Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

May 20, 2013

Aloha, Mr. Smith: Sean Penn Goes to the House

Aloha, Mr. Smith: Sean Penn Goes to the House

Penn, left, and Smith. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Human rights activist and actor Sean Pean greets Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., at the top of Monday’s House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations hearing on the plight of Jacob Ostreicher, a Brooklyn native being detained abroad in Bolivia.

GW Athletics: Only the House Side of the Capitol Matters

GW Athletics: Only the House Side of the Capitol Matters

(Courtesy George Washington University)


Sad day for George Washington University Law School alum/Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (or something): A rendering of the school’s new basketball court includes an image of the Capitol — but not the Senate side!

Of course, no one has cared about GW basketball since Pops Mensah-Bonsu and that time people accidentally won brackets in 2006 thinking that “George Mason” was the same as “George Washington.” But no matter. Senators feel snubbed over everything, and with all the Colonials crawling around the Capitol, HOH is sure there will be enough “the upper chamber got usurped by the White House!” snark to go around.

Truth be told, this reporter is a big basketball fan, has actually been to multiple GW basketball games (not suggested to attend a game on Greek Day) and thinks the court is pretty cool.

Per the school’s press release, GW was created in 1821 through an act of Congress and everyone is stoked about running and sweating all over the Washington Monument, White House and two-thirds of the Capitol.

“After our graduating students and student-athletes enjoyed their Commencement ceremony on the National Mall yesterday, unveiling this spectacular new floor design today further emphasizes our campus setting in the heart of D.C.,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in the statement. “When people around the world are watching our games, we want them to immediately recognize and understand the university’s unique setting in the middle of the action in this world-class city.”

Meanwhile, Georgetown students still will be left to struggle to figure out how to use public transportation from the Verizon Center downtown to their campus in far Northwest.

Take Five: Sen. Christopher S. Murphy

It’s time again for Take Five, HOH’s opportunity to get to know a member of Congress better through five fun questions. This week, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., discusses Senate hazing rituals, pizza and memories of Tom Petty.

Take Five: Sen. Christopher S. Murphy

Murphy is the youngest current senator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Q. How does it feel to be the youngest current senator? [Murphy turns 40 on Aug. 3.]

A. Once you get beyond all the hazing, the wedgies and the wet willies, it’s not a bad position to be in. It certainly perks up the ears of kids in the room [in my district] when I tell them I’m the youngest member of the Senate. Full story

Tea Partyers to IRS: Prepare to Be Flash-Mobbed

In the wake of revelations that IRS officials unduly targeted right-leaning groups, a number of tea party supporters plan to publicly shame the tax man by amassing outside the agency’s headquarters on Tuesday for a lightning-fast gripefest.

Tea Partyers to IRS: Prepare to Be Flash Mobbed


The proposed “IRS Flash Rally” — “We will NOT have a permit, so be prepared to keep moving on the sidewalk,” one of the organizers counseled online — is scheduled to go down at the corner of 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest from noon to 1 p.m.

Tea Party WDC founder Lisa Miller told HOH she’s been in contact with a slew of sympathetic organizations champing at the bit to vent about IRS abuses, ranging from established political players (Americans for Prosperity) to fellow grass-roots entities (Northern Virginia Tea Party, Alexandria Tea Party).

Full story

Sean Penn Speaks Up for Jacob Ostreicher

House lawmakers will dive back into the ongoing saga of unlawfully detained American businessman Jacob Ostreicher at this afternoon’s meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

Ostreicher, who languished for months in a ramshackle Bolivian prison without ever being formally charged with anything and remains barred from returning stateside, has been the subject of two prior Foreign Affairs inquiries.

Both Subcommittee Chairman Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., and actor-cum-human-rights-advocate Sean Penn, who will be testifying at the 3: 00 p.m. hearing in Rayburn 2172, have previously traveled to Bolivia to try and speed Ostreicher’s release.

Centennial Event Brings Books to Kids

Kids, you can go anywhere! Take a look! It’s in a book — being provided by the fine folks at the Junior League of Washington and their partner, Reading Is Fundamental.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the JLW will celebrate its centennial with an event at the DC Prep Edgewood Middle Campus. And who better to help out than writer George Ella Lyon and Ward 8 Councilmember and former Mayor Marion Barry? Full story

May 19, 2013

Capitol Quip: Let’s Go On Tour

Capitol Quip: Lets Go On Tour

Illustrator R.J. Matson’s latest cartoon needs a caption.

With the White House dealing with a trifecta of scandals, we figured it only made sense to turn from the Capitol for a short spell to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue for source material. Have at it!

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:10 p.m.

Capitol Quip: Happy Trails!

Capitol Quip: Happy Trails!

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. Judging from the comments, we realize there were some strong feelings about the caption entries. We value your feedback, so please keep it coming.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson.

May 17, 2013

First Timers Share Lamb Jam Strategies

The third annual Lamb Jam, a gustatory carnival for unabashed carnivores, is happening Monday night at Eastern Market. And HOH has the skinny on how two of the competing chefs plan to woo even the most sheepish diners into their respective camps.

First Timers Share Lamb Jam Strategies


Tickets to the event, which is scheduled to take place from 6-9 p.m. and includes food, booze (craft beer, wine) and a butchering demo, are $60 per person.

Art and Soul toque Wes Morton is looking forward to mixing things up with the 19 other local chefs vying for the Lamb Jam crown. Morton expects to serve British-style lamb scrumpets, featuring lamb bellies put through an intensive three-step process (brined and smoked, picked and pressed, and, finally, buttered and fried).

Full story

An Insourcing Sauce-Fest at Sonoma

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar made for a fine setting for the Organization for International Investment’s annual Capitol Hill Insourcing Reception.

The staffers and business representatives who attended the Thursday night affair had the second floor lounge Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar largely to themselves.

The RSVP list broke down heavily on the side of congressional staffers, followed closely by dues-paying OFII members. Of the eight lawmakers on the list, only Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., and Bill Foster, D-Ill., made it to the event — a bipartisan, if modest, showing.

An Insourcing Sauce Fest at Sonoma

Foster, center, chats with business advocates on Thursday evening. (Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

Reception attendee Carol Danko, press secretary for New York Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm, told HOH that between votes and allergies, her boss was tied up. Meanwhile, a staffer for the absent Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., topped off a fresh glass of white wine with the dregs of an old one between quips with her colleagues.

The OFII is a nonprofit business association that lobbies lawmakers on behalf of the U.S. operations of foreign companies that join its ranks. The organization provided every attendee at Thursday night’s gathering with a beer glass and mini bottle of spirits procured by Diageo, the social lubricants giant.

An Insourcing Sauce Fest at Sonoma

(Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

In addition to the party favor, an open bar kept the spirits flowing and a flotilla of heavy hors d’oeuvres, including grilled shrimp and mini crab cakes, filled bellies.

The star of the evening was Jonathan R. Otto, public affairs specialist for automotive giant Honda’s government relations office. Otto won the raffle prize, a weekend stay with deluxe accommodations at the Foggy Bottom Ritz-Carlton.

An Insourcing Sauce Fest at Sonoma

(Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

Overheard: A Lot of Questions

“Sir, that was a lot of questions, sir.”

— Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller, responding to a 368-word question from Rep. Paul D. Ryan at Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

Fictional Franchise: Who Represents Your Favorite Soap Character in Congress?

For the latest installment of Fictional Franchise, our examination of the franchise rights of fictional characters and the real-life people who represent them in Congress, we tackle soap opera characters.

The rules go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more on the rules here.)

Soaps are near and dear to the heart of this writer, who once starred in a 2004 episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful” as a Spectra Fashions factory worker. Read on to see which soap star helped us with our research…

So, Dylan, Julia and Miss Ellie, let’s roll:

The Walsh Family 
“Beverly Hills 90210″
Beverly Hills, Calif.: Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman

It is our assessment that Jim, Cindy, Brandon and Brenda Walsh live in Beverly Hills flats — squarely in Waxman’s district. His representation of the western Los Angeles metropolitan area means that he will surface again in this category and others.

Here is a run-through of some of his constituents:

Full story

South Dakotans Want to Help Scratch Your Taco John’s Itch

Her interest piqued by the latest Noshtalgia column, Sioux Falls, S.D., native Heather Fluit reached out to HOH about her epicurean Everest.

South Dakotans Want to Help Scratch Your Taco John’s Itch


“I’m disappointed to see that no one advocated for Taco John’s in your call for hard-to-find regional food,” Fluit, who spends her days handling communications for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, shared.

The beloved chain, originally born in Cheyenne, Wyo., currently serves roughly half the United States, marshaling most of its resources in the northernmost and central states. The closest outpost to D.C. is in Athens, Ohio.

But TJ lovers needn’t despair.

Fluit and the rest of the South Dakota State Society (she’s on the board) will be doing their best to re-create Taco John’s signature snack, the Potato Ole, at Saturday’s 5th Annual Taco John’s event.

Full story

Colbert’s ‘Better Know a District’ Returns

Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment is back with a vengeance.

Colberts Better Know a District Returns

Colbert, right, at a taping years back of “Better Know a District” with Democratic Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“The Colbert Report” anthology of awkward congressional interviews was on the verge of extinction in recent years. But in the past few weeks, a handful of Democrats have sat down with Colbert for their fair share of abuse. Full story

May 16, 2013

John Cornyn Has Issues

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn is very worried about lots of things these days. But rather than obsess about them in isolation, he’s inviting everyone to weigh in on the political head-scratchers as part of his “Issue Advisers” campaign.

John Cornyn Has Issues


HOH has received two such pleas for guidance just within the past week.

Before giving up any more of our personal information to the email-harvesting operation, we demanded to know whether this new relationship would be a two-way street.

Full story

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