Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

May 17, 2013

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

(Screenshot)

“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

(Screenshot)

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

Advantage: Breaux

Local tennis fans gathered Wednesday night at the Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C., to thank tennis great Chris Evert and former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., for their continued support of the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

Advantage: Breaux

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

OK — that and the spread of mouthwatering Swedish barbecue (saucy ribs, rosemary-spiked beef).

The event, now in its fourth year, was, theoretically, all about the incredibly talented kids who are well on their way to joining the pantheon of tanned and toned tennis gods on hand for the ceremony.

Still, folks couldn’t help but heap praise on Breaux — “Tennis’ ambassador in D.C.,” as they called him — even while criticizing his cutthroat nature on the court.

Full story

Whoops! Looks Like ‘Mark Sanfrod’ Was Sworn In

Updated 3:45 p.m. | Moving in. It can be quite the adjustment. Just ask the team of newly sworn-in Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., which was greeted with a press release sent out under the auspices of the new congressman with this headline: “Representative Mark Sanfrod Sworn Into Office.”

A horrified staff saw this — as well as an HOH blog post noting the misspelling and other snafus on Sanford’s official congressional website — and explained what went down.

“Rep. Sanford’s official website was updated by the US House without the prior knowledge, or consent, of our office and they have acknowledged their error,” Sanford’s office said in a statement. Specifically, responsibility for the error lies with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

Sanford, who was sworn in on Wednesday, certainly is one of the most colorful figures to return to Capitol Hill in quite some time. But the release was more than colorful:

Whoops! Looks Like Mark Sanfrod Was Sworn In

(Screenshot)

Full story

May 15, 2013

Fantastic Sanford-Appalachian Trail Gala Timing

Hmm.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., gets sworn in on Wednesday, in Washington, D.C., in the House chamber.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s gala is held on Wednesday, in Washington, D.C., on the rooftop terrace of 101 Constitution Ave. NW.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Mark Sanford in the House! | Capitol Quip

Mark Sanford in the House! | Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are all set. Now it’s your turn to vote.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • “I’ve got a great new angle on immigration …”
  • “Finally — a House that isn’t somebody’s home!”
  • “Sorry I’m late. I had a layover.”
  • “Hey guys! Any CODELs to Argentina coming up???”
  • “Who wants to join my Love Caucus?”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog May 20 and in that 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:36 p.m.
Capitol Quip

2013 ACLI Capital Challenge Runs Its Course

Members of Congress and their allies, antagonists and observers ran around Washington early Wednesday morning, hoping to come out ahead in the 3-mile ACLI Capital Challenge.

The 32nd annual Capital Challenge started at 8:00 a.m. (a bit early for HOH’s taste) at Anacostia Park. The event, which raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, is an invitational races for teams that represent the three branches of government, as well as the Fourth Estate.  Full story

McHenry Stretches With Beyonce Homage

Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., is obviously a pretty with-it guy.

He’s up with the baddest pop culture trends and down with all the things the cool kids love.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when his own words fail to communicate just how important abstinence education is, McHenry would turn to the lyrical stylings of Lady Bey to help him get his point across … about a bill to amend the Securities and Exchange Commission. Full story

Overheard: No Love Lost Between Holder, Issa

“The way you conduct yourself as a member of Congress is unacceptable and shameful.”

— Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa at Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Mel Watt Cuddles Adorable Baby During Holder Hearing

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Wednesday grilling by the House Judiciary Committee was pretty tense from the start, so thank goodness Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., provided America with a much needed “aww” moment during the hearing.

Watt looked happy while Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., lit in to each other, not because he enjoys watching grown men fight, but because Nicolas Watt, the congressman’s 1-year old grandson, was snuggled on his lap.

Mel Watt Cuddles Adorable Baby During Holder Hearing

(Courtesy C-SPAN)

Young Nicolas, it has to be said, is seriously, painfully adorable. This is not his first time visiting Capitol Hill. He’s been to his grandfather’s Hill office several times. This was, however, Nicolas’ first time overseeing the Judiciary Committee.

Corrected 6:50 p.m. | An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified the committee holding Wednesday’s hearing.

Library of Congress Hosts Ode to Copyright

Lawmakers and their spouses sat down to a performance of well-known hits at a Tuesday night concert in the Library of Congress.

“We love music,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said of he and his wife, Kelley, who was also present at a reception before the concert. “I think one of the amazing things is to see the writers perform their own songs.”

“He loves to do things like this when I’m in town,” Kelley Paul said of her husband. “If I’m not, he tends to get sucked into his regular meetings.” Full story

May 14, 2013

The Wolf at the Rayburn Door

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Or at least the Defenders of Wildlife ambassador arctic wolf Atka? Apparently the House sergeant-at-arms.

DOW is hosting a Wednesday reception in Rayburn B-354 called “Conservation Crossroads” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. They wanted to bring along Atka because, well, animals are cool, especially wolves.

But the House sergeant-at-arms “put the kibosh on having a wolf in the building,” according to a DOW spokesman, so they’ll be hanging out with Atka on the “NE corner of Longworth Park” for those interested in seeing some wolf action. They’ll be there from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

We called the House sergeant-at-arms to see if banning Atka from Rayburn was motivated by safety or hygiene, but we didn’t get a response. Guess we were barking up the wrong tree.

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