Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

November 11, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Tony Cardenas

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. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., talks about saving an elephant, growing up in the Valley and getting lost underground.

Q. While on the Los Angeles City Council, you were a major animal rights activist. What motivated you to get involved with that cause?
A. My staff was given some info about Billy the Elephant suffering in our zoo. To be honest, I told my staff I don’t want to look at it, it’s not what I came here for, but it was so horrific, when I sat down and read it, I had to do something about it. I got involved in that issue and immediately got involved in domestic animal issues.

Q. You launched district and city-wide efforts to improve the environment, collecting more than 56,000 tons of trash. How did you go about that project?
A. This is the district I grew up in. Half is residential, [the] other half is chrome-plating plants, dump sites, things of that nature. I decided I wanted to do something about it. I created an environmental justice improvement zone. It was important for us to have the fire department and San Fernando city attorney’s office [involved] before we allowed someone to … expand.

Q. You are one of 11 children. What’s one stereotype that people may have about large families that isn’t true?
A. One of the stereotypes is that the family has too many kids. We actually heard that one. They would say “they live in the Valley” and assumed some of us would end up being a gang member. I’m the youngest, I’m 50. None of us have ever been in the backseat of a police car or involved with drugs or alcohol.

Q. Have you ever gotten lost in Washington?
A. Just last week! When I get in those tunnels, in the basement, I end up taking the wrong turn and getting frustrated. It’s kind of embarrassing for staff when they see that lost look on your face and the pin.

Q. What sporting team do you have to see when they travel through D.C. or when you’re back home in California?
A. My favorite sporting team is the Lakers. I used to love football when I was a kid and my favorite team was the Rams. If I go to one game a year, that’s a big year for me.

Overheard: Christening a Ford, not a Lincoln

“It carries the name of a president who showed us America at its best, an America that strives to bring hope to every corner of the planet and to do so with strength, but without bluster. Then-Congressman Ford brought a moment of modest humor to the solemn moment he was sworn in as vice president. He told America, ‘I am a Ford, not a Lincoln.’”

Sen. Carl Levin, speaking on Nov. 9 at the christening of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Va.

Kevin Yoder Welcomes New Baby Girl

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., has leaped into the parenthood fray, welcoming daughter Caroline Lucille to the world on the afternoon of Nov. 7.

Kevin Yoder Welcomes New Baby Girl

(Courtesy Kevin Yoder)

Per Yoder’s press office, the newborn — measuring in at 20 inches long and weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce, as recorded by the staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Shawnee Mission, Kan. — officially joined the family at 2:16 p.m. last Thursday.

“Someone once told us that having a baby is the one chance we get to help God perform a miracle. We’re so fortunate and blessed to add Caroline into our lives and thankful of God’s miracle of life that brought her into our family,” Yoder announced to the world on his Facebook page.

This is the first child for Yoder and his wife, Brooke.

November 10, 2013

Putting the Cart Before the Horse | Capitol Quip

 Putting the Cart Before the Horse | Capitol Quip

The foibles surrounding the rollout of the new health care law dominate Capitol Hill discussions. Who’s to blame for HealthCare.gov glitches? When will the exchanges be up and running smoothly? What kind of effect will this have on the political environment? This all brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section of our Heard on the Hill blog. Editors will pick five finalists on Nov. 13, and everyone can vote for the winner through Nov. 14.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

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

Obama’s Bearded Promise | Capitol Quip

 Obamas Bearded Promise | 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.

November 9, 2013

Brad Wenstrup Takes a Crack at Fatherhood

Brad Wenstrup Takes a Crack at Fatherhood

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brad Wenstrup scored his first child Saturday, welcoming his 6-pound, 15-ounce son, Brad Robert Wenstrup Jr. to the world in Cincinnati.

The Ohio Republican told HOH earlier this year that he and his wife, Monica, were on board for a “surprise” birth, deciding they’d rather find out whether it was a boy or girl at the time of delivery. But the newly minted pop appears to have slipped right into doting parent mode.

“I can fully understand, even more than I did before, the need to not only protect and defend, but to nurture and provide for one that follows us. Monica and I have always felt called to try to leave the world at least a little better than we found it,” Wenstrup declared in a release. “Brad renews that commitment for us.”

Per his office, Wenstrup is planning to spend a week in Ohio with his newly expanded family before returning to one of the least productive congresses in history.

November 8, 2013

Shed a Coat, Score a Beer During Charity Pub Crawl

HillVets has organized a philanthropic pub crawl Friday night where you can trade a warm winter coat for a tour of local watering holes, gratis draft brews and a show by some hometown rockers.

The Veterans Day weekend collection effort kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Bullfeathers (410 First St. SE) and will include stops at The Dubliner (4 F St. NW) and Béarnaise (313 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) before the evening is through. Interested participants are requested to bring a new winter jacket to donate to the cause.

The contributed clothing nets each attendee one free draft beer at each location, with each bar offering up their full catalog of freshly poured suds — ranging from four craft brews at Béarnaise (including DC Brau’s The Corruption, Delirium Tremens and Eggenberg Pils) to the 30-plus lines at Bullfeathers.

Local funkmeisters the B Side Shuffle are scheduled to serenade the group when everyone stumbles into the Dubliner:

Can’t crawl this evening?

Béarnaise, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza will be accepting coat donations through Saturday. But the free beer deal is only good tonight.

John Schlimm Delivers a Mouthful for Veggie Caucus

John Schlimm grew up in rural Pennsylvania working in his father’s butcher shop — a long way from the Capitol Visitor Center, where the vegan cookbook writer lunched on Thursday with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

The veggie caucus, as it’s known colloquially, has been hosting vegetarian lunches and educational events since a small group of like-palated staffers decided to fight back against the lack of vegetarian fare in congressional dining halls.

The group had an event planned last month, but the government shutdown forced it to postpone. For Thursday’s to-do, about 60 staffers filled the room to learn about eating a plant-based diet while munching away on vegan wraps provided by Zenful Bites and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Sticky Fingers. Full story

Business Leaders to Rock Out With Reality TV Star

How does one properly reward those willing to spend the better part of a day debating the nuts and bolts of intellectual property rights and innovation policy? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center figures a few tunes from a long-forgotten “American Idol” winner ought to about cover it.

The GIPC is hosting its inaugural global IP summit Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a daylong gathering featuring guest speakers — including Rep. George Holding, R-N.C. — and discussion panels galore.

Once it’s all over, attendees will be treated to a 15-minute performance by singer/songwriter Lee DeWyze.

Name not ringing a bell for you?

That’s probably because DeWyze won the ninth cycle of American Idol — and immediately faded into obscurity. Full story

Overheard: Obama on How “This Town” Works

“I’ve now been in this town long enough to know that, you know, folks like to seem important by getting their version of events in the press.”

— President Barack Obama, in an interview with NBC News that aired Thursday.

November 7, 2013

This Week in HOH: Jay McInerney Considers This Town

This Week in HOH: Jay McInerney Considers This Town

Long before Mark Leibovich took this town to task in his book “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital,” another celebrated writer zeroed in on the power and the glory that float through the air in Washington.

In the Nov. 6, 1988, Heard on the Hill column, Bill Thomas chronicled the D.C. visit of Jay McInerney, the author of “Bright Lights, Big City” and a zeitgeist-catching scribe of the times. Full story

Rand Paul Rebrands Amid Plagiarism-gate

Following a full week of being battered by mounting reports that he cribbed parts of others’ intellectual capital and repackaged them as his own, Sen. Rand Paul appears to have finally found safe harbor in the conservative blogosphere.

Rand Paul Rebrands Amid Plagiarism gate

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

The Kentucky Republican has come under fire as of late for liberally borrowing third-party content (ranging from pop culture references on Wikipedia to rhetorical red meat produced by conservative think tanks) to pad his own speeches and publishing projects. After others pointed out that he’d used unattributed material from The Week for a recent Washington Times piece, the Times yanked away his weekly soapbox.

The unrelenting scrutiny appears to be throwing Paul for a loop. Full story

Overheard: Inhofe’s Warm Memories of the Cold War

“I’ve often said that recently, you know, I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War.”

— Senate Armed Services ranking member James M. Inhofe, at today’s committee hearing on sequestration and the military.

November 6, 2013

Quite a Hairy Situation | Capitol Quip

Quite a Hairy Situation | 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. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • If you like your facial hair, you will be able to keep it. Period.
  • We’re not shaving until HealthCare.gov works!
  • Look, I really think these bipartisan beards will help us grow the economy.
  • It’s about time we had some growth around here.
  • Has anybody found out if razor burn is covered by the Affordable Care Act?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Nov. 10 and in the Nov. 12 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 5:18 p.m.
Capitol Quip

John Schlimm To Join Next Vegetarian Staff Shindig

The ever-optimistic Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association is hosting another educational event on Thursday, part of an evolving outreach effort accentuated this time by the chance to hobnob with vegan cookbook author John Schlimm.

The late lunch/discussion is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center, room 217 (colloquially known as “meeting room south.”) Per staff, the complimentary luncheon — featuring sandwiches from Zenful Bites and sweets from the award-winning Sticky Fingers — is open to everyone (no RSVP required).

Schlimm, who released his latest work, “The Cheesy Vegan,” just last month, wasn’t born a devout plant-eater:

But it sounds like taking in the myriad sights/sounds/smells of a butcher shop at a young age made choosing his current lifestyle a no-brainer.

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