Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 4, 2015

February 13, 2014

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

Not having an official vote undoubtedly makes it tougher for D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss to stand out as much as he’d like around Capitol Hill.

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

He appears to have no such trouble on the West Coast, a powerbase the local pol has been cultivating for over a decade in the hopes of getting Hollywood to back D.C. statehood.

Strauss is planning another charm offensive Thursday night — that’s when he’ll lobby La-La Land at The Creative Coalition’s “Voices of Impact Dinner.” Full story

Cap Lounge Sets Snow Day Agenda

Why shovel when you can spoon?

Cap Lounge Sets Snow Day Agenda

(Courtesy Capitol Lounge)

This has been a public service announcement from a Capitol Hill watering hole.

(We now return you to your Netflix binging.)

 

Public Embraces Bill Maher’s #FlipaDistrict Campaign

Comedian Bill Maher is considering all options before determining which House lawmaker he’ll try to unseat later this fall.

If the torrent of #flipadistrict nominees that irate constituents have splashed across social media are any indication, Maher should have no shortage of targets to choose from.

Maher provided an update about the fledgling campaign on his show “Real Time,” stressing that his team is still very much in the research phase.

“We are looking to find one really bad congressman out there. And, apparently, from the reaction we got last week, there are a lot of them … really gerrymandered lamos who people want to get rid of,” Maher told his HBO viewers. He urged people to nominate “someone who represents you who you think is a lemon, … someone who is just a useless waste of space.”

Full story

February 12, 2014

‘The Very Model of a Sensible Central Banker’ | Madisonville

The Very Model of a Sensible Central Banker | MadisonvilleNewly installed Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has already mastered the art of agreeing without conceding anything:  Energy has been a great contributor to growth. Certainly regulation has an impact on the economy. The monetary policy of any country affects other countries. We will monitor the impact of the rule. I think it remains an interesting possibility. We have to be very careful not to jump to conclusions. These and other bromides she served warm to Tuesday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee, wants to know if Yellen would be a “sensible central banker.” One wished Yellen might be a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and give the hearing a rousing,  “I am the very model of a sensible central banker.” Full story

It’s a Perfect 5.0 (Options) for the Immigration Bobsled Capitol Quip

Its a Perfect 5.0 (Options) for the Immigration Bobsled 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:

  • Remember that slippery slope we kept warning you about, John? Well …
  • He gets his Left and Right Turns confused!!
  • Uh, maybe if you took your hand off the brake?
  • Wouldn’t we go faster if we pushed DOWN the hill?
  • I’ll give him a push, but I ain’t jumping in!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Feb. 16 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 3:22 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

Hurried meetings on Capitol Hill might do for social media pushers or app designers.

But the business execs in charge of skippering a good portion of the country’s seafood supply to market prefer to slow things down a bit, serving up the delicious fruits of their labor and talking big picture when they sail into town.

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Gulf Coast Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Association will get the chance to do just that during their upcoming “Let the World Be Your Oyster” reception. The annual outreach effort, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place Feb. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW).

Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of regional specialties, lovingly prepared by visiting chefs from across Louisiana. Featured items include: oysters on the half shell courtesy of Acme Oyster House in New Orleans; oyster Rockefeller soup (fashioned from fresh oysters, butter, chopped spinach, Pernod and more) courtesy of Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette; oysters voisin (fried oysters, creamed spinach, bacon, bordelaise sauce and extra cheese spooned over toasted baguettes) courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurants; pickled oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar courtesy of Cotton in Monroe; open-faced oyster ravioli courtesy of Ruffino’s Restaurants; and charbroiled oysters courtesy of Acadiana toque Jeff Tunks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:25 p.m.
DC, Food, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

Stop Right There, Cupid! Valentines Barred From Campus Delivery

Cupid had better steer clear of the Capitol this Valentine’s Day.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving has requested that staffers advise their sweeties to refrain from sending any crimson roses or romantic gift packages to the offices under his purview.

The delivery policy of the House prohibits commercial couriers and vendors from making deliveries directly to House office buildings and the House wing of the Capitol, Irving warned in a memo to staff obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Singing telegrams ready to deliver a serenade will be turned away at the door, and FedEx can’t bring cuddly stuffed animals or chocolate hearts past security checkpoints.

Couples who exchange gifts on Friday morning can bring the long-stemmed roses they receive to their desks, but guidelines apply. Only cut flowers set in water or “arranged in an unsealed box or carton” are allowed inside. In case of a surprise delivery or a persistent Valentine who insists on workday delivery, staffers can meet delivery people bearing cut flowers in an outside public area and bring the bouquet inside themselves.

Sealed envelopes and containers are not allowed, so sappy cards and love letters must be opened outside.  Boxes of caramels, truffles or other sugary spoils also need to be unsealed.

Finally, last-minute declarations of affection might be thwarted by the House policy on overnight deliveries. All flowers, cards, candy or lovey-dovey gifts sent via a nationwide system such as FedEx or UPS will be processed offsite at the Postal Operations screening facility, “which may result in delay of delivery,” Irving warns.

In past years, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer has implemented a similar policy to ensure Senate lovebirds can receive Valentine’s Day bouquets delivered to Capitol Hill.

The Senate office buildings and the Senate side of the Capitol also allow only cut flowers set in water or arranged in an unsealed box or carton, and place the same prohibition on sealed envelopes or containers.

At least one Senate staffer can vouch for the fact that sending fresh blooms to the Hill isn’t the best idea. Her beau casually asked, “Did you get anything at work today?” after shipping a bouquet her way.
She received the romantic gesture three days late, after the gift underwent a thorough inspection. The flowers were still pretty, she recalled, but “a little sad.”
By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:22 p.m.
Coupling, Staffers

Did the RNC Steal Its Beats for Anti-Senate Dems Ad From B.o.B and 2 Chainz?

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., might not be “booty poppin’ in a headstand,” but he did vote for Obamacare, and the Republican National Committee would like you to know — in seven web ads attacking 2014 Senate Democrats that seem to lift beats from B.o.B. featuring 2Chainz’s song “Headband.”

The 40-second Web-only spots can be viewed here. They hit Pryor, along with Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Udall of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia, all of whom are up for re-election in 2014.

“Out of work? It’s tough out there,” the ad reads, before splicing together clips on the health care law and a Congressional Budget Office report about its impacts on the job market (which, of course, lacks the context for what the report really said, because … YOLO, it’s 40 seconds).

Now, here is the video for the B.o.B./2 Chainz jam. HOH should warn you that many of the lyrics are NSFW and there are quite a few scantily clad ladies featured throughout. But everything is sort of amazing when you think about the RNC’s message against the seven vulnerable Democrats set to this beat.

“She broke it down started moving like Shakira/Like she do it in the mirror,” a cleaner lyric reads.

Insert “Jeanne Shaheen” for “she” and you’ve got a solid sequel for the next “HeadBand”-inspired RNC spot: “Jeanne Shaheen’s hips don’t lie … or do they?”

Whatever. Maybe the beats are different and the RNC added a “little bitty ting.”

“I can assure you we purchased this music and didn’t steal anything,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in an e-mail.

By Meredith Shiner Posted at 12:52 p.m.
AwesomeSauce

February 11, 2014

Members of Congress Attending the White House State Dinner

It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?

Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?

A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.

Here’s the list of members attending:

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.

Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.

Tim Ryan Readies for New Arrival

Rep. Tim Ryan is beside himself about welcoming a new baby into the fold, a milestone event poised to take place this summer.

Tim Ryan Readies for New Arrival

Tim Ryan)" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/TRbb.jpg" width="445" height="445" /> (Courtesy Tim Ryan)

The Ohio Democrat has gotten a taste for fatherhood while raising his two stepchildren, Mason and Bella. But staff said he is “simply ecstatic” about adding Brady Zetts Ryan, his first child with wife Andrea, into the mix this June.

No word on how “Brady” made the final cut; a Ryan aide explained that Zetts is Andrea Ryan’s maiden name.

Best of luck with all the diapering, sir!

Relief Agencies Share Hardware, Liquid Courage With Congress

Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t orchestrate her own brand of government shutdown over the next 48 hours, staffers should prepare to get their geek on Thursday during the “Innovation at the U.N.” reception.

The science-fair-themed gathering, organized by the Better World Campaign, is scheduled to take place Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rayburn foyer. Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to events@UNfoundation.org.

An event promoter told HOH the plan is to highlight the tools relief groups such as the U.N. Foundation, U.N. Development Programme, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, UNICEF and UNESCO are deploying around the globe. Attendees will be able to inspect one of those innovations, an Ikea-designed “refugee housing unit” designed with expediency (no tools required), longevity and sustainability (potential to be outfitted with solar power sources) in mind.

Too wonky for your tastes?

The party is also expected to feature “bartenders wearing lab coats/goggles” serving (what else?) “fizzy drinks in test tubes.”

“There will be blue cocktails dubbed ‘Ban Ki-moon blasts’!” our source said of the boozy entertainment named after the current UN secretary general. Those looking to lap up the experimental libation should expect splashes of vodka, lime juice and blue Curacao.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

Ricki Lake Passes on Congressional Bid

Former daytime talk show host Ricki Lake will not run for Congress.

Granted, no one expected her to do so, but she is part of Roll Call’s ongoing experiment to bait as many celebrities as possible to run in the open-seat, west-Los Angeles House race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

Lake (graciously) responded to Roll Call’s query on Monday night:

Additionally, film director Rob Reiner endorsed Democratic candidate Wendy Greuel on Monday.

Full story

February 10, 2014

Rubio Looses Epic Smokescreen Regarding Marijuana Use

Sen. Marco Rubio sees absolutely no upside to clearing the air about any previous drug use.

But as he proved on Monday, he’ll ramble on and on about why it’s a lose-lose for elected officials to speak candidly about ever having consumed cannabis.

Fusion talk show co-anchor Mariana Atencio attempted to light a fire under the Florida Republican by probing the one-time tea party favorite about the burgeoning endorsement of medical marijuana at the state level.

“I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the father of four got rolling. Full story

Chewing on Beto O’Rourke’s Snacking Habits

Rep. Beto O’Rourke is a brave man. And not just because he’s open to rolling around town on public transportation, which he did late last week.

Nope.

The Texas Democrat wowed us by broadcasting his love for a certain guilty pleasure: Thin Mints.

 

 

Around midday on Feb. 7, O’Rourke interrupted his #BusingwithBeto adventure to stock up on the controversial confection.

Within minutes of the casual disclosure, the social-media-sphere passed judgment on O’Rourke’s shopping selection:

 

Full story

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