Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2015

May 19, 2014

Daniel Inouye Gets Cornered on the National Mall (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The National Museum of the American Indian  is paying tribute to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a proud Pacific Islander who served as one of the founding directors for the interactive exhibition hall, as part of its “Living Aloha” festival.

Just don’t expect too big of a production if you visit.

Upon entering the funky, four-story structure, patrons are handed a snazzy brochure retracing the steps of the iconic Hawaii Democrat through the years.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The lobby, however, is dominated by a ring of arts and crafts stations dedicated to sharing native art forms with curious onlookers. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 9 a.m.
Artsy, DC, Sens, Whuck

May 18, 2014

A Monumental Capitol Quip


The Washington Monument has reopened! Gone are the structural problems caused by the 2011 earthquake. Back are, well, elevator problems. 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

Pick a Scandal, Any Scandal | 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.

May 16, 2014

Bad News: Republicans Lose Top Baseball Player to Injury

The GOP's task just got a bit more daunting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The GOP’s task just got a bit more daunting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans hoping to redeem themselves after a devastating loss in last year’s Congressional Baseball Game will have to take the field without one of their star players.

DeSantis, on the DL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DeSantis, on the DL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ron DeSantis will not be playing in the 53rd annual game this June due to a shoulder problem.  This is bad news for his team, since the Florida Republican was an accomplished player.  DeSantis was the captain of the Yale baseball team his senior year and played in the Little League World Series.

Last year, Republicans hoped DeSantis could provide some balance against the Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana.  Although DeSantis showed his skills on the field, it was not enough to stop the Democrats from winning 22-0.

Without one of their top players, Republicans may have an even tougher time against the Democrats this year.  But despite last year’s performance, Republican team manager Joe L. Barton of Texas told Roll Call that his team had “a lot of enthusiasm and a real positive attitude.”

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 1:22 p.m.
Sports Desk

Roll Call Trivia: The Answers

Compiled by Margaret Prothier

Okay, are you stumped yet? Last week, we posted the trivia questions from our Taste of America Roll Call kickoff party.

The winners (“Team Linked” — Oscar Santillana, Emma Chaiken, Linda Santiago, Amanda Kaster and Chris Averill) scored 12 points.

Here are the answers, did you beat them?

Full story

The 8 Types of Capitol Hill Reporters

We're pretty sure each type of reporter is represented here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We’re pretty sure each type of reporter is represented here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Want to get a reaction in Washington D.C. media?

Try writing about the 9 different kinds of flacks on Capitol Hill. And then wait to see the defensive responses roll in.

We might have been a bit harsh, but at Roll Call such stories about staffers and the important work they do are a mainstay of what we cover.

But all’s fair in love and journalism, so we decided to point the pen in our direction. While both of us still can’t believe that we get paid to do our jobs, we recognize that the Capitol Hill press corps can be a thorny bunch (and yes, we might be guilty of at least some of the following hack sins).

So, by popular request, nominations from the Twitterverse, and a few suggestions from good-humored congressional flacks, here are the eight types of Capitol Hill reporters. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 12 (Video)

Democrats offer to show their amendments if Republicans show theirs, Sen. Ted Cruz quotes Jack Nicholson and Majority Leader Harry Reid explains the difference between mirages and solar panels.

Binge Drink to Brad Ingwell’s Health!

Local bartender Brad Ingwell may have to go through cancer treatment, but his pals in the industry are not going to let him do it alone.

(Courtesy 201 Bar)

(Courtesy 201 Bar)

Fellow hospitality vets Paige Farrell and Mike Haigis dreamed up “Brad-a-Palooza” as a way to raise Ingwell’s spirits — and perhaps a few bucks — as he shoulders the burden of attempting to vanquish the stage 3A lung cancer diagnosis that totally blindsided him this past winter.

“We’re trying to structure it as an opportunity to raise some money and show our support,” Farrell said of the mini-bar crawl.

Liquid courage is scheduled to flow freely Friday from 6-10 p.m. at both 201 Bar and Union Pub (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE); a $50 contribution (suggested) will grant participants access to a partial open bar (rail liquor), light appetizers, live music, a photo booth, a silent auction and raffle.

Per Farrell, those more comfortable donating less can still enjoy the food and entertainment as well as signature drink specials (just no open bar).

All donations will go towards helping defray Ingwell’s out-of-pocket expenses for the ongoing medical treatment.

“I’m really touched by it,” Ingwell, who serves as area director of the two participating watering holes as well as the fledgling Barrel, said of the outpouring of support he’s received from the Capitol Hill community.

Still, he’s very much looking forward to putting this whole being sick thing behind him.

“The prognosis is relatively good. They think they can cure it,” Ingwell shared.

That’s the spirit.

May 15, 2014

George Takei Talks Snowden, Japanese Internment and YouTube

George Takei is a frequent visitor to Washington

Takei, left, seen here in a previous Hill visit with Rep. Henry A. Waxman, remains politically active. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Actor George Takei is in town, in part, to promote the AARP YouTube show he hosts, and he chatted with your HOH Technocrat correspondent about his personal history, political activism and his thoughts on the National Security Agency surveillance program.

At a “Selfies with George” AARP event promoting its Takei’s Take channel, which starts its second season next month, the original Mr. Sulu stated a simple demographic fact that was nevertheless startling: “My Star Trek fans are now of AARP membership generation.”

Regardless, Takei is still a part of the emerging tech world, as illustrated in his video on online dating.

Full story

May 14, 2014

Murkowski Throws Herself Into ALS Relief Efforts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn’t much for all the game playing that goes on in the Senate.

But if flinging a bean-filled, felt square into a hole several yards away helps the Alaska Republican stamp out Lou Gehrig’s disease once and for all, so be it.

“My family has been living and dying with ALS for eight years,” she shared. Her cousin Jenny Gore Dwyer’s husband, Pat Dwyer, succumbed to the debilitating illness in June 2013. That’s why she and Gore will be heading to Penn Social on Saturday to partake in the “Washington DC Corntoss Challenge,” an annual fundraiser benefiting the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, Mass.

“I’d like to think that one of these days we’re gonna make a little progress,” Murkowski said of the work she’s put in to informing others about Lou Gehrig’s disease. She credits Gore with helping to educate her about the all-consuming malady.

“I learned that even though we have identified the disease and named it, we haven’t come any closer to any cure in the many decades since Lou Gehrig,” Murkowski said.

She estimated that inaction has been abetted by the psychologically draining outcome that comes with every diagnosis. “There are no survivors of ALS,” she warned, citing the absence of success stories that have elevated contemporary causes such as breast cancer awareness. “The caregivers are often so exhausted … it’s hard for them to be the daily advocates after their loved one has passed.”

The appropriator said she continues to fight to add more resources for ALS research to military budgets, and that she confers regularly with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki — “Every time I see Secretary Shinseki, it’s an issue we discuss,” she said — about sparing combat veterans from its ill effects.

She also touches base about it with physician and fellow anti-ALS crusader Sen. Tom Coburn. The Oklahoma Republican’s longstanding chief of staff, Michael Schwartz, lost his battle with the disease in early 2013.

As for Saturday, Murkowski is focused on improving at least one little thing.

“I have not set a fundraising goal. But I am hoping to improve on my cornhole performance from last year,” she shared.

(Courtesy Young Faces of ALS)

(Courtesy Young Faces of ALS)

“It was absolutely pathetic.”

Vote For Your Favorite Congressional Shopping Center 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!

  • I envisioned the “National Mall” differently.
  • Oh Look! There’s even an international house of pandering.
  • I remember when this land was all amber waves of grain.
  • And you thought we wouldn’t be able to find a parking space!
  • Did you hear they’re planning to reopen the Whitewater Pool and Spa store?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on May 18 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.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 3:45 p.m.
Capitol Quip

The Case of the Missing Senate Bean Soup

Politically motivated government shutdowns. Bottom of the barrel public approval ratings. Career-ending sex scandals.

Few things seem to phase congressional staffers anymore — save for the absence of their daily helping of Senate Bean Soup.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A well-seasoned aide sent out a distress call late Tuesday, after making a terribly unsettling discovery.

“A tipster just emailed me asking why the Senate Carryout isn’t serving Senate Bean Soup this week for the first time in the two decades he has been working here. The people want to know,” a colleague alerted your trusty HOH reporter.

Was this the end of an era?

Had an out-of-town catering operation unilaterally decided to shun the social compact that has kept the signature brew — a hearty blend of creamy white beans, smoked ham and savory onion — on the minds (and lips) of D.C. lawmakers for more than a century?


But it was only a temporary cataclysm.

“Yes, we ran out and replaced it temporarily with another soup until we restocked the Senate Bean Soup,” Restaurant Associates spokeswoman Gina Zimmer said of the momentary drought that devastated bean soup devotees.

The dish, which first filled congressional bellies in the early days of the 20th century, has long-since evolved from mere sustenance to rhetorical hallmark.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy invoked it as a punch line in late 2000, during a heated debate of a sweeping bankruptcy overhaul bill.

“This is a no-brainer. We already debated it and voted on it 80-17. We have a hard time getting an 80-17 vote here to support the bean soup in the Senate cafeteria,” the Vermont Democrat razzed naysayers. (Remember simple majority votes? Ahhh, good times.)

Then-Sen. Frank Murkowski heralded the fabled foodstuff on the Senate floor during a tribute to his fellow Alaska Republican, the now-late Ted Stevens, back when Ace of Base still ruled the airwaves. He called it “one of Sen. Stevens’ favorites.”

Will the next generation solons be robbed of this gustatory reference point?

“Have no fear, the soup is here to stay!” Zimmer assured us, noting that her company typically stirs up three gallons of the stuff every single day.

Of course, our heart still skipped a beat when we strode into the Senate Carry Out on Wednesday and spotted only oatmeal and a roasted tomato-spinach offering bubbling in the warming pots. “If it’s not out there, there should be some in the Refectory upstairs,” a carry out staffer clued us in. (She was right.)

Or one could put on a pot of boiling water and follow the incredibly simple recipe on the Senate website.

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

Ex-congressional aide Marc Litchman is coloring in his campaign themes by leveling a new line of attack against cash-strapped incumbent, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.



The one-time district director for ex-Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif. — the same lawmaker Sherman overcame last cycle in a bare-knuckle brawl of a redistricting fight — has plastered a none-too-flattering, Shepard Fairey-like depiction of his opponent all over social media.

Litchman also wove the colorful broadside into a campaign email poking fun at both the Sherman campaign’s debt, as well as a fundraising solicitation Sherman’s campaign sent out that bemoans his non-existent war chest and that “most people I know are too busy to come to fundraising events. If you have the time, we have an event in Washington on May 19.”

Sherman’s most recent FEC filings show him with $563,284.43 in debt and $105,968 in cash on hand. His race against Berman in 2012 was the fourth-most expensive House race, with the candidates spending approximately $6.8 million and outside groups throwing in another $8.5 million.



Looks like the folks in California’s 30th District may be in for another wild ride.

May 13, 2014

Have You Seen This Man? Drew Willison’s Mug Posted

Thanks to this memo, the new SAA should be good to go if he forgets his ID. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Thanks to this memo, the new SAA should be good to go if he forgets his ID. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Less than a week before he became the Senate’s chief law enforcement officer, Sergeant-at-Arms Drew Willison had an ego-bruising incident with Capitol Police.

Willison arrived at work on April 30 without an ID and was told by officers guarding the doors that he would need to get a visitor badge before going into the Capitol.

Being shooed along under standard protocol by the rank and file likely led to what happened next. Around 6:30 that evening, the SAA’s office sent an email to Capitol Police brass with mug shots of Willison and incoming Deputy SAA Michael Stenger, instructing him to “please ensure” that the photos were posted at each division in the department’s Uniformed Services Bureau.

“Obviously, we would like to avoid this in the future,” wrote Ronda Steward, senior program manager for police operations with the Senate SAA.

Deputy Chief Donald A. Rouillier passed the email along with a simple “FYI” note to his team. Soon, the one-page memo explaining the incident was posted around the campus and at police headquarters to help officers recognize their incoming boss.

Willison seemed to take it all in stride. “I forgot my Senate ID at my desk when I ran over to the credit union that day. The officer did not recognize me, so he did the right thing and stopped me. ‎It wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know if the photos (standard practice for new officers of the House and Senate) help or not because I almost always wear my Senate ID,” he said.

Food Lovers Bombard Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed

Sen. Cory Booker was up and at ’em early Tuesday, greeting his social media flock with an invitation to toss a few local shops his way in order to some them much-deserved love during Small Business Week 2014.



The New Jersey Democrat quickly learned that food is what fuels 99.99 percent of ALL discussions online.

Sure, there was an architecture group named here. And a woman-owned outfit was heralded there.



But the majority of folks were determined to spread the word about personal dining gems, a must-hit list that included:

Bagel Buffet, Hackensack: A local bakery/café specializing in sandwiches and such that also donates baked goods to neighboring food pantries (“Sounds delicious,” Booker suggested).

Giorgio’s Pasticcerie, Hoboken: Family-owned bakery specializing in Italian and French pastries.

Blueplate, Mullica Hill: Neighborhood restaurant specializing in Modern American cuisine.

Benny’s, Fair Lawn: Old school luncheonette dealing in home fries, patty melts and their signature “Overstuffed Hot Pastrami Sandwich.”

Bischoff’s Ice Cream, Teaneck: An 80-year-old sweets shop that dabbles in the likes of pumpkin fudge, coffee-cookie crush ice cream (coffee cream with crumbled Oreos) and strawberry ice cream sodas. (“I’ll believe it when I taste it,” Booker asserted)

Judicke’s Bakery, Bayonne: Family-run bakery renowned for cranking out old favorites (baklava, mascarpone mousse cake) as well as trendy treats (“Frozen”-themed cupcakes).

White Manna, Hackensack, and Kosher Nosh, Glenn Rock: The former is a fast-food haven renowned for its onion-packed sliders while the latter is a traditional deli dishing smoked fish platters, triple-decker sandwiches and Jewish comfort foods (chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, chicken-in-a-pot).

DP’s Pub, Garfield: A dive bar with a thing for seafood. (“Their garlic sauce is legendary,” Booker shared)

SeaGrass Restaurant, Ocean Grove: Polished eatery with a penchant for seasonal cooking.

Mount Royal Bagel Company, Marlton: The house that wood-fired, “Montreal-style” bagels (“boiled in honey water before baking,” the website explains) built.

Biggie’s Clam Bar, Hoboken: A nearly 70-year-old raw bar that’s since spun off into other states (Tennessee).

Osteria Procacci, Kingston: Upscale pizza joint specializing in gourmet pies.

Magic Fountain Ice Cream and Grill, Elizabeth: Deep-fried everything plus frozen goodies.

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken: The spot that catapulted reality TV vet- Buddy Valastro to “Cake Boss” fame. (“A favorite of mine, too,” Booker revealed)

Southside Roast, Cranford: Local java source with a few nibbles (soups, sandwiches) to boot.

To wit, the only way out of the restaurant rumble for the food-fatigued solon was to retreat to the relative safety of the chamber:



Looks like Mr. Text Happy bit off more than he could chew this time.

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