Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2015

March 31, 2014

Wandering Tourist Enters Appropriations World

A March 28 meeting of Senate Democratic staffers about the appropriations process had an unexpected visitor.

According to sources familiar with what happened, a somewhat elderly tourist wandered into the meeting and sat down along with an array of senior Senate aides in the audience for a presentation by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s staff director. One source said the assumption was that the gentleman was most likely lost and wandered into a room where there was activity on a quiet Friday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The outsider asked three questions, according to an HOH tipster, including one about how a Democrat from the state of Utah could be involved in the appropriations process. To the credit of the staff director, the individual was not tossed out of the room.

Democracy in action.

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 1:02 p.m.
HillSide

March 30, 2014

Bruce Braley’s Guide to Stepping in It | Capitol Quip

Bruce Braleys Guide to Stepping in It | Capitol Quip

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, campaign gaffe season! Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, who is running for Senate, stepped into it with some impolitic comments about his home-state colleague, Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, being a farmer without a law degree. This brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

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.

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

Quite a Workout for This Capitol Quip

Quite a Workout for This 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.

March 28, 2014

Ron Kind Puts LinkedIn Perk to Work

As opposed to those in the social mediaverse who routinely threaten to unfriend/unfollow/disown pals who perpetually pepper them with invites to join the professional networking set, Rep. Ron Kind has not only found a use for LinkedIn, he’s been ushered into an elite club: the “Influencers.”

Ron Kind Puts LinkedIn Perk to Work

(Screenshot)

The nascent program, which appears to have launched in late 2012, provides LI “thought leaders” the opportunity to exponentially grow their audience by giving them maximum exposure on the platform’s newsy “Pulse” pages.

“The LinkedIn Influencer program invites top voices in the professional world to reach professionals across LinkedIn. This is an invitation-only program, so Influencers must be invited by LinkedIn to participate,” the company explains in a recent post.

A Kind aide confirmed that the Wisconsin Democrat joined the ranks of the megaphone-enabled commenters last summer. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:22 p.m.
media, Reps, Techie

Powder Scare Draws Sirens Outside Union Station

A suspicious substance found in Amtrak’s main office in Washington, D.C., drew nearly a dozen emergency vehicles to Union Station on Friday morning, but it turned out to be nothing more than a scare.

Powder Scare Draws Sirens Outside Union Station

D.C. Fire and EMS responded to the scene at 10:58 a.m., according to Fire Department spokesman Oscar Mendez, and a hazardous materials unit began investigating. Police were also on the scene and officers with K-9 units stood on guard outside gates to the train tracks.

Trains appeared to be operating as usual inside the station Friday morning, but outside traffic was crawling around Columbus Circle. Capitol Police warned people to avoid the area shortly before noon, throwing some lunch plans into flux around the Capitol community.

Kimberly Wood, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said in an email that first responders were “investigating an unknown substance found on the premises” and directed further questions to D.C. Fire and EMS.

By 12:30 p.m., ambulances were starting to pull away from the scene. Mendez confirmed that nothing hazardous had been found.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:46 p.m.
DC, Drama, HillSide

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of March 24 (Video)

Members returned this week explaining proper congressional dress code, discussing who is nastier and playing popular television game shows, all wrapped up in this week’s Hits and Misses.

Pair Up at Paws for Love

Searching for a wet-nosed significant other?

Pair Up at Paws for Love

(Courtesy James P. Moran)

Congressional Animal Protection Caucus Co-Chairman James P. Moran, D-Va., and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals want to help fill that hole in your heart and the hollow between your arms with a furry-footed roomie psyched to crash at your place for, well, ever.

The first semi-regular adoption event of 2014 is scheduled to take place April 4 from 12-2:30 p.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room.

As usual, expect to find plenty of cuddle-ready pups and kittens — as well as full-grown companions — ready to be sprung from local animal shelters.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:17 p.m.
Critters, HillSide, Reps

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

Rep. Steve Pearce has parted ways with barely settled-in mouthpiece Rebekah Stevens following days of unfavorable press stemming from the 24-year-old GOP operative’s in-your-face blogging career.

“I am proud to hire passionate, hardworking, and dedicated congressional staff out of New Mexico. When I hired Miss Stevens, I hoped she could transition from activist to become an asset to the people of New Mexico,” the New Mexico Republican relayed in a statement. “It is now clear that major obstacles will prevent this. I asked for and accepted her resignation this morning. I hold myself and my staff to the highest level of accountability, and any distractions that hinder my service to New Mexicans must always be addressed.”

Stevens’ incredibly short-lived gig here on Capitol Hill — Pearce Communications Director Eric Layer announced her arrival not 72 hours ago — appears to have come unraveled because of impolitic statements made and professional fights picked under the pseudonym “Politix Fireball.”

Both the blog and Twitter accounts associated with that particular user suddenly went silent the week of March 17.

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

(Screenshot)

Stevens joined Pearce’s Capitol Hill office March 25.

March 27, 2014

Capitol Police Bust Senate Gallery Visitor With Pot

Capitol Police stationed outside the Senate gallery got a surprise Thursday afternoon when they asked one visitor to empty his pockets in accordance with procedure.

Sherman Tyrone Edwards Jr., 32, placed a bag of marijuana on the stand next to the security checkpoint, manned by three uniformed officers.

According to sources on the scene, Edwards pulled out a bag of bud big enough that the U.S. Attorney could probably hold onto it and bust him for distribution, rather than tossing the evidence, as normally happens when lesser amounts — such as joints — are confiscated.

Sources also said that based on his demeanor and expression, they were not too shocked that this particular Capitol visitor would be in possession of large quantities of dope.

He looked stoned, apparently, but the prediction on distribution charges turned out to be bogus.

Edwards was arrested at 2:33 p.m. on Thursday, then transported to Capitol Police headquarters. He was charged on two counts — possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a Capitol Police spokesperson.

Public Can Propel Capitol Hill Restos to RAMMY Glory

A panel of secret judges may control the fates of the 60-plus contenders vying for the area’s top hospitality prizes, but everyday diners have one month to help crown their favorite brunch spot, fast-food haven and all-around hang out.

The RAMMY Awards traditionally honor the superstars of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s core membership, heralding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing exceptional food, beverage and service. The 2014 winners are scheduled to be revealed June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) during the group’s 32nd annual gala.

As in the past, RAMW is opening up a handful of categories for public debate.

This year, armchair critics have until April 27 to weigh in on:

Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year

  • Art and Soul
  • Blue Duck Tavern
  • Mintwood Place
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Vermilion

 

Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Et Voila!
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Pizzeria Orso
  • Ted’s Bulletin (Barracks Row)

 

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Cashion’s Eat Place
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont)
  • Tune Inn

 

Favorite Fast Bites

 

RAMW is sweetening the pot for brunch lovers.

As part of the inaugural “Best Brunch Passport” contest, anyone who tweets a picture of a meal from any of the nominees between March 29-April 13 to @RAMMYAwards or tags it with #RAMMYSBrunch will be entered to win two tickets to the June 22 gala. Per the promoters, the winner will be announced on April 28.

Public votes can be cast via media partner the Washington City Paper or RAMW.

March 26, 2014

Hill Staff Invited to Kick It at Capital Soccer Classic

Congressional aides used to scoring points in the office can take a shot at proving themselves on the pitch in a few short weeks during the nascent staffer tournament woven into the program for the 2nd Annual Capital Classic.

The multifaceted fundraiser, co-hosted by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Politico, is scheduled to take place from 5-10 p.m. April 8 at RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol St. SE). The charity event benefits Soccer for Success, a futbol-intensive after-school program.

Last year, various members of the Congressional Soccer Caucus faced off in a friendly match with fleet-footed colleagues and professional soccer players. A 6-6 tie at the end of regulation play prompted a sudden-death shoot out, which turned into a narrow victory for House Democrats. Full story

Shirtless Senators Take a Swing at These Capitol Quips!

Shirtless Senators Take a Swing at These Capitol Quips!

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:

  • I don’t think our tough guy act is working.
  • C’mon — shirtless worked for Putin!
  • It feels good for us to be beating up on Russia rather than on each other for a change!
  • The winner takes on Putin in a shirtless staring contest.
  • It’s a good thing we work out with dumbbells.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on March 30 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 3:27 p.m.
Capitol Quip

‘Debt: The Sequel’ Flops in House Financial Services | Madisonville

Debt: The Sequel Flops in House Financial Services | Madisonville

Republicans thought they had the home-field advantage at the House Financial Services Committee’s “Why Debt Matters” hearing Tuesday. The falling snow seemed to energize them as much as the cause and they came early and in force, outnumbering the Democrats by more than 2-to-1 when Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas gaveled the hearing open.

The Republican juggernaut slowed down from there.  Sequels, even debt sequels, rarely work as well as the original.

Hensarling nevertheless reeled off the dangers, many of which are mighty familiar: an economic and political death spiral, street lights going out, ambulances not running, buildings going vacant and college graduates turning to subsistence farming. College graduates with the skills for subsistence farming seemed like an inviting campfire in the dystopia, but Hensarling didn’t mean it to be.  Not that the chairman was predicting any of this. He was just saying.

Ranking member Maxine Waters of California mentioned the Bush administration’s tax cuts and wars. She didn’t want to dwell on those things. She was just saying. Waters, to her own surprise, got David Cote, the chief executive of Honeywell Inc., to offer immigration reform as a way to spur the economy and contribute revenue to the government.

Cote was appearing for the debt-matters case and raising immigration reform was his own goal for the team. Later, in the spirit of just saying, Cote told the committee, “There’s a phrase we use a lot in the company, which is ‘we are where we are.’ ” Even Republicans must have wondered at this point whether the 1 percent are all they’re cracked up to be. Full story

March 25, 2014

Boehner Reminds Members to Dress Appropriately: ‘You Know Who You Are’ (Video)

Perhaps it was Rep. Jared Polisrecent affinity for bow ties or Janet L. Yellen’s black-on-black threads, but Speaker John A. Boehner is not happy with members’ recent decorum on the House floor.

The Ohio Republican reminded members Tuesday of proper “parliamentary practice” before moving on to the House dress code.

“Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor might be, and you know who you are,” Boehner said. “The chair appreciates the attention of all the members to these matters.”

Although not the first time he has chided members about dressing appropriately, it has been more than six months since Rep. Howard Coble rocked a green madras sport coat, more than eight months since Rep. Mark Sanford’s sweat-soaked T-shirt incident and more than two years since this:

Boehner Reminds Members to Dress Appropriately: You Know Who You Are (Video)

In the meantime, HOH will continue to hone its inner fashion critic.

Nancy Pelosi’s Epic Photobomb

Usually it is reporters who inadvertently appear in photos of members of Congress.

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., turned the tables on Tuesday, photobombing a posed picture of two reporters and Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen at a Women’s History Month event at the Capitol.

Huffington Post reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, left, posted the photo on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, tagging her colleague (and ex-Roll Caller) Jennifer Bendery, who appears on the right.

Pelosi can be seen on the far right.

Nancy Pelosis Epic Photobomb

“That time Jennifer Bendery and I met Janet Yellen and got photobombed by Nancy Pelosi. Wait what?!” Siddiqui wrote on Facebook.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Siddiqui’s name.

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