Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 7, 2015

May 27, 2014

House Panel Searches for Intelligent Life | Madisonville

Madisonville-Logo(185x185)Members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee reached out to boldly cross a great divide last week. Not the one separating Republicans and Democrats. That would be asking too much. The divide between earthlings and aliens.

The committee initially stumbled over what to call its May 21 hearing. It started as Cosmology: The Search for Intelligent Life, possibly in expectation of a dire outcome in Tuesday’s primaries. But by Wednesday, the title — if not the ambition — was enlarged to Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe.

Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas welcomed a group of high schoolers, saying the hearing was to inspire today’s students to become tomorrow’s scientists. (Just perhaps not the vast majority of climate scientists, about whom Smith is unenthusiastic.)

Dan Werthimer, director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at SETI, came to talk about efforts to pick up communications signals emitted from distant planets. There are so many that have the conditions to support life that Shostak predicted results, funding permitting, within 20 years. “The kind of life that could uphold its end of the conversation,” he said. Full story

Selfie Opportunity: Celebrities in the House

Reps. Tim Ryan and Grace Napolitano take pictures earlier this month of Keith Mitchell, former NFL player, and Metta World Peace, former NBA player, on the House steps after a group picture. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reps. Tim Ryan and Grace Napolitano take pictures earlier this month of Keith Mitchell, former NFL player, and Metta World Peace, an NBA free agent, on the House steps after a group picture. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Senate out of town and the House in a short session, it doesn’t look like Congress will accomplish much this week. But lawmakers could score a photo-op with a celebrity.

Reid Scott, who stars as Dan on HBO’s Emmy Award-winning show “VEEP,” will be on Capitol Hill Thursday. Scott will moderate a briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by Oceana, an organization that works to preserve the ocean.

The briefing will address seismic airguns, which are used to find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor. Panelists include Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Oceana’s own “Veep” Jacqueline Savitz.

Another celebrity will be walking the halls of the Capitol Thursday. Cierra Ramirez, who stars in ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” will be on the Hill for the third annual Foster Youth Shadow Days.  As part of the event, 70 young people in foster care will shadow their members of Congress to raise awareness about the foster care system.

So mark your calendars: Thursday will be the day to break out the smartphone and take a celebrity selfie. (Here’s looking at you, Rep. Sean P. Duffy.)

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 1:35 p.m.
Celebs

May 26, 2014

Shinseki, Waiting His Turn in Line | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-05-26-14.jpg

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has faced a number of tough situations in his military and public service career, and now he finds himself in hot water over wait times at VA clinics. That 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

Willie Wonka’s Congressional Factory | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-05-19-14-Final copy.jpg

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.

May 23, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 19 (Video)

While Rep. Steve King is busy challenging members to duels, members tell reporters to grow out their hair, reflect on the glory days of dial-up Internet and cite Stephen Colbert on the floor.

Take a Hike, Ya Lazy Bums!

The Senate overlords would like for everyone to get out and about today.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Mother Nature certainly appears to be on board.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Enjoy the extra dose of vitamin D!

May 22, 2014

Picturing Life in Syria

Those curious to see how the other half lives — and by other half, we mean the innocents orphaned by ongoing insurrection — can get a sobering look into the struggle for survival in the Middle East Thursday night at the reception for “The Children of Syria” exhibition in the Russell Senate Office Building.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The reception, which is scheduled to take place in the Kennedy Caucus Room from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., caps a two-day run of the featured snapshots enjoyed in the Russell Rotunda.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The jarring images are the handiwork of a half-dozen international photojournalists working to chronicle the gravity of making one’s way through a war-torn existence. Full story

The Return of Roll Call Wedding Announcements

Bradley Thompson proposes to Laura Bowman at the Republican National Convention.

Remember that time Bradley Thompson proposed to Laura Bowman at the RNC in Tampa? We do! (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s that time of year. Wedding bells are ringing. Love is in the air.

Whatever your catchphrase, wedding season is here again (though some may argue it hardly hibernates in the winter) and Roll Call wants to hear from you. We’re bringing back staffer wedding announcements. Did you and your beloved meet on Capitol Hill? Was it love at first sight during congressional softball? Or canoodling over constituent mail? Perhaps it was an after-hours introduction at the Tune Inn, or a late night cutting turf on the campaign trail?

Whatever it is, Roll Call wants to know.

Submit wedding and engagement details to us, and you may see your story written up right here on Heard on the Hill. We’ll gladly take items directly from the couple, or from flacks, hacks, well-meaning friends and/or disgruntled uninvited wedding guests.

Let the festivities begin!

 

 

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 1:47 p.m.
Weddings

Weddings and Engagements

Fill out my online form.

Hank’s on the Hill Woos Whiskey Drinkers

Our local Hank’s (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is celebrating being in the running for a RAMMY award by offering up a special Jameson-spiked cooler on Thursday night.

Mixtress Gina Chersevani, potential heir to the 2014 Cocktail Program of the Year crown, assures HOH she’ll be shaking up “It’s All About the Benjamin’s” — a frozen drink featuring the aforementioned Irish whiskey, spiced sweet vermouth and atomized lemon — for only $5 (regular price: $12) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening.

The promotion is part of a citywide cocktail jamboree orchestrated by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington in anticipation of the June 22 gala.

Additional participants include:

  • Black Jack (1612 14th St. NW): Hosting a RAMMYs-themed carnival from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. complete with drink tickets, fair games, fried foods and raffles.
  • Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW): This high roller is expected to dole out kifu, a blend of Hangar One vodka, Cointreau, ginger, lemon and basil, shaken (not stirred) and garnished with candied ginger.
  • The Gibson (2009 14th St. NW): This cocktail haven is going pre-Prohibition, rolling out classic concoctions for $8 a pop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the upstairs bar.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St. NW): The multi-level drinking den is spreading specialty cocktails all around. Terrace-goers can sip the Sao Paolo Sunset and Back Porch; Saloon patrons will be privy to The Art of Deception and Like Strawberry Shine; those who descend into Dram & Grain will be treated to Ode to Omaha and Skye High. Each drink will set guests back $10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tom Cotton Stands Tall as Quickest Man in Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., retained his title as the fastest male in the 113th Congress, running the 3-mile course of the 33rd Annual ACLI Capital Challenge in 18:29.

Cotton’s pace was fast enough to score the Cotton Tail Rabbits second place among House teams — Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s team Red White & Blumenauer took the top prize, with the Oregon Democrat clocking 29:51 — but not as quick as his previous record.

Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:59 a.m.
Reps, Sens, Sports Desk

May 21, 2014

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith has banged out a whole bunch of special appearances this week, from hanging with first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House talent show to cracking wise about the music biz in front of the Capitol.

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The best part of the trip, though, had to be showing his eldest son, Cole, around the White House.

“My son for some reason, 9 years old, all things presidential he is just enamored with,” Smith told HOH. To wit, Smith noted that while visiting the Oval Office, Cole dropped some knowledge on the tour guide about the reason behind the circular design — something about not being able to sneak up on POTUS — that the administration aide claimed to be unfamiliar with.

“So Cole is now giving tours of the White House,” Smith quipped.

He said Cole got the shock of his young life when President Barack Obama unexpectedly popped by a FLOTUS-led event and took a shine to the nattily attired young man.

“He had on this seersucker suit, my son. Which he never wears a suit. It’s the only suit he has,” Smith shared.

When 44 got up close and personal, Smith said, Cole got all the love.

“Barack was like, ‘Nice to meet you, Chad. … Hey, nice suit. Where’d you get that suit? Ah, Seersucker. Summer’s coming,’” Smith noted. “So he was talking to my son about fashion.”

Or was he?

“And Cole’s like, ‘The president called me a sucker,’” Smith said, choking back laughter. Full story

Vote For Your Favorite Washington Monument Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-05-19-14.jpg

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!

  • Will this orbit exceed 14 days? I have an appointment at the VA.
  • Did anyone get a golden ticket for this ride?
  • This was originally designed as an escape pod for the Speaker of the House.
  • Georgetown finally decided to come up with some public transportation.
  • I knew we shouldn’t have labeled the elevator “Senators Only.”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on May 26 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 Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:24 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Vance McAllister Set for Congressional Baseball Game Debut

Republicans could have a Louisiana star of their own to rival the Democrats’ Rep. Cedric L. Richmond in the form of Rep. Vance McAllister.

The Republicans have finalized their roster for the 53rd Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and it includes the Louisiana Republican known colloquially as the Kissing Congressman.

McAllister, left, seen here with Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson, will play ball next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McAllister, left, seen here with Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, will play ball next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McAllister has said he will not seek re-election this fall after a video of the married congressman kissing a district staffer was leaked to the public.  And he told The Town Talk of Alexandria, Va., last week that his “intent is not to run for re-election.” But he added a caveat: “To say I’m 100 percent sure, I would never box myself in like that.”

Regardless of McAllister’s political future, he’ll get a chance to help Republicans improve their image on the baseball field after last year’s devastating 22-0 loss.

Two other congressmen were added to the Republican roster: Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida and Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. Brooks was an all-city baseball player in high school.

Republicans lost seven team members this year, including one of their top players, Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is sitting out this year’s game due to an injury.

Other Republican veterans of the game who will not be playing this year include Reps. Mark Amodei of Nevada, Louie Gohmert and Pete Sessions of Texas, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and David Valadao of California.

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 4:04 p.m.
Sports Desk

Time Running Out to Vote in Taste of America’s First Round

Time is running out to vote for your favorite food in the first round of this year’s Taste of America competition.  Voting ends Friday, when the first batch of some states’ tasty concoctions will be tossed out.

Taste of America is an annual competition that happens alongside the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and pits signature dishes from each state against one another.

Last year’s winner, West Virginia’s pepperoni roll, is poised to advance to the next round with five times the votes of its competition, Boston Cream Pie.

One matchup to watch is the fried fruit face off, which is the closest contest of the first round. Only a few dozen votes separate Puerto Rico’s fried plantains and Alabama’s fried green tomatoes.

You can check out this year’s dishes and make sure that your state’s food will prevail at rollcalltasteofamerica.com/brackets.cfm. You can also learn more about some of the unique dishes vying for first place. Ever wonder what goes into Nevada’s chuckwagon buffet, Minnesota’s hotdish casserole or Nebraska’s handheld meat pie?  Now’s your chance to find out.

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