Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 6, 2015

February 24, 2015

Duckworth Back at Work Following Maternity Leave

Duckworth Back at Work Following Maternity Leave

The new mom back at work: Duckworth with baby Abigail (Courtesy Twitter).

Congress has yet another working mom to add to its ranks.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is back at work after giving birth to daughter Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey in November.  According to her office, Duckworth took 12 weeks paid maternity leave and returned to work at the district office at the end of last month. While on leave, she was able to take brief trips to D.C. for her swearing-in and the signing of the Clay Hunt veterans suicide prevention bill earlier this month, but this is her first full week back on Capitol Hill. It was also Abigail’s first plane ride, which, according to Duckworth’s office, went quite well.

Duckworth’s maternity leave corresponds to the amount she offers her own staff.  Women receive 12 weeks paid maternity leave; men receive six weeks paid paternity leave. Duckworth described her leave as “an amazing time in my life to be able to spend so much time with Abigail” in a statement to HOH.

What’s next on the busy working mom’s to-do list? Mulling a Senate run perhaps?

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By Rebecca Gale Posted at 2:21 p.m.
It's a Girl!

Let Uncle Sam Handle Breakfast

If, as campaigning politicians love to posit, it is, in fact, perpetual morning in America, what better way to greet the day than with unabashedly patriotic cooking utensils?

The meal-minded manufacturers at Germany-based Brainstream have cooked up just such a device: the Patriotic BeepEgg.

Let Uncle Sam Handle Breakfast

(Screenshot)

The musically enabled egg timer — shrouded, of course, in a red, white and blue design scheme — plays a trio of heartstring-tugging tunes depending on the desired doneness of the corresponding poultry embryos. The handheld tool appears to be embedded with a tiny speaker that chirps out basic melodies. Full story

Norton: Don’t Tread on the Right to Sled

Norton: Dont Tread on the Right to Sled

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After reports that Capitol Police had stopped children from sledding on the Capitol grounds, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., is taking a stand.

“Although I understand that sledding has been banned for years, what I do not understand is why the U.S. Capitol Police have recently decided to enforce this Scrooge-like ban,” Norton wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin. “Americans should be able to sled on ‘America’s front lawn.’ I am asking that the Capitol Police Board remove the ban on sledding from Capitol Police regulations.” Full story

Why This Member Has Rubber Ducks on His Desk

Why This Member Has Rubber Ducks on His Desk

Stylings most fowl in Swalwell’s office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Like most members, Rep. Eric Swalwell has put personal touches on his Capitol Hill office.

The two-term California Democrat has a rack of wine bottles from vineyards in his district on display and a simple crucifix hanging above the door.

Unlike most members, a modest collection of small, rubber ducks sits at the edge of his desk.

Full story

February 23, 2015

Pols, Chefs Primed to Fete Military Families

A group of bipartisan lawmakers is expected to join a cadre of local chefs and administration officials Tuesday in showing their support for civic groups and community leaders devoted to assisting military families any which way they can.

Blue Star Families’ Fifth Anniversary Celebration, an invitation-only affair hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled to kick off Tuesday at 6 p.m. The annual gala pays tribute to those who look out for armed forces personnel — either by hiring returning vets, providing assistance to their families or facilitating the transition from active duty to civilian life — here on the home front. Full story

Newseum Books John Lewis for More ‘March’ Talk

Freedom Rider turned graphic novelist Rep. John Lewis is scheduled to engage Newseum supporters Wednesday in an intimate discussion about the continuing saga of his illustrated memoir, “March: Book Two.”

Newseum Books John Lewis for More ‘March’ Talk

Lewis stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in between television interviews on Feb. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Georgia Democrat and one of his congressional aides, Andrew Aydin, are in the middle of producing the serialized treatment of Lewis’ rise through the ranks of civil rights-era leaders.

In late 2013, Lewis peeled back the curtain about his foray into comics writing for Newseum fans during a chat at the Knight Conference Center. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:59 p.m.
Books, DC, media, Reps, Staffers

Congressional Grump Blamed for Nixing Hillside Sledding

Updated: 5:30 p.m. | Capitol Police dashed the weekend fun being had by neighborhood youngsters because one congressional leader appears to be a stickler for decorum.

Following the second wave of white stuff dumped on Washington, D.C., in just a few days, an HOH tipster said sled-toting families on Feb. 21 braved the frigid temperatures for a chance to feel the sting of kicked-up slush and whipping winds while zooming down the West Front of the Capitol.

Congressional Grump Blamed for Nixing Hillside Sledding

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Until a Capitol Police officer begrudgingly brought the seasonal merriment to a screeching halt. Full story

HOH Word of the Week: Junketeer

“Junketeer. Member of Congress given to travel outside of his or her district. All too often, the junketeer is more than willing to give up precious winter days in Washington, D.C., to discuss Atlantic-Pacific relations under the hot Hawaiian sun or to address the issue of Caribbean cooperation at poolside in Montego Bay.”

— From “The Congress Dictionary: The Ways and Meanings of Capitol Hill,” by Paul Dickson and Paul Clancy Full story

UFO Activist to Capitol Hill: ‘Beam Me Up!’

Stephen Bassett, executive director of Paradigm Research Group and founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee (X-PPAC), has devoted the past 18 years to overcoming the “truth embargo” about government involvement in alien affairs.

He’s now ready for Congress to officially weigh in.

UFO Activist to Capitol Hill: ‘Beam Me Up!’

(Screenshot)

“Once this evidence is properly looked at, the way it should be, any reasonable person will come to the same conclusion,” Bassett told HOH about the cumulative knowledge his advocacy group wants to share with interested lawmakers.

Bassett laid the groundwork for his latest congressional outreach a few years back, hosting a 30-plus-hour mock hearing (spanning five days) at the National Press Club in 2013. He had copies of the recorded sessions of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure delivered to every Capitol Hill office — a bundle containing 10 DVDs, a letter signed by the participating witnesses and a request to meet with Bassett — immediately following the midterm elections. Full story

February 20, 2015

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Chuck Schumer (Video)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer laughs at his own jokes and shows his love for Rep. Steve King, all the while remaining very “happy.”

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Public TV Shines Spotlight on Dick Durbin

The public broadcasting community is slated to tip its collective hat to Sen. Richard J. Durbin on Feb. 24 for a career spent defending the little media guy.

Public TV Shines Spotlight on Dick Durbin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per event organizers, the Illinois Democrat will be presented with the 2015 Champion of Public Broadcasting Award next week at a ceremony held at the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building. The breakfast meeting, which is scheduled to include remarks by Congressional Public Broadcasting Caucus Co-Chairman Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., will cap off the 2015 Public Media Summit taking place in Washington from Feb. 22 through Feb. 24.

Attendees at the Association of Public Television Stations’ fourth annual conference are also expected to pay tribute to former Sen. Richard G. Lugar. The Indiana Republican will be honored with the CPB Thought Leader Award during a weekend luncheon. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., is scheduled to share his take on public media’s role in civil discourse during the same session (Fairmont Washington Ballroom, 1-2:30 p.m.). Full story

February 19, 2015

Have Snowpiercer, Will Travel

If you think prepping for your commute across the wind-whipped, frozen tundra that’s overtaken the District this week (Wooly hat? Check. Gloves? Check. Lips? Painfully cracking.) has been a humdinger, get a load of what Rep. Chellie Pingree has been waking up to.

Have Snowpiercer, Will Travel

(Courtesy Bill Trevaskis)

In order to travel from her home on the island of North Haven, Maine, to the mainland, the Democrat had to slog across the fully iced-over Fox Islands Thorofare waterway. Full story

No Labels Hosts ‘Problem-Solver’ Party

Now that it’s got a fully functional mystery logo in hand, No Labels is prepared to get its branding on Feb. 24 via a collective toast to legislative cooperation.

The non-partisan advocacy group is scheduled to welcome pols back from recess by raising a glass to “the common bonds that unite us” (Capitol Hill receptions?) in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

No Labels leaders ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.; ex-Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn.; and ex-Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., are expected to oversee the gathering of sitting members, congressional staff and business leaders. Full story

February 18, 2015

Generation Opportunity Wants to Hang

Generation Opportunity Wants to Hang

(Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

Fed-up millennials: Generation Opportunity wants you!

The youth-centric organization — an advocacy group partially bankrolled by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s favorite bogeymen, the Koch brothers — is hosting its monthly Millennial Meet-Up Feb. 23 from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Senate Budget Committee room (Dirksen 608). Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Feb. 9, 2015 (Video)

Lawmakers prepared for the holiday weekend by contemplating hamsters, Venezuelan hamburgers and former Sen. Strom Thurmond’s grandchildren.

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