Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

July 31, 2013

House Republicans Own Casual Wednesday

Perhaps inspired by the bygone days of Seersucker Thursday, members of the House GOP appear to be testing out a new weekday dress code: Casual Wednesday.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., raised eyebrows last week when he showed up for an evening vote series sporting a sweaty T-shirt, gym shorts and sneakers.

This week, an HOH tipster spotted a tie-less Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., behind the dais at a Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee.

Hunter, who wields the gavel as chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, also neglected to wear a jacket on Wednesday morning.

As a three-term congressman, Hunter is no stranger to what constitutes proper attire. Is the laid-back look a nod to his San Diego roots?

Not quite, Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Kasper, informed HOH.

A complicated surgery — anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, to be exact — prevents the congressman from suiting up. Hunter’s surgeon made a small incision in his neck to reach disks in his spinal cord, decompressing tension and relieving the congressman of “an old Marine Corps injury,” Kasper said.

He’s under “doctor’s orders” to go tieless for a while, Kasper said. But rest assured, dress code sticklers, he’ll be back in a tie after the August recess.

Blotto Intern Falls Hard for Paul Ryan

Blotto Intern Falls Hard for Paul Ryan

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A well-in-his-cups intern sparked a pseudo manhunt on Capitol Hill today, as staff from the office of a House Republican tried to contain a stumbling, bumbling aide apparently dead set on getting some face time with his dream guy, ex-GOP vice presidential pick and current House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan.

Per an email circulated internally by an intern wrangler for the House Republican, the drama began when the wasted youth moseyed into work a few hours late, still stinking of the night before.

Things only got hairier once the underage boozehound began proclaiming his love for the Wisconsin Republican and then raced off to try to catch a glimpse of the P90X devotee at work. Full story

‘Cap South’ Courts Staffers for Season Finale

The powers-that-be over at “Cap South” — a nascent Web series that views Congress through a fun-house mirror — are so excited about wrapping up their first season on Thursday that they’re offering Hill folks a chance to get in on the act.

Cast and crew will be congregating at Top of the Hill  (319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for a real happy hour/fake farewell party for fictional Rep. Gracie Todd Englewright. Creator Rob Raffety told HOH he’s looking to host as many folks as possible (capacity will probably be limited to around 100), and plans to retain partygoers as extras for a post-HH filming scheduled to run from 7 p.m. till ???

Those looking to partake in the festivities should email media@capsoutheseries.com or RSVP via the show’s Facebook page. Full story

Five Captions to Watch Out For | Capitol Quip

Five Captions to Watch Out For | 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. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • It’s coming right at me — Yes, I definitely feel threatened.
  • 3 minutes. This is not working. Let’s just try to repeal it again.
  • Yes, I expect a crime is about to occur.
  • The guy took my peanuts and Big Gulp, then he threatened me with a mandate!
  • Profiling Democrats? Who, me?!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog Aug. 5 and in the next 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 3:22 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Nancy Pelosi Plies POTUS With Chocolate Cake

Nancy Pelosi Plies POTUS With Chocolate Cake

(Courtesy Nancy Pelosi’s office)

From Bill Cosby’s lips to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s ears.

Following this morning’s huddle with party lawmakers, Pelosi plans to surprise President Barack Obama with an early birthday gift: a cake smothered in her favorite treat, dark chocolate.

44 will turn 52 on Sunday.

Mind you, POTUS appears to be more of a meat eater than a sweets fiend.

But as we learned from the first father of black sitcoms, chocolate cake should be considered a nutritional bonanza.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:28 a.m.
Food, HillSide, POTUS

July 30, 2013

Al Roker Lobbies for Biden TV

“Today” show personality Al Roker wants to flood the airwaves with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., be it via reality programming or by handing over the reins to the early morning gabfest.

VPOTUS responded in kind on Twitter: Full story

John Yarmuth Eulogizes His Cat

On a day when some on Capitol Hill were busy trying to connect with the animal kingdom, Rep. John Yarmuth had to say goodbye to one of his whiskered buddies.

The Kentucky Democrat broke the news about the passing of Rice, his 13-year-old cat, via Facebook.

“Rice was a dedicated family man, close adviser, and friend to virtually any visitor to the Yarmuth home,” Yarmuth said of his cherished companion. A Yarmuth aide told HOH the beloved pet died of natural causes.

The cat, who was apparently named after NFL receiving legend Jerry Rice, seems to have been an integral part of Yarmuth’s existence. Full story

Cloture Club’s Ready for Recess

Cloture Club’s Ready for Recess

(Courtesy Cloture Club)

The merry-makers at Cloture Club want to help you kick off the so-close-you-can-almost-taste-it August recess with a bang — that bang being a whole mess of fancy booze and an incriminating photo booth coupled together for their “Summer Bash” soiree.

The all-night rager (RSVP via Facebook) is scheduled to take place Thursday, 7 p.m.-??? at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE).

Featured stress-busters include: $5 imports (Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde) and craft drafts  (Goose Island), $5 Cointreau-laced beverages (Rickeys, Cosmos), $4 house wines and craft bourbons, select tastings of WhistlePig straight rye whiskey (free for VIP guests) and free movie passes.

Here’s to making memories (and perhaps headlines in HOH).

Pet Lobby Brings Congress to Its Knees

Pet Lobby Brings Congress to Its Knees

Rep. Lois Capps greets Marley, a beagle mix, and handler Kelly Andrews of the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter during an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Congressional Animal Protection Caucus event in the Cannon Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For once, all the barking and screeching on Capitol Hill was coming from real animals rather than rabid political types.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got members and their congressional aides to forget party differences and join together in “ooohing” and “aaahing” for hours Tuesday during their second annual “Paws for Celebration!”, a pet adoption fest featuring ready-to-race-you-home critters currently cared for by various local animal shelters and rescue organizations.

An ASPCA spokeswoman said previous adoption outreach efforts on the Hill — the inaugural “Paws” gathering in 2012 and a Valentine’s-themed version earlier this year — have resulted in almost two dozen adoptions by staffers. Full story

New York Times Journalist Played Softball Game on Torn Hamstring

Jill-y, don’t be a hero.

Jill Agostino, the short fielder for the Bad News Babes softball team, injured her leg four days before the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game in late June but played in the game anyway. HOH has learned that the injury was far more extensive than initially thought — a torn hamstring — and Agostino is prepping for outpatient surgery.

New York Times Journalist Played Softball Game on Torn Hamstring

Agostino, reaching for a fly ball during the June softball game, played with a torn hamstring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Whether Agostino, an editor for The New York Times’ Washington bureau, would play was a source of anxiety for team leadership ahead of the game. Her captains repeatedly encouraged her to play only if the injury was not serious and to “not be a hero.”

Full story

PSA: Free Cupcakes on the Hill From Ford Motor Co.

 

PSA: Free Cupcakes on the Hill From Ford Motor Co.

(Courtesy Stephanie Lundberg)

To commemorate what would have been original hot rodder Henry Ford’s 150th birthday, Ford Motor Co. is treating Congress — as well as anyone in the general vicinity of the Capitol South Metro stop — to free cupcakes.

The promotion is being run in conjunction with motorized snack slingers Curbside Cupcakes, which will be distributing 1,400 cupcakes — 700 at Cap South and another 700 around Metro Center — today between noon and 2 p.m.

The giveaway is limited to one per person, with a choice of red velvet or vanilla bean. Curbside is also running a trivia contest via its Twitter account.

An event promoter said Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., is expected to pop by for part of the festivities, and held out hope that other members of the Michigan delegation would also be able to attend.

The company is hoping to sweeten the deal by hauling out a 1909 Model T for antique car lovers to gawk at.

July 29, 2013

President Obama Stumps for Weenies

The San Francisco Giants’ swing through the White House on Monday teed up a presidential plug for a plump and juicy frank.

While conferring with the 2012 World Series-winning ballplayers, President Barack Obama congratulated the champs not only for clinching the championship, but also for swinging for the fences on the sustainable dining front.

“I’m proud to announce that next season they’re planning to turn the center field bleachers at AT&T Park into what’s believed to be the first ever edible garden in a major American sports facility. With rows of kale and strawberries and eggplant, the Giants are going to help encourage local youth to eat healthy — even at the ballpark,” Obama told reporters.

First Lady Michelle Obama has been leading by example on a gorge-yourself-on-greenery campaign, carving out space on the White House lawn for a functional kitchen garden that’s become the fount of many a state dinner.

Insatiable fast-food fan Barack, however, made sure to alert folks that even FLOTUS would approve of dialing back dietary restrictions while enjoying America’s pastime. Full story

Where Are They Now? Scandalized Ex-Members Resigned Mostly to Obscurity

You gotta admire ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s moxie.

The New York Democrat is refusing to bow out of his improbable bid to claim the keys to Gracie Mansion — a vanity project that appears to have all but been destroyed after another round of embarrassing sexting stories. Weiner’s latest episode was perpetrated under the dynamite pseudonym “Carlos Danger” and surfaced last week.

Having already resigned one post, Weiner appears disinclined to throw in the towel again. Moreover, unlike most of the other scandalized pols who have fled the Capitol over the past decade, Weiner is refusing to let go of the spotlight. (There’s always talk radio.)

Here’s a quick recap of where some of the most damaged former lawmakers who ditched their seats stand today:

Where Are They Now? Scandalized Ex Members Resigned Mostly to Obscurity

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Weiner: resigned from Congress in June 2011 after getting caught tweeting pics of his junk to online paramours. He laid low before delving into his current race and is struggling to stay on message now that post-resignation sexting has once again called his character into question. Full story

Barney Frank’s Twitter Attracts Truly Colorful Characters

Barney Frank’s Twitter Attracts Truly Colorful Characters

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After much poking and prodding, former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has finally acquiesced to public calls for him to join the Twittersphere.

The wordy wonk admitted to HOH that he had not, until very recently, completely grasped the myriad benefits of the microblogging service, choosing to reserve his verbose rants for more traditional media outlets.

But all that changed last week, when Frank took control of the long dormant @BarneyFrank account a cyber-squatter had been sitting on.

“If there were any followers, they were at a great distance,” Frank said of the account, which he said Twitter had effectively deactivated because of sustained inactivity. Full story

Take Five: Ami Bera

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., talks about the serenity of waterfront spots, as well as the similarities of two capital cities.

Q. What, if any, successes are you most proud of in your term in Congress so far?

A. I’ve only been in Congress since January, but I’m proud of the work I’ve done with my colleagues to start to create a sense of bipartisanship in the House. Our freshman class gets along very well, both Democrats and Republicans, and I think over time this class is really going to leave its mark on Congress. I’m also proud to be a co-chair of the No Labels Problem Solvers coalition, a group of members from both parties who are working together to try to break through partisan gridlock.

Q. As a congressional representative, you obviously don’t have “normal” work hours. Are you planning to take a break over the recess?

A. During August, I have several events planned in my Sacramento County district. Among the many things I’ll be doing are Congress on Your Corner meetings with constituents, a veterans resource fair and town hall to help our vets get the services they need, an event with local business leaders and our local Chamber of Commerce, and several back to school events. In addition to time in the district, I’ll also be traveling to India and Israel to deepen my understanding of the U.S. relations with these key allies and to promote trade and economic development in the Sacramento region.

Q. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A. I love the outdoors. I’m an avid fisherman and love to get out on the water when I can. I also love backpacking and going on summer backpacking trips. Most people also may not know I’m the only Unitarian Universalist in Congress and only the third Indian-American ever elected to Congress.

Q. Do you play or follow a particular sport or sports?

A. I played basketball all through high school. Now I golf and snowboard when I can, which is not often. And when I’m back home, I spend a lot of time swimming.

Q. What is your favorite place in D.C. that reminds you of home?

A. I love to walk along the Potomac River. Sacramento is the River City and there are many great waterfront spots in my district. Being on the water is incredibly peaceful and it’s one of the most beautiful aspects of both Washington, D.C., and the Sacramento region.

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