Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 29, 2015

February 11, 2014

Relief Agencies Share Hardware, Liquid Courage With Congress

Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t orchestrate her own brand of government shutdown over the next 48 hours, staffers should prepare to get their geek on Thursday during the “Innovation at the U.N.” reception.

The science-fair-themed gathering, organized by the Better World Campaign, is scheduled to take place Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rayburn foyer. Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to events@UNfoundation.org.

An event promoter told HOH the plan is to highlight the tools relief groups such as the U.N. Foundation, U.N. Development Programme, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, UNICEF and UNESCO are deploying around the globe. Attendees will be able to inspect one of those innovations, an Ikea-designed “refugee housing unit” designed with expediency (no tools required), longevity and sustainability (potential to be outfitted with solar power sources) in mind.

Too wonky for your tastes?

The party is also expected to feature “bartenders wearing lab coats/goggles” serving (what else?) “fizzy drinks in test tubes.”

“There will be blue cocktails dubbed ‘Ban Ki-moon blasts’!” our source said of the boozy entertainment named after the current UN secretary general. Those looking to lap up the experimental libation should expect splashes of vodka, lime juice and blue Curacao.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

Ricki Lake Passes on Congressional Bid

Former daytime talk show host Ricki Lake will not run for Congress.

Granted, no one expected her to do so, but she is part of Roll Call’s ongoing experiment to bait as many celebrities as possible to run in the open-seat, west-Los Angeles House race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

Lake (graciously) responded to Roll Call’s query on Monday night:

Additionally, film director Rob Reiner endorsed Democratic candidate Wendy Greuel on Monday.

Full story

February 10, 2014

Rubio Looses Epic Smokescreen Regarding Marijuana Use

Sen. Marco Rubio sees absolutely no upside to clearing the air about any previous drug use.

But as he proved on Monday, he’ll ramble on and on about why it’s a lose-lose for elected officials to speak candidly about ever having consumed cannabis.

Fusion talk show co-anchor Mariana Atencio attempted to light a fire under the Florida Republican by probing the one-time tea party favorite about the burgeoning endorsement of medical marijuana at the state level.

“I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the father of four got rolling. Full story

Chewing on Beto O’Rourke’s Snacking Habits

Rep. Beto O’Rourke is a brave man. And not just because he’s open to rolling around town on public transportation, which he did late last week.

Nope.

The Texas Democrat wowed us by broadcasting his love for a certain guilty pleasure: Thin Mints.

 

 

Around midday on Feb. 7, O’Rourke interrupted his #BusingwithBeto adventure to stock up on the controversial confection.

Within minutes of the casual disclosure, the social-media-sphere passed judgment on O’Rourke’s shopping selection:

 

Full story

Overheard: Phil Roe’s Hands-On Politicking

“I am an OB-GYN doctor. And I delivered most of my own voters.”

– Physician-turned-Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., shares the secret to breeding loyal constituents with Heritage Action’s Conservative Policy Summit

Libertarian Conference Lands Pols, Conspiracy Theorists and Comics

The 2014 International Students for Liberty Conference is rolling into town for a weekend (Feb. 14-16) celebration of freedom, information-sharing and spirited discussion.

The annual gathering attracts students from around the globe but typically features homegrown speakers and performers who share the same passion for living sans restrictions. House Republicans Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky are scheduled to address the youth-oriented gathering, as are Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone, veteran newsman John Stossel and former Hill-staffer-turned-comedian Andrew Heaton.

Heaton, who made light of the congressional grind as bumbling Chief of Staff Elliot Clarice in the satirical Web series “Cap South,” has been tapped to do standup on Saturday night.

“The federal government is a large, slow-moving target, much like a solitary buffalo on opioids. I’ll be whacking at that some,” he told HOH of his plans for the gathering. But Heaton noted that his material is much broader than what’s typically wrong with Capitol Hill.

“First, I’m not particularly mean-spirited by nature, so I’d rather make fun of concepts than people,” Heaton said of his big-picture approach to joke writing. Sure, he might lay into Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for getting all, well, Biden-y (“He strikes me as a genuinely likable person whom I’d happily get drunk with,” Heaton said), but Heaton would rather keep things more “conceptual.”

Plus, he can’t count on every audience being as inside baseball as those of us who live and die by C-SPAN.

“Since Saturday will be a group of international students, there’s no guarantee they would pick up on Chuck Schumer references or gems about Sheila Jackson Lee,” Heaton said, referring to New York’s senior Democratic senator and the Texas Democratic House member.

Not that he’s letting that stop him from putting the finishing touches on a new book of political humor — “Laughter Is Better Than Communism” — that he plans to unveil at the conference.

“Hopefully a few of the scholars will read it and further irritate their professors!”  he quipped.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:27 a.m.
DC, Hollyweird, Reps

February 9, 2014

The Immigration Bobsled | Capitol Quip

The Immigration Bobsled | Capitol Quip

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was all set to make a run at an immigration overhaul, releasing principles for going forward. Then his Republican colleagues started to weigh 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

It’s a Long Way Down | Capitol Quip

Its a Long Way Down | Capitol Quip

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.

February 7, 2014

Paul Gosar’s Love for Legislation He Voted Against

Paul Gosars Love for Legislation He Voted Against

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama signed the long-awaited farm bill into law Friday, prompting the traditional outpouring of congressional press releases. But among the digital back-pattings was one carefully worded missive that lauded Obama for signing provisions of Rep. Paul Gosar’s wildfire prevention legislation into law — even though Gosar voted against the final bill.

“When it comes to wildfires, 2013 wasn’t a good year, which is why I’m especially proud that the majority of my wildfire prevention legislation was signed into law today,” Gosar stated. Full story

McCain Says Costas ‘Didn’t Know What the Hell He Was Talking About’ With Putin

Sen. John McCain is no fan of a report about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s role in bringing the Winter Olympics to Sochi, Russia, that aired on NBC Thursday.

“Bob Costas ought to stick to sports because he obviously didn’t know what the hell he was talking about,” the Arizona Republican told Fox News of the host of NBC’s Olympics coverage.

“This is being recorded, senator,” quipped Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

Full story

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

A city of iconic monuments and architecture, Washington, D.C., is known for historic sites — and now you can own one, though it is lesser known.

On Dec. 13, 1980, Minor Threat, a seminal D.C. hardcore band, played its first show at 1929 Calvert St. NW. The eight bedroom, seven bathroom Victorian townhouse is on the market for $2.09 million.

Located in the Kalorama neighborhood, the house has been divided up into four luxury two bedroom apartments, according to the Long and Foster listing.

But the place should probably be turned into a museum. Also on the bill that night was The Bad Brains, S.O.A. and a few other D.C. bands that had taken the baton from ’70s punk rock and launched a thriving music scene in the District.

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

(Screenshot Pinterest)

After breaking up in 1983, Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat’s lead singer, went on to found Fugazi. He also founded Dischord Records with drummer Jeff Nelson.

Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker went on to play with Junkyard, The Meatmen, Dag Nasty, Government Issue and now plays with Bad Religion.

The Bad Brains is a legendary D.C. hardcore band formed in 1977 and famous for playing fast songs, but also for its reggae numbers.

S.O.A, short for State of Alert, was Henry Rollins’ first band. Back then he was known as Henry Garfield. A District native, Rollins later went on to be the lead singer of L.A. hardcore band Black Flag before embarking on a solo career and eventually branching into acting.

Hollywood Producer/Charlie Sheen Foe ‘Mulling’ Run for Waxman Seat

Add television executive producer Chuck Lorre to the group of entertainment people jokingly giving a look at running for Congress in west Los Angeles.

The seat’s incumbent, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, announced his retirement in late January. The district represents Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu. As a result, California’s 33rd is home to many movie stars and Hollywood players.

Lorre announced on Thursday that he is “mulling the congressional seat.” The comments came in the form of a “vanity card” he writes at the end of each of his television program episodes. This one flashed up on Thursday after an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”:

I’m also mulling the congressional seat recently opened by the retirement of Henry Waxman. Again, I think my complete lack of experience is a selling point. I’m also a big fan of incompetent government, as the overly organized ones tend to put people like me on trains to Poland. For this elective office I’m thinking I need a campaign slogan that alienates no one. Something along the lines of, “Send me to Congress and watch what happens!”

Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Feb. 3 (Video)

Members will stop at nothing to explain drunken fishing trips, Nordstrom’s return policy, why kids do drugs and how water is made. HOH condenses hours of content into five and a half minutes of the past week’s best and worst.

Meditation Museum Wants to Help the Politically Connected Unwind

Keeping the trains running on Capitol Hill is, by all accounts, a high-stress gig.

Which is why the Meditation Museum thinks it’s so important congressional operatives learn to cope with the pressure rather than allowing work to derail their mental well-being.

The spiritual center (8236 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md.) is hosting a free workshop on Feb. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., geared specifically to those who work in government.  The “Don’t Get Mad, Get Wise” program delves into anger management techniques, involves group problem-solving exercises and comes to a close with some light meditation.

“We do it almost every other month because people like it,” a Meditation Museum aide said of the semi-regular self-improvement lessons. The group routinely cycles through a series of core issues, including bolstering self-esteem, learning tolerance, fostering cooperation and heightening decision-making skills.

The workshops are, by design, strictly nonpartisan and do not require prior training in meditation. “We focus on mindful breathing … and have some guided meditation commentary,” the aide said of the low-key program.

Does the thought of commuting to the Maryland ‘burbs make your blood boil?

Meditation Museum Wants to Help the Politically Connected Unwind

(Screenshot)

 

The Meditation Museum has developed a free smartphone app (“Pause for Peace”) designed to help users carve out a little me-time from hectic schedules.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:27 a.m.
Drama, Interns, Reps, Sens, Staffers

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