menus every night plus happy hour as it is, now throw in 10 brand new dishes every time Congress goes into recess … It’s just a lot to keep track of,” Shelton said of the extra effort that’s been required to keep the seasonal snacks (he rolled out a similar slate when lawmakers decamped for spring break) a-coming.

Everything is, of course, prefaced by the incredibly fluffy, cheese-laced popovers BLT Steak drops off in front of every guest.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

On the off chance that isn’t enough incentive to darken their door, the expense account haven also butters up patrons with warm, crusty country bread flanked by salty-rich country pate. (Another longstanding tradition, a la the complimentary popovers, that predates Shelton’s tenure in the kitchen.)

The gourmet nibbles Shelton dreamed up this time around ran the gamut from somewhat perplexing (a smoked trout salad was overwhelmed by bitter greens and bracing citrus) to utterly delicious.

The chef said he remains partial to an heirloom tomato number featuring chimichurri as well as rotating pork-powered sammies.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The grilled sausage patties served to us featured savory swine sandwiched between tangy pickled ramp relish and spicy mustard. Though small, the well-dressed burger knock-offs were quite satisfying. Full story

September 3, 2014

Funny or Die Skewers YA Flicks for New Lets Move! Plug

First lady Michelle Obama pops up at the end of a new Funny or Die parody that swaps in nutritional hobgoblins for the living dead/pandemic event/fetishistic survival trials that seem to plague the protagonist of every young adult novel.

FLOTUS has been championing healthy eating since 44 took office in 2009; her hands-on approach to raising dietary awareness has ranged from overseeing the evolving White House kitchen garden to soliciting recipes from snack-conscious youths.

“Snackpocalypse” has its moments — “It’s like the more garbage everyone eats, the sicker they get. It’s a mystery,” muses school nurse (and “VEEP” vet) Sufe Bradshaw — but is unlikely to stir up the type of response President Barack Obama did last spring when he traded insults with Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” Full story

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