Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

November 26, 2013

Senator Wants Chatty Future Air Travelers to Get Off His Lawn

Bad news potentially promiscuous air travelers: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., doesn’t want to know about your “last night’s love life.”

Senator Wants Chatty Future Air Travelers to Get Off His Lawn

Alexander: Not a fan of cellphone use on planes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alexander issued a statement on the eve of one of the busiest air travel days of the year urging Federal Communications Commission heads to ban phone calls on planes, even as the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would ease its cellphone policy.
The old-man statement — which this HOH scribe endorses and thinks you will, too — is too good not to publish in its entirety: Full story

Overheard: Obama’s Genuine Beliefs

“I think he genuinely believes in dialogue.”

— Rep. Peter T. King, speaking on Fox News today about President Barack Obama and the Iran nuclear deal.

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:03 p.m.
Overheards, POTUS, Reps

November 25, 2013

Turkey Hill Farm Prepares to Welcome Presidential Birds

Turkey Hill Farm Prepares to Welcome Presidential Birds

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

LEESBURG, Va. — Franklin, the one-and-a-half-year-old Bronze turkey who currently has the Morven Park staff all to himself, will be getting some high-profile roomies early next year. That’s when the gobblers President Barack Obama is scheduled to pardon Wednesday afternoon in the Rose Garden will make their way west to their new home, Turkey Hill Farm.

The reprieve for the twin birds coming from Badger, Minn., will mark a quarter-century of forgiveness handed down by consecutively sitting presidents.

Turkey Hill Farm Prepares to Welcome Presidential Birds

(Courtesy Pete Souza/White House)

Previously pardoned presidential birds have been retired to local sites including Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va., and, most recently, Mount Vernon estate. Of course, being pardoned doesn’t prevent the grim reaper from eventually coming a-calling.

Morven Park spokeswoman Teresa Davenport and the rest of the staff that tends to the sprawling Leesburg estate once owned by the late Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis are hoping this year’s turkeys will thrive in their new facility. Full story

McMorris Rodgers Gives Birth to Her Third Child

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave birth to her third child, Brynn Catherine, early Sunday morning.

McMorris Rodgers Gives Birth to Her Third Child

(Courtesy Cathy McMorris Rodgers)

The Washington Republican’s latest bundle of joy, who clocked in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, arrived at 6:19 a.m. Sunday — slightly earlier than her December due date.

“Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new life into the world,” McMorris Rodgers said alongside a photo posted on her Instagram account Monday afternoon. “She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride. Our hearts are full.”

All three of McMorris Rodgers’ children were born while she was serving in Congress. She and her husband, Brian, welcomed Cole in April 2007 and Grace in December 2010.

The new addition to the McMorris Rodgers family continues the recent House baby boom. Fellow Republicans Kevin Yoder of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio both became fathers earlier this month.

Stocking Stuffers Galore in House Gift Shop

Still wrestling with what to get loved ones mildly liked ones this holiday season?

Stocking Stuffers Galore in House Gift Shop

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Has the House Gift Shop got a deal for you!

On Dec. 2, nearly everything in stock will be 10 percent off. That’s right, bargain hunters, 10 percent off almost everything awkwardly stamped with a congressional seal. Staff said the discount does not apply to any of the Tiffany & Co. items (the sterling silver collection ranges from an $80 necklace with House seal-emblazoned charm to a $300 bracelet with a similar charm), 2013 holiday ornaments or special orders.

Stocking Stuffers Galore in House Gift Shop

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

This year’s official holiday ornament features a mini Statue of Freedom purportedly carved from pieces of marble removed during a previous restoration. Full story

Tortilla Coast Caters to Black Friday Crowd

We’ve already laid out a cornucopia of options for those who prefer to let others do the cooking on Turkey Day. Now the Clover Restaurant Group wants to take care of those in need of sustenance during the most hectic shopping day of the year.

In a bid to woo Black Friday bargain hunters (and folks who might already need a break from leftover bird), the proprietors of the Tortilla Coast and Café Deluxe chainlets have decided to serve brunch at all their restaurants on Nov. 29.

The flagship Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE) — aka Texas Republican Ted Cruz’s clubhouse — will dish out brunch specialties from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Featured items include: short stacks of buttermilk pancakes, fajita steak and eggs, Captain Crunch-studded brioche French toast, huevos rancheros, chorizo-laced breakfast burritos and spinach-mushroom omelets.

The Logan Circle Tortilla Coast (1460 P St. NW) will offer its brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Featured items include: scrambled-egg-filled enchiladas, short rib breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, cornmeal-banana pancakes and Mexican toast (corn flake-crusted brioche, sweet crème fraiche, assorted berries, orange syrup).

No doubt the signature frozen margaritas will also be flowing like water.

November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving From Capitol Quip!

Happy Thanksgiving From Capitol Quip!

Happy Thanksgiving from Capitol Quip! So as not to force any readers to vote for their favorite Capitol Quip caption in a tryptophan-induced food coma on Thanksgiving Day, this one’s on us! We’re going to let the image speak for itself.

We’ll be back next week with a brand-new Capitol Quip on Dec. 1 on this blog and in the following print edition of Roll Call. Until then, have a safe and happy Turkey Day!

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

A Kick and a Miss | Capitol Quip

A Kick and a Miss | 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.

November 22, 2013

On Reddit AMA, Niels Lesniewski Discusses Nuclear Option, Movember

Roll Call’s own Niels Lesniewski took to Reddit Friday to field questions about what happened in the Senate Thursday in the wake of the nuclear option being triggered.

On Reddit AMA, Niels Lesniewski Discusses Nuclear Option, Movember

Lesniewski with his favorite reading material, Riddick’s Senate Procedure. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

His “Ask Me Anything” thread is still live on the site.

“Democrats seem to have decided that being able to get President Obama’s nominees confirmed outweighed the risks of the next Republican president doing the same,” he wrote of the historic change to the Senate’s rules.

Redditor arrggg asked what the most monumental rules change was previously.

“This was probably the biggest change since 1975, when they reduced the number needed to break most filibusters from two-thirds to 60 votes,” Lesniewski responded.

But not all the questions were so serious.  Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses (Video) | Week of 11/18/13

From being fed up with task force after task force to parliamentary points of order, expect the unexpected on the House and Senate floor in this week’s Congressional Hits and Misses.

JFK’s Roll Call Testimonial

As a member of Congress who made his way to the White House, John F. Kennedy never forgot his Capitol Hill roots. In the days after the president’s funeral, Roll Call’s editorial on Nov. 27, 1963, recalled that Kennedy wrote to us the year before, on the occasion of our seventh anniversary, to wish us well:

“The original aims of your newspaper — to provide the members and staffs on Capitol Hill with a weekly medium of news about each other and to inject a healthy spirit of fun into the proceedings of Congress — have been admirably fulfilled. We on this end of Pennsylvania Avenue will continue to count on ROLL CALL for the excellent ‘under the dome’ coverage it provides.”

As Roll Call founder Sid Yudain wrote in the editorial: “No newspaperman could wish for a greater testimonial.”

Georgetowners Toasting JFK in Neighborhood Tribute

Capitol Hill veteran-turned-lobbyist Bill Broydrick on Friday is following in President John F. Kennedy’s historic footsteps, rounding up those who share a postal code with the late Massachusetts Democrat for a commemorative drink.

“My wife Cindi and I live on the same block as President Kennedy did when he was elected President,” Broydrick told HOH in an email, putting himself in the proximity of the love nest JFK and Jackie shared at 3307 N. St. NW during his 1960 campaign. “We have invited all of our neighbors to share a drink and toast to JFK at Martin’s Tavern where JFK asked Jackie to marry him.”

Per Broydrick, this is the first time he’s attempted to orchestrate such a pilgrimage; just more than a dozen neighbors — including the folks currently residing in the old Kennedy roost — have agreed to make the trek. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:03 p.m.
Booze, DC, POTUS, VIPs

November 21, 2013

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

During Thursday’s grand opening here in D.C., Capriotti’s — a sandwich shop that got under way nearly four decades ago in Wilmington, Del. — got a visit from a very special fan: sub-dispatcher-in-chief Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Delaware Democrat strode into the new location (1800 M St. NW) and was immediately welcomed by thunderous applause. The store was packed with friends and family of the Capriotti’s chain (95 stores and counting), while Racing Presidents, freebie-seekers and star-struck tourists milled about outside.

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Once at the counter, Biden ordered lunch for himself and President Barack Obama. He put in for two medium Italian subs — “We don’t call them hoagies in Delaware. We call them subs,” VPOTUS explained to the crush of reporters on hand for the lunch outing — both stripped of onions, an order of hot peppers on the side, one large “Bobbie” (a Thanksgiving-style mash-up of roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo) and another large Italian sub, again with hot peppers on the side.

The crowd erupted in laughter after Capriotti’s CEO Ashley Morris recited back the charge ($56.25), at which point Biden, who discovered he only had $50 on him, called back to staff to loan him a few bucks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:50 p.m.
DC, Food, POTUS, Restos, Uncle Joe

For Holiday Season, Hillys Offer a Guide

Now that the Roll Call holiday gift and eating guide is out, it seems like as good a time as any to plug the Capitol Hill businesses, nonprofits and services that were recently honored at the Hilly Awards.

About 100 people milled about the Stars and Stripes Club on Nov. 16, drinking, snacking and chatting in a large room that overlooked Nationals Park from behind home plate.

“I love being part of this community. … I love being the best damn hair salon on Capitol Hill,”  said Michael Anthony, whose eponymous salon won best the award for health and beauty service of the year.

Below is list of the 2013 winners followed by the runners-ups:

Best bar: Beuchert’s Saloon. Runner-up: The Pug.

Best restaurant: Acqua Al 2. Runner-up: Belga Café.

Best retailer: Frager’s Hardware. Runner-up: Hill’s Kitchen.

Best health and beauty service: Michael Anthony Salon. Runner-up: Bubbles.

Best fitness service: Biker Barre. Runner-up: Results the Gym.

Best professional service: D.C. Access. Runner-up: National Capital Bank.

Best home and garden service: Frager’s Garden Pad. Runner-up: Moody Landscape Architect.

Best arts organization: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital. Runner-up: Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Best nonprofit: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Runner-up: Rural Dog Reserve.

Best cafe/coffee shop: Peregrine Espresso. Runner-up: Pound The Hill.

Best new restaurant: District Taco. Runner-up: Beuchert’s Saloon.

Best new business: Hank’s Oyster Bar. Runner-up: Beuchert’s Saloon.

Full story

Ex-Obama Aide Hosts Medical Fundraiser at Vendetta

Communications guru Scott Goodstein wants to thank the trauma team that came to his rescue after a life-threatening motorcycle wreck earlier this spring.

Ex Obama Aide Hosts Medical Fundraiser at Vendetta

(Courtesy Scott Goodstein)

So he’s paying everything forward by hosting a fundraiser Thursday night at Vendetta (1212 H St. NE) benefiting the medical personnel that placed him on the road to recovery.

The party, which is open to the general public (one can RSVP via Facebook or Evite, but a promoter assured HOH it was not required), begins at 6 p.m. and will feature complimentary appetizers. Meanwhile, $1 from each of the specialty drinks sold will flow through to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The external online director during President Barack Obama’s first bid for the White House most recently made headlines by having some fun with the government shutdown. His company, Revolution Messaging, put together the lawmaker-needling DrunkDialCongress.org service.

Goodstein launched another campaign shortly after the accident, vowing not to shave until after his final surgery and inviting well-wishers to style his next facial hair configuration while also stumping for some charitable giving.

He seeded that initial pot with a $218 donation — and was since watched it grow into a $4,200-and-counting windfall for UMD.

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