Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
June 30, 2015

May 13, 2014

Bill Maher: Michael Grimm Has ‘Likely Flipped Himself’ on #FlipaDistrict

Has Grimm "flipped himself?" (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Has Grimm “flipped himself?” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bill Maher might be giving up on “flipping” Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s district.

The liberal comedian explained on his HBO show “Real Time” last week that the New York Republican is probably now capable of putting his seat in Democratic hands all by himself.

“There has been a development that I must tell you we here at ‘Real Time’ could not foresee,” said Maher, “and that is that the very first schmoe that we put up on our Tweet 16 board of finalists … has most likely flipped himself by getting arrested and possibly going to prison.” Full story

May 12, 2014

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

Advocates for extending voting rights to the District are adding another weapon to their coalition-building arsenal: the (local) star-studded gala.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | Politicos expected to strut their stuff at the inaugural “3 Star Ball: Party With a Purpose” include: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and councilmembers-turned-mayoral-hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania. The event is scheduled to take place May 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the scenic rooftop of the National Association of Realtors’ HQ (500 New Jersey Ave. NW).

Tickets to the gala, which will feature gourmet finger foods, frosty pours of DC Brau’s “The Citizen” and “Public Ale” and live entertainment, are $75 per person.

Organizers carved out a place for newly minted U.S. citizen José Andrés on the host committee. But, sadly, the bicoastal restaurateur will not be working his culinary magic for the mingling masses. That task falls to Alexandria, Va.-based Windows Catering, which is expected to ply partygoers with the likes of lobster rolls, beef Wellington, grilled vegetable quesadillas and cheesecake lollipops (among other nibbles).

DC Vote also plans to honor a pair of hometown heroes that night: regional suds slinger DC Brau, and Nancy Bagley, ex-aide in the administration of President Bill Clinton turned media maven (Washington Life Magazine).

“DC Brau has displayed extraordinary efforts to educate consumers about DC’s lack of congressional representation. They include messaging about DC statehood and representation on their cans of beer as well as in promotional advertising for their products,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said of the brewery’s in-your-face campaigning.

Washington Monument Reopens (Video)

Sgt. First Class Crystal Lee and Staff  Sgt. Troy Paolantonio of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, practice on the Mall before performing at a ceremony that re-opened the Washington Monument to the public.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Lee and Staff Sgt. Troy Paolantonio of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, practice on the Mall before performing at a ceremony that opened the Washington Monument to the public. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Washington Monument reopened Monday morning, nearly three years after an earthquake shook the nation’s capital, cracking the monument and forcing renovations.

“Our Washington Monument is back!” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said at the ceremony.  The $15 million restoration repaired 150 cracks in the monument that resulted from the August 2011 earthquake.

Holmes joined other dignitaries, members of the Obama administration and wounded veterans and tourists at the event hosted by Al Roker of “The Today Show.”

Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:13 p.m.

Diaz-Balart Aide Assists in Pot Bust

An aide to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., has sent some bumbling drug dealer’s dreams up in smoke.



After stumbling upon a suspicious looking bundle somewhere down in South Florida, the congressional staffer did exactly as Homeland Security has instructed — who knew anyone actually paid attention to those “if you see something, say something” ads plastered just about everywhere? — alerting the proper authorities about the puzzling parcel. Per Diaz-Balart, the plastic-wrapped parcel turned out to contain marijuana.

No word on how much weed the Miami Police Department recovered at the scene. Or whether Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., angrily flung a pristine pack of rolling papers into the waves a little bit further up the beach.

May 11, 2014

Benghazi and IRS Are So Hot | Capitol Quip


In case you missed it, Obamacare is so out. Benghazi and contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner are totally in. 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

How Congress Is Like a Doughnut | Capitol Quip

Capitol Rotunda

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 9, 2014

Louie Gohmert Goes There With Nazi Comparison (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, likened the cancellation of HGTV’s “Flip It Forward” to Nazism during a speech on the House floor Friday.

According to Gohmert, backlash from anti-gay remarks that the show’s hosts made demonstrates a totalitarian atmosphere. Paraphrasing the hosts, Gohmert relayed on their behalf that, “Look we love homosexuals, we love all people. But it doesn’t mean that you have to support, embrace, encourage particular lifestyles that you believe are harmful to the individuals and harmful to the society in general. So it is amazing that in the name of liberality, in the name of being tolerant, this fascist intolerance has arisen,” he said.

Gohmert likened the situation to “going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe. First they would call people haters and evil and build up disdain for those people who held those opinions or religious views or religious heritage.”

Gohmert also lamented the “rise of fascism in American universities” and said, “Those who are the most hate filled who do not follow the teachings of Jesus seek to impose or project … their own hate, their own intolerance.”


Roll Call Trivia Night: Stump Your Friends

Compiled by Margaret Prothier

It’s Taste of America season, and Roll Call appropriately hosted a kickoff party this week with a trivia contest.

The winners (“Team Linked” — Oscar Santillana, Emma Chaiken, Linda Santiago, Amanda Kaster and Chris Averill) scored 12 points. Can you beat them? Put your knowledge to the test and give it a try. The questions are below. No Googling! We’ll post the answers next week.

Full story

California Democrats ‘Cher’ a Moment

By virtue of having to operate in the minority, House Democrats Michael M. Honda and Ami Bera automatically do not have the loudest microphone in Congress.

(Courtesy Team Bera)

(Courtesy Team Bera)

Not so at neighboring 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE); that’s where the California lawmakers recently buddied up to belt out ’60s hits for a captive audience.

A Bera aide told HOH the pols serenaded a group of Asian-American young professionals with their rendition of “I Got You Babe.” After hashing out who was best suited to channel the latest Wu-Tang collaborator and who should step into the shoes of the late Sonny Bono, R-Calif., the pals put on what sounds like quite a performance.

“Congressman Honda’s experience showed and he definitely out-sang his protégé, but Congressman Bera had a certain something that captured much of the audience’s heart,” Team Bera suggested.

While Honda’s predilection for rocking the mic is no secret, our source assured us that any buzz about a multi-city tour “are only rumors.” Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 5 (Video)

While Majority Leader Harry Reid dished on greased pigs, the Nevada desert and People magazine, members kept busy focusing on Kool-Aid, CNN and “House of Cards.”

May 8, 2014

Chaffetz, Gowdy Talk Turkey Over ‘Za

Jason Chaffetz

“Just guys having some pizza and talking about everything under the sun,” Chaffetz said of the meal.

An HOH tipster bumped into Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., at We, The Pizza late Wednesday night and swore the two chums seemed to be plotting something serious.

“They were talking about ‘eliminating people,’” our source suggested.

Chaffetz, however, threw cold water all over that little conspiracy theory.

“Just guys having some pizza and talking about everything under the sun,” he said of the impromptu visit.

According to Chaffetz, the two pals — “Trey is one of my best friends around here,” he stated — decided to pop into his go-to pizza spot after filming a TV hit on Fox News.

No special occasion. (“We share a meal or two about every week,” Chaffetz estimated.)

No nefarious purpose. (“There was no ‘eliminating’ anybody talk,” he assured HOH.)

And, for once, no swinging by Good Stuff Eatery for a bonus helping of fries.

“I’m dieting,” Chaffetz confessed.

When a couple did approach their table and start speculating about committee assignments for the fledgling group expected to bear down on the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the lawmakers gave nothing away.

“We just laughed,” Chaffetz said of the armchair quarterbacking that consumes This Town.

House GOP leaders are expected to make their investigatory team known this Friday.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:31 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Reps, Restos

#TBT: A Series of Hits and Misses (Video)

It’s hard to believe, but Team HOH was actually entrusted with giving a presentation at the CQ Roll Call annual meeting recently.

How did it go? Well, we’re still employed (so far). Helping us out with our series of one-liners was ace Roll Call video editor J.M. Rieger, who wove together the following video that demonstrated that we at HOH will always have plenty of material to work with, as long as Congress is in session. In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look:

Jared Polis’ Legendary Gaming Campaign

Reason magazine has dubbed Rep. Jared Polis the “Gamer Congressman,” an honor earned by virtue of a lifetime spent mercilessly battling one’s way through fantasy worlds and virtual war zones.

The Colorado Democrat touched on a few of his favorite virtual pastimes — “I don’t really watch much TV. So, it’s a much more interactive thing, I think, to do with your spare time,” he told the interviewer — during a discussion that also touched on intellectual property rights, cyber-regulatory issues and blah-blah-blah.

We here at HOH were much more interested in getting to the bottom of the role-playing and online strategy games that have kept Polis glued to glowing computer screens for approaching four decades.


  • Age of Mythology
  • Rome
  • Later versions of Civilization


  • Diablo and Diablo II
  • Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights II
  • Defense of the Ancients
  • League of Legends (which he still plays)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic (later editions) Full story

May 7, 2014

Play Ball! Practices Begin for 53rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game

Richmond has dominated in the last few games. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Richmond has dominated in the past few games. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a little more than six weeks, Republicans and Democrats will lace up their cleats to compete in the 53rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Both teams are gearing up for another fierce competition. The Democrats and Republicans both held practices Wednesday morning and will continue to practice every morning that Congress is in session until the game on June 25.

Democrats are looking to score their sixth straight win following their victory over the Republicans last year with an unprecedented score of 22-0.

“The pressure’s on us to perform the way we did last year,” said team manager Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa. Doyle said the Democratic team is working to hone its skills in time for the game.

“We’ve got a long way to go to match last year’s performance,” he said, noting that Wednesday was the team’s first complete practice, as inclement weather at the end of April limited the team’s first two practices.

Republicans are hoping to redeem themselves after last year’s tough loss.

“I know we’re better than that,” said Republican manager Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas.

Barton said the team is not discouraged by last year’s loss and will focus on improving its fielding this year. “We’ve got a lot of enthusiasm and a real positive attitude,” he said.

After their first practice, the Republican roster is still in flux. However, even though the lineup is not set yet, one Republican senator is displaying his dedication to the team both on and off the field.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., showed up to the conservative Leadership Institute breakfast Wednesday morning in his practice baseball uniform. Paul gave a speech in a baseball shirt with “Republicans” across his chest, because the event was immediately following the team’s practice.

“We had practice this morning!” Paul tweeted. “Speaking of the baseball game, I am advocating Term Limits for Democrat pitchers.”

Paul, seen here last year, is raring to go. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul, seen here last year, is raring to go. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Paul’s tweet was a nod to Democratic star Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who pitched seven shutout innings last year. The Louisiana lawmaker returns to the Democratic team once again, along with most of last year’s roster.

However, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, will sit out this year due to an injury (not to mention the fact that he is caught up in a competitive race for the Senate.)

Democrats are anticipating a tough challenge from Republicans, despite last year’s blowout.

“These guys are going to be gunning for us,” said Doyle, noting that members of Congress have a particular distaste for failure.

“You don’t get to this place liking to lose,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat. “It’s no different when they get on the baseball field.”

Along with some healthy partisan competition, the annual game also raises funds for local charities. “The big winners are going to be the charities,” said Barton.

Proceeds will once again go to the Washington Literacy Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 6:35 p.m.
Sports Desk

Vote For Your Favorite Capitol Doughnut Quip

Capitol Rotunda

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!

  • And just like Congress, there is no center!
  • Caution: May contain nuts.
  • Where’s the coffee?
  • Hopefully it’s not too big to fail.
  • Did Michelangelo need a doughnut when he painted the Sistine Chapel?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on May 11 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.

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