Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

November 12, 2014

Jim McDermott Marshals Support Around ‘Korengal’

Ex-Navy psychiatrist-turned-Rep. Jim McDermott will attempt to kick-start a conversation about veterans’ mental health issues by hosting a screening Thursday of the Afghanistan war-tracking documentary, “Korengal.”

Event organizers have scheduled an opening reception for 6:30 p.m. in the Congressional Auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center, with a 7:30 p.m. screening to follow. They will also host a panel discussion with McDermott, filmmaker Sebastian Junger and representatives of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors afterwards. Interested parties may RSVP via email (jack.dannibale@mail.house.gov) or by phone (202-430-0311).

The unflinching film, which follows directly in the footsteps of Junger’s earlier, award-winning effort, “Restrepo,” explores the horrible toll modern combat exacts from those stuck on the front lines of the decade-plus long war on terror.

“You do terrible things. Then you have to live with them afterwards,” one soldier explains on camera.

A McDermott aide said the Washington Democrat has been working with Junger and Vietnam War veteran turned author Karl Marlantes for the past few years on establishing a national commission on veterans intended to help unburden battle-scarred warriors.

“Today, we are seeing too many casualties among American soldiers in their transition home.  In light of this crisis, Congress must act,” McDermott counseled in a release.

Related:

In ‘Korengal,’ Junger Closes the Book on Afghanistan

Film Captures Afghanistan’s Toll

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:57 p.m.
Flicks, HillSide, Reps

Congressional Baseball Game Players Designated for Assignment

Bishop, seen here at bat, won't be back for the 54 Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bishop, seen here at bat, won’t be back for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baseball’s offseason can be quite cruel. Events that take place far from the baseball diamond alter rosters and the fortunes of teams. So it goes with the Nov. 4 elections, which bumped two incumbent members of Congress who won’t be back for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game this coming summer.

Already, the GOP roster was set to lose Rep. Jack Kingston, who lost a Senate primary bid in Georgia and knew early he wouldn’t be returning for the 114th Congress. Election Day wrought further havoc for both rosters as Reps. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., and Vance McAllister, R-La., lost their re-election bids. Call them the Designated for Assignment Caucus.

Bishop will leave a hole at third base for the Democrats and was a veteran bat and glove for manager Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle’s squad, which has won six straight games against the GOP team.

McAllister, elected to Congress in a special election in November 2013, has only the one game of experience, but it was a memorable one. He was able to get a hit off of his home-state colleague, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, the Democrats’ star pitcher.

Speaking of whom, Richmond has a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, which will require surgery. He has vowed to return to the mound next year, but such injuries and the recovery time can be tricky.

And there could be drama over in the GOP dugout, stinging from so many losses as of late. Earlier this year, the Republicans’ long-time manager, Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas, withstood grumblings about his tenure and a shadow push to replace him with a fellow Texan, Rep. Roger Williams, a former professional baseball player. Barton survived, all the while ceding some decision making to Williams.

Now that Williams has given up, for now, his interest in taking over the National Republican Congressional Committee, he might be tempted to go full bore for the only leadership position left to him: Skipper of the GOP baseball team.

The offseason drama continues.

Related:

Cedric Richmond Has ‘Every Intention’ of Pitching Next Year

Complete Coverage of the 2014 Congressional Baseball Game

Williams Won’t Challenge Walden For NRCC

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November 11, 2014

Thundering Herds Expected Wednesday for Bison Day Fest

The bison lobby is storming back onto the Hill Wednesday for its annual congressional reception — a celebration of things large, lumbering and mammalian.

The National Bison Day shindig (NBD was actually on Nov. 1, but this is close enough for government work, right?) is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Dirksen 106. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to RSVP via Eventbrite.

One of the sponsors told HOH this year’s festivities would include complimentary bison sliders (courtesy of Western Buffalo Company), bison meatballs (a new addition to the program), bison-shaped cookies and samples of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s barrel-aged wares (everything’s coming up Kentucky!)

Amateur photographers can also snap away at the planned Beards for Bison “selfie station.” Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of the 2014 Campaign Season (Video)

As news outlets tracked the best campaign ads of the 2014 cycle over the past seven weeks, HOH kept tabs on the other activities which kept your elected officials busy, including arguing with constituents, reciting Greek history and reading mean tweets.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 10, 2014

Diran Lyons Rings Obama’s Bell

Pop culture slicer-and-dicer Diran Lyons has pieced together a new video wherein President Barack Obama maintains a laser-like focus on just two things: razing hell and sinking putts.

Mad props to Fox News Channel personality Megyn Kelly for contributing that killer quivering lip.

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November 9, 2014

GOP Expands The Red Zone | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-11-10-14.jpg

On Nov. 4, the Republican Party drubbed Democrats nationwide, expanding the GOP’s reach across the map. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption 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.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Brother, Can You Spare a Capitol Quip?

CapitolQuip-11-03-14-Final

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.

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November 7, 2014

Raul Ruiz and His Wife Are Expecting Twins

Ruiz at a 2012 debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ruiz at a 2012 debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., had two reasons to celebrate on Election Night. Well, technically three.

As he awaited the election results late Tuesday night, Ruiz announced at his victory party at the Agua Caliente Casino that he and his wife Monica Rivers are expecting twins.

“As most of you know, Monica and I were married earlier this year. And I’m so proud that she is my life partner. Tonight is a celebration. And so here, with all of you … I wanted to share some other celebratory news,” said Ruiz, prompting “ooo’s” and cheers from the crowd waving “Dr. Raul Ruiz” signs.

“Monica and I are expecting our first child in April,” said Ruiz, and the crowd erupted in cheers. “Actually let me correct that, We’re expecting our first two children. Twins!” said Ruiz as he held up two fingers.

The California Democrat officially won his race against Republican Brian Nestande, who served as chief of staff for ex-Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., when The Associated Press called the race late Wednesday morning. Ruiz took 53 percent of the vote in the race for California’s 36th District.

Before coming to Congress in 2012, Ruiz worked as an emergency room doctor. The Desert Sun reported that he and Rivers, an emergency-medicine nurse, married in March, after they dated for several years.

KMIR News | Palm Springs, California

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Pro-Japanese Politicians Honored for Their Global Outreach

While the rest of us spent the week fixating on everything that is wrong with Congress, the Japanese extolled the good that federal lawmakers can do by conferring one of that country’s top honors upon Washington Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott and Wisconsin Republican Reps. Tom Petri and Jim Sensenbrenner.

The three lawmakers recently received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of their working relationships with the island nation.

Rep. Tom Petri wearing his Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star awards in Japan. (Courtesy Tom Petri)

Petri displays his Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star awards in Japan. (Courtesy Tom Petri)

“For a long time they have been making contributions to promoting Japan-U.S. legislative exchange, and maintaining and deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance through the promotion of enhanced understanding of Japan in the U.S. Congress,” Japanese officials stated in a release, adding, “It is unprecedented for 3 members of the U.S. Congress to simultaneously receive this honor.” Full story

Meet the Wipeout Caucus: Republicans Who Didn’t Catch the Wave

Brown, left out in the cold. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brown, left out in the cold. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sometimes you catch the wave. Sometimes the wave, um, doesn’t let you catch it? Crashes down on you before you can catch it?

Republicans had quite a night on Nov. 4, picking up more than a dozen House seats, reclaiming the Senate majority, knocking off Democratic governors. It was party time for the GOP.

But what about the Republicans who didn’t catch the wave? How weird is it for them to lose in a year that was so good for the party, one has to reach back to a time when the American people saw fit to elect Herbert Hoover president for comparison. Call them the Wipeout Caucus. Full story

Bend the Elbow With Northwesterners at Annual Beer Fest

The state societies for expats from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are once again taking over the North Hall of Eastern Market to celebrate their favorite regional export: craft beer.

The annual “Go West Beer Fest” is scheduled to take place Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature, for the very first time, signature pours from Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company.

Non-members can get a taste of what they’ve been missing by forking over $30 — a fee which has, in past years, entitled guests to unlimited pours from participating breweries (Redhook, Big Sky and Deschutes).

According to one organizer, mobile vendors DC Slices (specializing in thin crust pies and fully loaded tater tots) and Dirty South Deli (grilled Andouille sausage and pimento cheese sammie, please) have been tasked with making sure that visiting bellies remain full.

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November 6, 2014

Barbara Lee Delivers Her Own Wave

Yes, yes, the Republicans have decisively taken over both chambers of Congress for the first time in nearly a decade.

But what’s that trivial feat got to do with the 40 seconds of awkward arm flapping California Democrat Barbara Lee endured on Wednesday’s episode of “The Colbert Report”?

The faux pundit, who is expected to bury his conservative-leaning cable news persona next month in preparation for assuming hosting duties of CBS’s “Late Show,” set up the face-to-face fanning duel (starts at the 3-minute mark) by noting during the latest installment of the pol-baiting “Better Know a District” segment that the signature sports move originated at the Oakland Coliseum.

According to ESPN, the first recorded version of the stadium-wide salute took place on Oct. 15, 1981, during a playoff game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.

So Lee’s district’s got that going for it. As well as a congresswoman who’s not afraid to rise and fall with the best of ’em.

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Politics and Prose, Busboys and Poets on Same Page About Expanding Readership

The independent D.C bookstore no serious author — lawmakers included — can ignore and the socially conscious meeting place fostered by political activist Andy Shallal are coming together to help venerate the written word.

According to a joint statement, the partnership between literary haunt Politics & Prose and hospitality haven Busboys and Poets will take flight next month, with the debut of the newest B&P location in Brookland.

“Politics and Prose epitomizes the greatness and reach of independent bookstores, and we are thrilled that they will partner with us to continue in our tradition of offering multicultural books that represent the diversity of Washington DC,” Shallal touted in a release.

Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, the husband and wife team behind P&P, are expected to take the lead on the forthcoming restaurant’s companion retail operation, and are scheduled to follow suit by putting their stamp on the bookselling component of the B&P slated to open in Takoma Park this January.

“We’re especially grateful to Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal for suggesting this venture and for believing in the power of books to enliven, educate, and enrich our community,” Graham and Muscatine stated online.

P&P currently serves as a second home for lawmakers, past and present, with captivating stories to tell. Once the integration wraps in 2015 — P&P is scheduled to assume control of the pre-existing book nooks at the B&P outposts in Mount Vernon Triangle; Hyattsville, Md.; and Shirlington, Va. — Graham and Muscatine will have a half-dozen spaces at which to welcome wordsmiths with something to say.

According to The Washington Post, the nonprofit Teaching for Change will continue to operate the bookstore at the flagship Busboys and Poets and 14th and V streets NW.

“We see great synergy in this new initiative and believe that working with Busboys will enable P&P to make books and authors more available throughout the metro region,” Graham and Muscatine assured local readers.

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Congresswomen Pick a New Roommate

Maloney finds a new roommate for her house of Congresswomen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maloney’s house will welcome a new roommate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“The Maloney House” has a new roommate.

Newly elected Long Island Democrat Kathleen Rice is the pick to join fellow New Yorker Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney’s townhouse of several congresswoman, HOH has confirmed.

Rice will replace Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., who is moving into a place of her own, according to several sources.

Rice  joins Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a longtime roommate in the Capitol Hill crib.

Rice won her bid Tuesday evening to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in New York’s 4th District.

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November 5, 2014

Virginia Democrats: Kind of Blue

The raft of incoming GOP lawmakers that flooded the rapidly reddening maps TV news outlets relentlessly flashed on election night did little to shake the resolve of Virginia Democrats.

The slightly reshuffled crew, anchored by 11-term lawmaker Robert C. Scott, three-term member Gerald E. Connolly, and newly minted Rep.-elect Don Beyer, remained confident they could still effect change in the soon-to-be solidly Republican legislative branch.

“We belong to a Commonwealth in which your diminishment is mine and your rights are also mine,” Connolly told attendees at a re-election night rally in the suburbs of Washington D.C. “[And] while we may take some knocks around the country tonight, I assure you those values are majority values and they are the values that are going to dominate polity going into this next half-century in America.”

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (center), flanked by his wife, Cathy (far left), his daughter, Caitlin (left), and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (right), during his 2014 victory speech. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Connolly (center), flanked by his wife, Cathy (far left), his daughter, Caitlin (left), and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (right), during his 2014 victory speech. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Beyer, the former two-term lieutenant governor of Virginia and ex-European ambassador moving into the post being vacated by retiring Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., expressed optimism that compromise can still be reached on Capitol Hill. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5 p.m.
Freshman, Reps

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