- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
October 3, 2013
Several eyewitnesses of Thursday’s car chase and shooting at the Capitol described a chaotic scene as Capitol Police officers attempted to get a female suspect to exit her car — she refused and they opened fire with service weapons as she sped away.
One 57-year-old man from the District, Frank Schwing, said he was near a grove of trees “on the Mall side … at the base of the Capitol. Police came out with their their guns drawn, opened the passenger side [door], tried to get the driver out. At that point, the driver slammed in reverse, slammed into a cruiser, did a 180 and took off. At that point there were about a half a dozen shots fired. … At that point you could hear a number of cars coming in, police up on the Hill made us get down. They were trying to evacuate us into a safe place. They had their guns drawn.”
Regina Romero, 54, of Sacramento,Calif., is visiting D.C. with her family on vacation. She said she was standing near the Botanic Garden at the time of the incident, on the west side of the House side of the Capitol.
“There were a lot of police cars coming from all directions,” she said, adding she heard 10 to 12 gunshots.
“We were kind of scared because we heard what happened a couple of weeks ago,” she said, referring to the Navy Yard shooting.
Irina Kleiman of Toronto, said, “My husband [and I] were right beside the Capitol Building [on the Senate side]. And we heard three or four shots in front of the building [on the west side]. We just stood there looking. Then we heard some more shots up the street [from Constitution Ave.] And then suddenly everybody started running. Thousands of police showed up. Where we were, there was a policeman with a huge rifle who yelled at us, ‘This is real, get down.’ I was so scared, so we just ran and he said to crouch behind a bench.”
Nathanael Bennett had a birds-eye view of Thursday’s incident from his office on the third floor of the American Center for Law and Justice, at the southeast corner of the intersections of Maryland and Constitution avenues and Second Street Northeast, across from the Hart Senate Office Building.
“I heard a commotion — a screeching car, car crashing, and gun shots — all in rapid succession,” Bennett told Roll Call. At that point, he turned around in his chair to look out the window.
From Bennett’s vantage point, the car was behind the guard shack at the intersection. He saw three police officers converge on the vehicle from three sides, firing their weapons: one officer from the median, standing behind some electrical boxes near the guard shack, a second officer in front of the car on Constitution Avenue, and a third officer from the sidewalk near the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum.
After a series of at least a dozen gunshots, the car went into reverse, careened into the median and into the guard shack. At that point, Bennett and his co-worker decided to move to the interior of their offices.
“The whole thing lasted about three or four seconds,” Bennett said.
While Capitol Hill police raced to contain a mid-afternoon scare punctuated by gunshots, car chases and emergency evacuation procedures, Rep. Tim Griffin was busy firing partisan insults into the online ether.
Less than a minute after alerting his Twitter flock about the life-threatening drama right outside the Capitol, the Arkansas Republican took a swipe at President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. — a move many observers took to mean that he somehow blamed Democrats for the violent episode.
Reactions ran the gamut from disbelief:
to derision: Full story
The apology tour has begun for Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who wants desperately to take back the cluelessness about the House GOP’s endgame he shared with Roll Call alumnus David M. Drucker earlier this week.
“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is,” Stutzman told the Washington Examiner when pressed about the strategy behind the lingering government shutdown.
President Barack Obama didn’t mention the Indiana Republican by name during his Thursday morning speech to a Rockville, Md., construction company, but he did make sure to rub the GOP’s sentiments in the blue collar-crowd’s faces.
“Just yesterday, one House Republican said — I’m quoting here, all right, because I want to make sure people understand I didn’t make this up — one House Republican said, ‘We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this, and I don’t know what that even is.’
“Think about that. You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There’s no higher honor than that,” 44 told the assembled workers, who, according to media reports, both laughed and clapped for the ready-made punch line.
About an hour after being lampooned by POTUS, Stutzman’s press shop issued the following mea culpa:
“Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker Boehner’s work on behalf of the American people. Despite my remarks it’s clear that the American people want both parties to come to the table to reopen the government, tackle this nation’s debt crisis, and stop ObamaCare’s pain.”
Best of luck with the rest of your backpedaling, sir.
Signs like these are all over Washington and the rest of the country these days, but what makes this one unusual is that it was taken by this scribe’s mother-in-law in Waregem, Belgium, at the Flanders Field American Cemetery.
Yes, it appears even our overseas cemeteries honoring fallen U.S. soldiers from World Wars I and II are shuttered. Indeed, the American Battle Monuments Commission, which manages 24 cemeteries and 26 memorials, monuments and markers abroad, has shut down.
“The sacrifice of more than 218,000 U.S. servicemen and women is memorialized at these locations. Nearly 125,000 American war dead are buried at ABMC cemeteries, with an additional 94,000 individuals commemorated on Tablets of the Missing,” the ABMC’s website notes.
But the site also notes something else: “Due to a lack of funding for ABMC operations (U.S. Government shutdown), ABMC cemeteries and memorials are temporarily closed. We are unable to respond to your inquiries or provide the services and products described in the ‘Services Available’ section of this Web site. We regret any inconvenience these temporary actions may cause.”
Susan Parry, a D.C. resident (and mother to this reporter’s husband), said that one Belgian worker at the Flanders cemetery told her there are usually four people who man the site. The cemetery is the final resting place for 368 soldiers, who the ABMC said “gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I” in September 1918.
But the ABMC also serves larger and more popular tourist sites, such as the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial that contains the graves of 9,387 soldiers, most of whom died on D-Day.
A minor altercation occurred Wednesday night involving Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., according to Capitol Hill sources.
Duffy’s office is confirming that “a minor incident happened last night as the congressman was walking to the Capitol for final votes.”
The final vote series occurred shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“A random individual, unknown to the congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm,” said spokeswoman Cassie Smedile in a Thursday morning statement. “Mr. Duffy was unharmed. He reported the incident in compliance with House security procedures. Congressman Duffy has requested no further action be taken and there will be no further comment on the matter at this time.”
The confrontation may have stemmed from frustration over the federal government shutdown, according to sources.
Capitol Police are investigating a report of an assault on a member of Congress in the Longworth House Office Building, according to Kimberly Schneider, a public information officer for the department.
October 2, 2013
Shutdown rules have Capitol tour groups on a short leash — tour guides are furloughed, staff-led tours are forbidden, member-led tours are capped at 10 per group, and members must personally accompany the tour at all times.
That’s why a group of 25 Miami University students touring the rotunda raised HOH’s eyebrows. The Oxford, Ohio, university is located in Speaker John A. Boehner’s district, but he was nowhere in sight.
HOH was puzzled as to how the students, easily identified by their red “M” lapel pins and a few flashy Miami University folders, gained access to the Capitol. The leader of the group herded them through the Rotunda around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, then into the Old Senate Chamber, with a Capitol Police officer on hand to unlock the door. Full story
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. EDT Thursday.
Here are this week’s finalists:
- He’s been singing the same tune for so long, it’s a wonder that he still needs to look at the words.
- I vote to defund my senses.
- What can I say? It’s better than the Kabuki-style theater we’ve had in Congress here lately.
- Our polls tell us this one’s easy: the one-note samba!
- At least it isn’t a Dr. Seuss book this time.
The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Oct. 6 and in the following day’s 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.
Local bars and restaurants have made it their business to comfort congressional staffers who’ve been temporarily laid off while lawmakers continue haggling over a solution to the budgetary standoff.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers all around Capitol Hill are struggling to understand why elected officials would deliberately undermine their efforts to earn a decent living.
Savita Malhotra, owner of Capital Hill Liquors & Deli (323 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), is simply stunned by the ongoing ideological scuffle.
“This should never have happened. This bickering does not help our country at all,” she said of the political theater playing out on cable news shows.
“We’re trying to create jobs and they’re hurting us by sending people home,” she said of the economic uncertainty looming over her head, adding that the legislative logjam has turned the entire neighborhood “into a ghost town.”
Thomas Calomiris, owner of an eponymous, family-owned fruit stand in Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE), said, at least so far, business has been about the same.
But he suggested that some patrons seem to have a tinge of worry in their voices.
“I’ve seen a few people who told me they suddenly have more free time,” he shared. Some shoppers have tried to put a happy face on the whole situation, while others just seem like they are trying to keep busy.
So far, no one has come in all panicked. (We didn’t see many people at all during our midday visit.) But Calomiris said everyone would likely begin cutting back if the shutdown stretches into a protracted showdown like the one that gripped the city nearly two decades ago.
“I remember that … business didn’t pick up immediately after,” he said of the sluggish sales he experienced in the wake of the GOP rebellion against President Bill Clinton.
Meanwhile, Calomiris marveled at the fact that when mom-and-pops like his default on bills, things get real ugly, real fast.
“I know the government has a hard time resolving things. [But] if it was run like a business, things would be different,” he opined.
Given that Capitol Hill Fitness (725 Eighth St. SE), a free-form workout den, has only been open for a couple of months, fitness consultant Breelaun Marchai said it’s tough to gauge how his business will be affected long-term.
“No crazy changes yet,” he said.
Just to be safe, the shop has carved out a furlough special — half-off admission (that’s $5 for a 30-minute circuit, which includes 8-16 stations of full-body, low-impact challenges) for the duration of the shutdown.
Marchai hinted that their open-door policy — no membership required and no appointments necessary — should make it easy for anyone to fit a workout into their suddenly wide-open schedule.
Over at Capitol Hill Books (657 C St. SE), employee Jennifer Ellingston said she’s noticed a slight uptick in foot traffic.
“Well, of course people are coming in, because they’re not going to work,” she said.
Ellingston estimated that around a half-dozen furloughees popped in Tuesday in search of page-turners to occupy their time.
“There was a lot of, ‘Oh, you all are here because’ … [Them:] ‘Yes’ …, ” she said of the friendly patter that immediately ensued when the non-retirees (the store’s core daytime constituency) trickled in to wander the overcrowded stacks.
Even better: Each one of the surprise shoppers walked out of the store with a just-purchased title in hand.
Of course, infinite downtime isn’t panning out for everyone.
Just ask the confused little girl we spotted fumbling with the locks barring her from frolicking in the Stanton Park playground.
In these difficult times, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has asked his colleagues to join him Thursday for a nice, leisurely, comity-building bipartisan coffee … on the Capitol steps. Where anyone can take photographs.
Two Democratic sources passed along Paul’s “Dear Colleague” invitation, which was distributed over the Democratic Senate schedulers Listserv. Hopefully those schedulers are essential and still checking email!
“Rand Paul appointing himself the arbiter of bipartisanship is like Miley Cyrus appointing herself the arbiter of modesty,” says one of our snarky sources.
“I know it’s a shutdown, sir. But you can’t be laying back down.”
— A street vendor trying to rouse a homeless gent dozing on a Capitol Hill sidewalk
That government ID card might be useless around the Capitol during the shutdown, but plenty of local businesses are rolling out the red carpet to furloughees in need of gastrotherapy. We’re adding to this list all the time, so please keep coming back, and don’t forget to check in with Roll Call After Dark for some of the other specials around town revolving around the arts and sights.
Good This Week
Granville Moore’s/1238 H St. NE
$3 “under pressure” barbecue pork belly bites on special Tuesday. $1 Stella Artois for as long as owner Teddy Folkman can swing them.
“We have 10 cases of Stella coming in today. So ’till we run out’ … kinda like the budget,” Folkman told HOH.
Mockingbird Hill/1843 Seventh St. NW
One free glass of sherry poured for badge-flashers from now until Thursday.
Tortilla Coast/400 First St. SE
Wednesday and Thursday, happy hour drinks in the bar.
And while it’s not actually contingent on the government implosion, the flagship Tortilla Coast couldn’t have picked a better time to resurrect its month-long “Texas State Fair” promotion.
The Capitol Hill mainstay is celebrating all things Lone Star State from now until Oct. 20, serving up a number of dishes of downhome-style nosh that should help dull the pain of being relegated to the political sidelines for a while.
A frosty Shiner Bock Black always takes the edge off. Mini corn dogs allow you to eat your feelings, one sweet cornmeal-wrapped nibble at a time. Traditional Fritos pie makes it easy to knock off essential Tex-Mex food groups — chili, queso and corn chips (like tortillas, ‘cept different) — all in one sitting.
And what pity party is complete without a deep-fried, honey drizzled snack cake?
No ID needed to partake in Tortilla Coast’s specialty fare. And $1 of every specialty entree gets donated to the Capital Area Food Bank — because charities often have to pick up where the government leaves off.
Until It’s All Over
Art and Soul/415 New Jersey Ave. NW
Happy hour pricing — $4 regional draft beers, $5 appetizers, $7 cocktails and house wines — extended 4-8 p.m. until the shutdown ends. “Show us your government ID this week, and your second HH drink is on us,” a restaurant aide said.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken/1308 G St. NW
One free doughnut with purchase of any doughnut or chicken order for any federal or D.C. government employee with ID.
Bayou Bakery/1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, Va.
Free beignets with any coffee purchase to badge-flashing patrons. Owner David Guas is mulling additional deals and plans to offer something special each day until the shutdown ends.
Boundary Road/414 H St. NE
All-day furlough happy hour deals include $5 local beers, $5 Green Hat gin and tonics and the $7 “Nonessential Combo,” partnering a Narragansett Brewing Co. tall-boy with a shot of Old Overholt rye; no (federal) ID required.
Capitol Lounge/229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Offering one free draft beer to badge-flashing feds, Tuesday only.
Custom Fuel/1747 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Show a government ID, and, as part of Custom Fuel’s “Pizza for the People” deal, get any one of their 13 Vintage pizza varieties and a Bud or Bud Lite for $10.
Hill Country Barbecue/410 Seventh St. NW
Happy hour drink prices — $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon, $5 well shots and cocktails, $5 margaritas and $20 pitchers of margaritas — in effect for anyone with a government ID until the shutdown ends.
Johnny’s Half Shell/400 North Capitol St. NW
Newly minted cocktail “The Furloughed Fortune” — a red, white and blue cooler forged from dry gin, blue curacao, cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup — available for $5 from 11:30 a.m. till closing, until the shutdown ends.
Marvin/2007 14th St. NW
All-day progressive happy hour featuring discounted Stella Artois (start at $1, climbing each hour till 4 p.m., when they level out at $4 all night), $5 rail drinks, $6 house wines and Absolut cocktails, and rolling food specials ($4 frites, $6 chicken fried oysters, $6 cheese croquettes and $9 house-smoked baby back ribs). ID required.
Molly Malone’s/713 Eighth St. SE
Rotating food and drink (think: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, vodka cocktails) deals are available to badge-flashers from open to close.
Passion Food Hospitality
All the Passion Food properties (DC Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana, District Commons, Burger Tap and Shake, Fuego, PassionFish) are in full-time happy hour mode — half-price appetizers, $5 margaritas — until the shutdown ends.
Piola/2208 14th St. NW and 1550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.
Flash your government ID and get 40 percent off all menu items, except alcohol. Beers are $2.95, and the offer is valid as long as the government is shut down. Not valid with other promos.
Pork Barrel BBQ/2132 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.
The former Hill staffers behind this smokehouse are looking out for their own by serving up one pulled-pork sandwich, per day, to furloughed employees until the shutdown ends. ”Must have gov ID & EXCLUDES CONGRESSMEN,” the former congressional aides warned the Twittersphere.
Port City Brewing Co./3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria, Va.
Port City is shaving 20 percent off draft pints and growler fills of the Essential Pale Ale for those who trek out to the Alexandria tasting room; no staff ID required.
Quill Bar and Lounge/1200 16th St. NW
$2 “furlough fries” available at the bar all day; no ID required.
Righteous Cheese/1309 Fifth St. NE
Those who avail themselves of the “Government Cheesedown” promotion can enjoy, with any purchase, a free sampling of Thornbridge Halcyon IPA and Montgomery’s Cheddar — “a stellar British pairing to inspire nostalgia for the good old days of King George III’s rule,” according to owner Carolyn Stromberg — from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. ID required.
Taqueria Nacional/1409 T St. NW
Daily happy hour deals — $2 margarita or draft beer with the purchase of any two tacos on Mondays, $1 taco with purchase of any margarita or beer on Tuesdays, $9 trio (chips and salsa, one taco, one margarita) are good anytime — extended from 11 a.m. to close, until the shutdown ends.
Cheflebrity José Andrés is treating all furloughees to a free sandwich, available 3-5 p.m. daily at any TFG property (Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya) until the shutdown ends. ID required.
Gratis foodstuffs, available for dine in or carryout, include:
Jaleo — Flauta de Jamon Serrano (Barcelona’s bread brushed with tomato and extra virgin olive oil, jamón Serrano, manchego cheese)
Oyamel — Torta Pancita (Spiced “36 hour” Shenandoah pork belly, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, Dijon mayonnaise)
Zaytinya — Chicken Schwarma (garlic-lemon marinated chicken, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, lavash bread with garlic sauce)
Union Pub/201 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Light a fire in your belly with $3 shots of unchilled Bowman’s whiskey. Then feed your hate with $6 pizzas (your choice).
Urbana/2121 P St. NW
Progressive happy hour — usually in effect 4-7 p.m.; one extra hour will be tacked onto the tail end each night (so, 4-8 p.m. tonight, 4-9 p.m. Wednesday) — resetting every Monday, until the shutdown ends. Expect $1 oysters (served by the half- and full dozen), $5 bar snacks, $6 Absolut mixed drinks, $6 house wines and $7 specialty cocktails.
Vendetta/1212 H St. NE
One free glass of prosecco with valid government ID.
Z-Burger/Multiple area locations
Providing one free burger (plain, cheese or bacon-topped) to any badge-flashing feds — and D.C. government aides — at lunch (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and dinner (5-7 p.m.) at any of its four locations for the duration of any shutdown.
Gone, but Not Forgotten (Tuesday Deals)
Brasserie Beck/1101 K St. NW
Special two-course meal deal ($20) for all federal and military employees from open to close Tuesday, plus a $2 “Holy Acromonie Punt-e-mes,” featuring Jack Daniels cut with ginger beer and a cherry garnish.
Carmine’s/425 Seventh St. NW
Shutdown-inspired “Olive Branch” cocktail — fashioned from Plymouth gin, olives, pickled onions and rosemary — available for $12 a pop.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman suggested that CEO Jeff Bank would happily reserve one of the backrooms for a legislative huddle. “Bank says that deals are made over pasta, so he’s offering any of Carmine’s nine private rooms free to Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama to hammer out an agreement over some spaghetti and meatballs,” the Carmine’s aide shared.
Clyde’s of Georgetown/3236 M St. NW
Tuesday-only shutdown specials include $3 canned beers, $4 drafts of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Starr Hill Pils, $4 Absolut and Maker’s Mark cocktails, $4 fireball and rumchata shots, $5 glasses of Rosemount Shiraz and $10 blue plate specials.
Clyde’s of Chevy Chase/5441 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, Md.
Badge-flashers receive 20 percent off their entire check (lobster special, excluded), Tuesday only.
The Coupe/3415 11th St. NW
Expanded Tuesday-only happy hour (2-8 p.m.) deals include 50-cent Sriracha chicken wings, house made deviled eggs (gravlax, chives, crème fraiche), Surryano ham-wrapped dates stuffed with Marcona almonds and Camembert, roasted corn hush puppies, $3 National Bohemians, $4 rum punch and $5 house wines.
Irish Whiskey Public House/1207 19th St. NW
Happy hour drinks and $1 appetizers available to badge-flashing feds until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The South African-style chicken joint has prepared a “Boneless Chicken, Spineless Congress” promotion whereby furloughed feds can enjoy a free butterflied chicken breast at any area location. Participants must claim the deal via Nando’s Facebook page and flash a valid ID.
“Members of Congress need not apply,” the restaurant specified in an email blast.
Sprinkles Cupcakes/3015 M St. NW
Sprinkles treated federal employees who flash a government ID to one free gourmet cupcake (any flavor) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
October 1, 2013
Lawmakers and staff might be having a rough go of it getting into the Capitol, but the doors of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s new district office were wide open and teeming with people Tuesday evening during a festive welcome event.
“The Republicans can shut down the federal government, but it is my prerogative, under House guidelines, to decide whether to keep all employees working, and I have decided that our business of serving D.C. residents cannot stop,” she announced in a social-media blast heralding the open house for her office at 90 K St. NE.
An aide to the Democrat told HOH that the office has actually been in operation since April, replacing the now-shuttered space the local pol gave up in the National Press Building.
Well-wishers were still waiting for Norton to arrive when we visited Tuesday evening — she was actually on the House floor giving the GOP an earful about the budget impasse at that very moment — but appeared to be making do with the tasty nibbles (assorted sandwiches, cheese and fruit plates, gourmet cookies) and NoMa Business Improvement District swag bags provided for the event.
The office is expected to function 9-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, regardless of what Congress is up to.
As the House debated how to resolve a government shutdown on the floor, HOH‘s friends at C-SPAN struggled to keep up with the cycle of floor speakers, mixing up House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., with House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky.
Rep. Mike D. Rogers, R-Ala., must have felt left out.
A fellow CQ Roll Call scribe happened on a somewhat disoriented Rep. Jackie Speier escorting a handful of constituents around the eerily deserted entrance to the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday morning.
Per our tipster, the California Democrat asked an officer if she was allowed to be there, given the shutdown.
“You’re the boss,” the Capitol Police officer quipped.
“Like those periodic cicadas that trouble different parts of the country — an irresponsible segment of the Republican House Caucus has reverted to the old GOP shenanigan of a government shutdown,” Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, urging House colleagues to squash agitators from the far right.