Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2015

April 25, 2014

Colleagues Curious to See How Barney Frank Flick Plays Out

A couple of the folks who sat down to share memories of what it’s like to work alongside retired Rep. Barney Frank can’t wait to see how the Massachusetts Democrat will come across when his life story is screened this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Compared to What,” which is scheduled to debut April 27 in New York City, follows Frank’s final year in office, but also reflects on the breadth of his decadeslong legislative career, as well as his personal life.

CTW Trailer 2 mins from Pack Creek Productions on Vimeo.

None of the lawmakers interviewed for the film — a roster that includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; and ex.-Sen Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. — is currently scheduled to attend the debut, an oversight Frank said he totally understands.

“I am very respectful of their time,” the former pol told HOH, adding, “Members will hear about it, but I wouldn’t want to impose on them. “

Retired Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio, who also participated in the film, told HOH that he is unable to make the trip. He noted, however, that he’s very interested in checking out the end product.

Oxley said he was interviewed by filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler over a year ago and that the documentarians focused mostly on the nitty gritty of the time the two lawmakers spent together leading the House Financial Services Committee.

“It was very much on the professional level,” he said of their line of questioning.

One thing Oxley said he hopes shines through is the good times they shared. To wit, he noted that he and Frank often enjoyed watching strange bedfellows emerge during the heat of a legislative tussle.

“I think we were talking about when I was chairman and we had [ex-Rep., now Sen.] Bernie Sanders and [retired Rep.] Ron Paul on the committee … and we had the far right and the far left meeting around the bend,” he said of unifying factors like personal privacy issues.

Per Oxley, those who only know Frank by his somewhat-prickly reputation might be surprised to learn the man was often quite diplomatic.

“I think a lot of people think Barney is a very partisan, outspoken guy. And he plays that role sometimes. But at the heart of him is a legislator,” Oxley asserted. “He was not one for flowery rhetoric or scoring political points.” Full story

Congressional ‘Chefs’ Ready Recipes for Gourmet Gala

With the 32nd Annual March of Dimes Gourmet Gala just days away, congressional tastemakers are dusting off old favorites and whipping up new temptations with which to woo support for charity cook-off bragging rights.

The epic fundraiser (individual tickets start at $1,500 per person) is scheduled to take place May 7 beginning at 6 p.m. at the National Building Museum (440 G St. NW).

Organizers have opted to embrace a state fair theme for the glitzy dine-around, and more than three dozen House and Senate lawmakers have accepted the challenge to create a hopefully noteworthy nibble.

In keeping with tradition, the Capitol Hill “chefs” will be vying for a handful of honors, including: Best Presentation, Health and Happiness, American Regional Cuisine, Easiest Preparation, Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award.

Full story

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

Walsh, left, swears by the bonding powers of craft liquor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman lawmaker John Walsh has hatched a new plan for making fast friends in the Senate: get in good with their hometown hooch producers.

The Montana Democrat plans to raise the bar on representing small batch booze makers by establishing the Senate Craft Distillers Caucus. He announced his intention to spearhead the liquor-friendly clique while soaking in the likes of Headframe Spirits, a Butte, Mont.-based distillery that specializes in bourbon, gin, vodka and a bourbon cream liqueur.

A Walsh aide said the newly minted solon is excited about tapping into the enterprising zeal of the spirits world — by Team Walsh’s count, Montana is currently home to 16 licensed distilleries — and hopes to recruit others to the task once everyone is back in town.

The planned outreach could lead to some tipsy-tacular lobbying.

Walsh could get rickey wit it alongside D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, by tipping his cap to Green Hat Gin-fueled coolers.

Or he could hedge his bets on locking down support for the group from Republican colleagues Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul by inviting them over next weekend for a Kentucky Derby viewing party and feeding them nothing but Maker’s Mark mint juleps.

Inserting himself into the bromance between Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine might take a little more work. May we suggest a boys’ weekend in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, culminating with nightly campfires around which tall tales are spun and heroic amounts of Catoctin Creek’s fiery Mosby’s Spirit or Copper Fox’s rye whiskey are swigged directly from the bottle.

Hark! C-SPAN (User Generated Content) Gets Harkin’s Name Wrong

We all get it wrong once in a while, even our friends at C-SPAN. Sen. Tom Harkin? or Tom Harken? Eh, he’s retiring anyway.

C-SPAN was quick to point out (and we mean quick!) that the following came from “a user-created clip … not created by C-SPAN” and noted that they “don’t edit clips created by the public.” Still, guys: It’s on your website.

Hark! C SPAN (User Generated Content) Gets Harkins Name Wrong

(Screenshot)

So consider this a public service announcement about the perils of user-generated content. Perhaps the new C-SPAN tagline could be amended to read, “Created by cable — and random video editors.”

Next-Generation McDermott Aide Tries Power on for Size

When I was a wee lad, bring your kid to work day — aka anytime my grandmother was unavailable to watch my mischievous self — usually meant getting dumped in front of a typewriter in some empty office and being instructed to “have fun.”

Noah Korley evidently has way more game than I did (do).

Next Generation McDermott Aide Tries Power on for Size

(Courtesy Team McDermott)

The young son of Tiana Korley, senior health counsel in the office of Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., spent part of his day on the Hill composing a whole new script for the Affordable Care Act debate.

“Noah has been in the office twice before; one time was during the passage of the ACA — hence his expert work on floor remarks today,” Team McDermott said of the mini messaging guru’s latest visit.

(Psst, kid: There’s a candy bar in it for ya if you bring us any papers in the office marked “CONFIDENTIAL.”)

Overheard: Only in D.C. or, Tax Extenders Bring Up the Rear

“I think my butt was on TV during the tax extenders markup, though.”

— One staffer to another on Wednesday in the Russell Senate Office Building basement

April 24, 2014

Give It a Rest, Pervs

Still? Really?

Give It a Rest, Pervs

(CQ Roll Call photo illustration)

Oh, and welcome to the club, Tipper! Always good to have you back.

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

Sen. Ted Cruz did a little troll hunting April 23, baiting the entirety of the Internet-enabled world with a perplexing pic of an urban safari that incited carnage across the social mediasphere.

The Texas Republican set the trap by innocently (?) blasting out a snapshot of him and Utah Republican Mike Lee — staff told HOH the tea party pals have been tag-teaming fundraisers across the Lone Star State this week — posing atop a snarling animal pelt.

 

 

Had this Senate bromance finally gone lethal?

What endangered species might be next on the Cruz-Lee extinction tour?

Or was Cruz yet again practicing the art of pressing everyone’s buttons?

“The senator was kidding,” a Cruz aide explained of the spontaneous photo op with a totally fake tiger skin rug. “He ran across it between meetings in Houston yesterday and wanted a picture.”

Joke or not, the stunt unleashed a torrent of passionate reactions on Twitter and Facebook.

After sifting through the thousands of comments furiously scribbled on Cruz’s social media boards, the brunt of popular opinion falls into three main camps:

No Remorse

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 23, 2014

Five Sebelius Slogans Ready for Rollout | Capitol Quip

Five Sebelius Slogans Ready for Rollout | 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:

  • Let me try this again …
  • I’m going to need an extension on that campaign deadline.
  • Comes with the territory. I wouldn’t exchange a thing.
  • Yes! Definitely! Emoji symbols are planned for the finished product.
  • Would you vote for me? I can help fix Obamacare!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on April 27 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 Jason Dick Posted at 6:15 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Mark Begich Wins the Parody Game

Conservative activists have composed a spiteful ditty imploring Alaskan voters to give freshman Sen. Mark Begich the heave-ho this fall.

The combative tune denounces the Democratic lawmaker, who is up for reelection in November, for lending his support to the  Affordable Care Act and presumably not fighting hard enough to get the Keystone XL pipeline up and running. “He needs to pack his bags and move to 9-0-2-1-0,” the song suggests.

As for as parodies go, the song is just OK. (Not sure even Weird Al could’ve spun gold out of the dour source material.)

Begich, meanwhile, seems to have no problem lampooning the political scandals (real and imagined) that have helped grind the federal government to a halt:

Another small victory for free will, indeed.

Millennial Activist Aims to Decode Congress Speak

Part of the reason 20-something pundit Matthew Segal accepted the challenge of hosting “OurTime with Matthew Segal,” a temporary radio show SiriusXM plans to air on weekends, is because he wants to cut through all the rhetoric Washington insiders typically regurgitate when confronted with a microphone.

A seasoned activist — his non-profit group, Our Time, is already dedicated to engaging young voters via all manner of social media — Segal told HOH he’d like to break down the relevant issues of the day (health care, civil rights, the federal budget, campaign finance) through thought-provoking discussions.

Segal said he’s asked leaders from across the political spectrum to join him for the weekly chats and is looking forward to picking their brains about how the government actually works. The six-week program is scheduled to air on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. (channel 124) at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning April 26.

“I want to get lawmakers to try to speak to our generation directly … [and] away from how the language of DC obfuscates these issues,” the nascent talk show host said of his anticipated interviewing style.

Segal explained that he modeled the show after Bob Dylan’s now-defunct “Theme Time Radio Hour,” a weekly gabfest wherein the folk rock icon would seize on a seemingly random topic and then fill the hour with songs, anecdotes, celebrity interviews and archival material loosely clinging to that common thread.

“I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we took that theme and applied it to politics?’” Segal said of his free-form mindset.

Of course, the reality of having to deal with congressional schedules and publicity clearances has already caused a few headaches.

The release announcing the show’s rollout stressed that it was all about non-partisan communication, yet only listed left-leaning guests. But that, Segal insists, is only because he can’t yet spill the beans about the conservatives who have tentatively agreed to mix it up on the show.

“We definitely have some Republican guests booked,” he said, listing a GOP senator and right-leaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist as future guests.

Each episode will be carved into three separate segments and for the debut show, Segal plans to delve into health care with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Democratic National Committee Chairman and ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

For the LGBT-related chat, Segal has lined up entertainer and Capitol Hill observer George Takei, author and transgender advocate Janet Mock and the unnamed GOP activist. Full story

April 22, 2014

Florida Special Election Winner Challenges President to 3-Point Contest

Businessman Curt Clawson capped off his victory in the Florida special election Republican primary with a challenge to President Barack Obama to “man up” and join him for a game of hoops.

“To President Obama: We aren’t going to agree on much. I am going to challenge you on Obamacare,” Clawson said, according to his prepared remarks released to the press after his primary victory. “I am going to challenge you on spending. I am going to challenge you on economic growth.”

“But first, I am going to challenge you on the basketball court,” he added. “It’s time to man up and accept the three-point challenge. My house or yours?”

The former Purdue Boilermaker basketball star won the decisive GOP primary Tuesday evening and is a safe bet to win the June 24 general election for Florida’s 19th District to replace ex-GOP Rep. Trey Radel.

Full story

Homesick South Dakotans Take Heart, Taco John Is on the Way

Midwesterners desperately in need of a Taco John’s fix should strap on their hungry pants on May 10.

That’s when members of the South Dakota State Society will once again crank out mountains of the take-out joint’s signature Potato Ole (that’s specially seasoned potato crowns to you and me, Russ) to feed the homesick masses.

The sixth annual fundraiser is scheduled to take place at the US-Asia Institute (232 East Capitol St. NE) some time in the afternoon.

Can’t wait to have your fellow Mount Rushmore Staters fling deep-fried spuds down your throat?

Warm up for the West-Mex fiesta by giving homemade Potato Oles a go.

According to Food.com contributor Annabel31, the secret to the signature flavor is, well, no secret at all. Her copycat condiment calls for little more than seasoned salt, paprika, ground cumin and crushed red pepper.

Happy snacking!

April 21, 2014

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is so impressed with Sen. Christopher S. Murphy’s humanitarian work that the homeless aid group plans to honor the freshman lawmaker with the inaugural “Mission Possible Champion of the Year” award on May 3.

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is mighty impressed with Murphy, left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to a Miriam’s Kitchen aide, the Connecticut Democrat has made a name for himself amongst the social assistance community by championing efforts to expand services for at-risk veterans, improving the availability of housing vouchers for displaced individuals and delving into the nutritional challenges faced by those attempting to subsist solely on food stamps.

“The reality of homelessness isn’t something that most people can easily understand. It impacts our entire community, often in ways that aren’t obvious,” Murphy asserted in a release shared by Miriam’s Kitchen. “When federal, state and local policymakers collaborate with service providers and advocates, the solutions become very clear: chronically homeless people need housing. It is the key to helping our most at-risk neighbors build a better life for themselves, and it is critical to containing the high costs of chronic homelessness.”

In addition to headlining Miriam’s Kitchen’s Mission Possible Gala on May 3, Murphy and members of his staff are scheduled to help dole out meals at the main facility (2401 Virginia Ave. NW) Tuesday night.

Murphy’s first trip to Miriam’s HQ will begin around 4 p.m. with meal prep. Dinner service is set to begin around 4:45 p.m.; the menu for the evening is a chicken broccoli stir-fry featuring bok choy, mushrooms and braised greens.

Team Miriam’s Kitchen expects to serve upwards of 150 homeless during the dinner rush — roughly 13 percent of which are typically U.S. military vets.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:43 p.m.
DC, Freshman, Staffers

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

As if congressional dining options weren’t sketchy enough, a Senate aide is now all salty about a purported bait and switch, calling into question the integrity of the American Grill’s signature Senate Burger.

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

According to the fed-up food spy, Restaurant Associates has replaced the Angus beef patties previously featured in the double-decker gut bomb with smaller, lesser quality patties while continuing to charge the premium rate ($6 solo; $8 to have extra crispy fries and a fountain drink ride shotgun).

In all honesty, we’ve not paid that close attention to the building blocks of the congressional burger offerings before (too busy breaking down the specialty misfires). And Restaurant Associates, per usual, did not respond to emails inquiring about the composition of the Senate Burger vs. the other grilled meats served around the Capitol complex.

So we got to munching.

A regular burger from the American Grill is, in fact, nothing to write home about. Full story

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