Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 4, 2015

January 10, 2014

Overheard: Minnesota Rockets Past Mars in Cold Wars

“You talked about the severe cold. I’m aware of this since people keep citing the number that northern Minnesota was colder than Mars for a period of time last week.”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar steers the latest jobs report discussion by the Joint Economic Committee back to the polar vortex’s staggeringly chilling effect on her home state.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:11 p.m.
Nationwide, Sens

Capitol Hill Fox: Monuments Fan

We know money’s tight over at the U.S. National Park Service (thanks, sequester!), so HOH has taken the liberty of penning the following public service announcement free of charge:

Dear tourists,

If, as you’re making your way around all the iconic D.C. attractions, you happen to spot a whiskered face staring back at you from the surrounding foliage, don’t be alarmed.

It’s probably just Capitol Hill Fox out stretching its legs.

P.S. It doesn’t appear to be particularly camera shy, so snap away.

According to every person who’s bumped into the increasingly well-traveled and amazingly well-behaved creature, the Capitol Hill Fox pays little mind to the two-legged gawkers in its path.

View Capitol Hill fox sightings in a larger map

The humans who spy the critter, on the other hand, are typically entranced.

Particularly youngsters.

Former Hill staffer Matthew Bisbee credited the CHF with pretty much making his 5-year-old son’s day during an otherwise exhausting lap around D.C. last summer. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:05 p.m.
Critters, DC, Kiddies, Staffers

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Jan. 6 (Video)

Congressional Hits and Misses starts off the new year with a bang, mixing together Greg Maddux, Dennis Rodman, New Jersey bridges and the United Nations “global warming party.”

January 9, 2014

Gabby Giffords Chatty in Sky Dive (Video)

To mark the third anniversary of the Arizona shooting in which she was nearly fatally wounded, ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took to the friendly skies over her home state to jump out of a functional aircraft. Here’s footage of the sky dive:

Geronimo! (Whose stomping grounds in the Grand Canyon State aren’t too far away from Giffords’ native Tucson, Ariz.)

Now That’s a Traffic Jam: Bullock Needles Christie About Bridgegate

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock offered embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a sneak peek at what it would take to bring commuters to a standstill in the Treasure State.

Christie has faced intense scrutiny since news broke that several of his aides purportedly orchestrated major traffic problems for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., last fall in a suspected act of political retaliation.

Harry Reid Professes His Love for Greg Maddux (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor Wednesday to congratulate fellow Nevadan and eighth-winningest pitcher in Major League Baseball history, Greg Maddux, for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame — and for being such a “nice man.”

During the tribute, Reid recalled Maddux’s loyalty and humor in a fitting anecdote from his last re-election race, when the Democratic leader phoned the jock on the golf course to ask him to be a “Republican for Reid.”  After the “Mad Dog” confirmed he’d go to bat for the senator, Reid turned the subject over to the pro’s golf game. “You gonna break 80 today?” he asked.

Maddux’s answer? “If you leave me alone, I can break 70.”



January 8, 2014

A Meditation on the Quiet Time Caucus

A Meditation on the Quiet Time Caucus

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When last we checked in with Rep. Tim Ryan, the contemplative pol was still laying the groundwork for a stress relief initiative he hoped fellow lawmakers and staffers would rally around.

A year after floating his mindfulness plan, the Ohio Democrat can now point to semi-regular staff meetings and a weekly, members-only powwow as proof that he’s not the only one in Congress desperate to shut out all the mind-numbing noise reverberating throughout the Capitol. Full story

Five Resolutions for the New Year | Capitol Quip

Five Resolutions for the New Year | 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:

  • Let’s focus on resolutions we can keep, like continuous partisan rancor and paralyzing dysfunction.
  • You know, they’re about to take this scaffolding for the Capitol Dome renovation project.
  • At least our track record is better than WMATA’s.
  • I transferred from the Department of Roads Paved With Good Intentions.
  • What? Return to regular order?? I forgot what that looks like!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Jan. 12 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 Jason Dick Posted at 3:50 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Gabby Giffords Flies High on Tragic Anniversary

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords spent Wednesday morning soaring through the clouds above the Grand Canyon State to mark the third anniversary of her survival of a horrific shooting.

Jared Lee Loughner shot the Arizona Democrat in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, at a Congress on Your Corner gathering in suburban Tucson, Ariz.

The still-recovering Giffords elected to mark the harrowing occasion Wednesday by plummeting from a perfectly good airplane while strapped to a close friend.

Gabby Giffords Flies High on Tragic Anniversary

Gabrielle Giffords)" src="" width="445" height="249" /> (Courtesy Gabrielle Giffords)

“I have the opportunity to do something I love: skydiving with my friend, former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch,” she alerted the Twitterverse before heading out to the airfield.

Per her social media posts, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. dropped Giffords a line before takeoff. Full story

Keeping Up With the Capitol Hill Fox

And the hits keep coming.

Keeping Up With the Capitol Hill Fox

(Courtesy Chris Burger)

Chris Burger, who left D.C. for Nashville, Tenn., not too long ago, told HOH he’s been enjoying our ongoing coverage of the photogenic phenomenon that is the Capitol Hill Fox. And — who’d believe it! — he, too, recently had a run-in with the four-legged bandit during a holiday visit to the District.

“We ran into the red fox at the FDR Memorial,” Burger shared. “He just ran across the memorial into grass and just kept going — he seemed to just be enjoying the cold day.”

Our furry friend appears to have this whole town wired: Full story

January 7, 2014

Alan Grayson Facing a Leaner 2014

Rep. Alan Grayson faces a new year fraught with financial uncertainty, a one-two punch predicated on a bogus stock loan plan that sapped tens of millions of dollars from his expansive portfolio, as well as a newly publicized divorce.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Lolita Grayson formally filed for divorce from her husband — the two had already separated — on Monday, petitioning the state for possession of the family home, “equitable distribution” of the family nest egg, alimony and child support.

Those assets helped the Florida Democrat land smack dab in the middle of our latest 50 Richest list; his roughly $18 million in stocks, $5 million-plus in cash and collection of luxury homes (two in Florida, one in Virginia and another in West Virginia) earned him the No. 21 spot this time around.

But it’s been a bumpy ride.

As reported by The Washington Post, the lawmaker has repeatedly been burned by bad investments, including a decadelong fleecing that relieved him of $18 million.

With divorce proceedings now officially under way, he might also soon have to say goodbye to the $1 million home he has in Orlando. He’ll likely be on the hook for living expenses for his four underage children. And he can thank Florida Gov. Rick Scott for keeping the controversial “permanent alimony” provision on the books until now.

The Capitol Hill Fox Gets Around

It seems that the stray red fox — which shall go nameless for the time being (and recently made itself known to staffers) —  is not afraid to mingle with the little people.

The Capitol Hill Fox Gets Around

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Another Hill aide snapped this pic of the auburn critter circulating with tourists right outside the Capitol. Again, nothing life-threatening to report: just a furry-footed visitor out for a leisurely stroll.

Should our pointy-eared pal ever get outta line, may we suggest putting Sen. Charles E. Grassley on the case?

The Iowa Republican is not only a seasoned farmer, he’s also an avid runner.

By the way, how about we name our new Capitol Hill denizen? Send us suggestions in the comments section below. And keep sending in tips/photos/video of any sightings!

Tucson Picks Site for Jan. 8 Shootings Memorial

Wednesday marks the third anniversary of the shooting in Arizona that killed six and injured 13, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and now-Rep. Ron Barber. To commemorate the event, Tucson officials have announced the location for the memorial to the day and its aftermath.

On Monday, Barber, other survivors, victims’ families, members of the January 8 Memorial Foundation and others gathered at the old Pima County Courthouse in Tucson, Ariz., to announce that the memorial would be sited at the landmark location.

“This memorial will remind the world of what happened here,” Barber said, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “But more importantly … what happened afterwards: the kindness, the caring and love that came forward. And you will see that when you look at the archives, it represents Tucson at it’s [sic] very, very best.”

Tucson Picks Site for Jan. 8 Shootings Memorial

The Tucson community rallied around Giffords and other victims. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the shootings at Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event, which left her critically injured and eventually led to her retirement from Congress, the Tucson community rallied around her and the other victims. At a tribute at the University of Arizona’s McKale Center where President Barack Obama spoke, many out-of-town media members were shocked to witness a celebratory atmosphere, with crowds cheering on the trauma surgeons who tended to the victims, as well as people like Daniel Hernandez, who administered first aid to Giffords.

It was no somber gathering. For Tucson, a quirky city whose “Old Pueblo” roots stretch back more than a millennium, it was par for the course — a way to grieve unique to its own carefree identity. That essence is apparently what the memorial planners, who are aiming to complete the process in two to three years, have in mind.

The foundation has been collecting and archiving the memorial tribute material that sprung from the event, be it stuffed animals, get-well cards or photos, as well as those that have since arrived on anniversaries and the like.

The shooting resonated on Capitol Hill not just because of the injuries to Giffords and her staffer-turned-successor Barber. Among the dead were Giffords’ community outreach director, Gabriel Zimmerman. Last year, Congress named a Capitol Visitor Center conference room in honor of Zimmerman.

Tucson Picks Site for Jan. 8 Shootings Memorial

This tribute to the dead was at the Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson after the shootings. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

January 6, 2014

Mark Pocan Plays Mr. Wizard in Frigid Wisconsin

Frigid conditions got you down?

Not Rep. Mark Pocan.

After one of the Wisconsin Democrat’s aides saw Milwaukee Journal Sentinel multimedia guru Mike De Sisti investigating what happens to boiling water suddenly exposed to below freezing temperatures:

Pocan decided to conduct a copycat experiment on the streets of Madison:

The conclusion: Flinging stuff outside is crazy fun, whether you can feel your fingers or not.

Pat Toomey Portends Ellen Page’s Chilling Demise

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey has a message for the plucky, pint-sized star of 2007’s teen pregnancy dramedy: bundle up.

While everyone else in Washington, D.C., continues to obsess about the polar vortex poised to chap lips (and possibly worse) all over town, the Pennsylvania Republican broke the news that Ellen Page’s core temperature has already plummeted from our life-sustaining 98-degree range into organ-stopping territory.

Pat Toomey Portends Ellen Page’s Chilling Demise


Or could it be that he’s confusing the name of the award-winning movie with the capital of Alaska — Juneau?

Toomey has since amended his tweet to properly reflect the geographic location in question. Full story

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