Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 23, 2015

March 12, 2014

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

Professional mouthpieces from both sides of the aisle are priming the pumps for recess via a “Bi-Party-San Communications Mixer.”

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

(Courtesy DCNet)

The media-related happy hour is scheduled to take place Thursday at Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE) from 6 to 8 p.m. (That won’t crimp your style, will it, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas?)

The event, which is being sponsored by iConstituent and Broadnet, is designed to welcome new and returning members of the Democratic Communicators Network and Republican Communications Association.

According to DCNet board chair Hannah Kim, first-timers joining the respective advisory panels include:

  • Kezmiché “Kim” Atterbury, communications director for Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
  • Brett Morrow, communications director for Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.
  • Alex Nguyen, communications director for Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.
  • Rob Runyan, press secretary for Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.
  • Michael Marinaccio, digital coordinator for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Ben Miller, communications director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
  • Michael Rekola, deputy press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
  • Trevor Foughty, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind.

Those who swing by to congratulate the ascending messengers will be privy to two free drink tickets apiece and complimentary Tex-Mex-style appetizers.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently listed the positions panelists hold within their respective networking groups instead of their posts on Capitol Hill.

BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

BLT Steak plans to reward those who stick around town next week with a specially designed “recess menu” featuring nearly a dozen gourmet snacks.

The power lunching haven’s (1625 I St. NW) “10 Till 10” promotion will be available March 17 through March 21, 5-10 p.m. each evening at the main bar.

A restaurant spokeswoman said Executive Chef Jeremy Shelton experimented with the concept in February and has since decided to roll out seasonally inspired nibbles each time lawmakers are scheduled to high-tail it home.

Featured items ($10 each) for this month include:

  • Sweet & Sour Sweetbreads
BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

(Courtesy BLT Steak)

  • House-cured American Wagyu bresaola with toasted brioche bun and frisee
  • Artisanal cheese plate
  • Creamy polenta with spring pea ragout
  • Bacalao croquets paired with spicy tomato aioli
  • Yellowtail crudo accompanied by white balsamic, avocado and fennel
  • Bone marrow spring roll with  gorgonzola fonduta and candied walnuts
  • Head cheese escorted by violet mostarda and soft-boiled egg
BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

(Courtesy BLT Steak)

  • A “Corned Beef & Cabbage” creation forged from corned beef sausage, pickled baby Brussels sprouts and Dijon cream
  • Grilled baby octopus tied together by feta, olives and oregano

Shelton said he is particularly fond of the corned beef  (“It’s very fitting for St. Patrick’s Day,” he opined) and multi-layered polenta (“Works very well with the fresh flavors of English peas and chanterelles with parsley and mint,” he said), but really hopes folks give the head cheese a whirl.

“Maybe it’s a chef thing, but we all love it. I just haven’t been able to get it to catch on with the clientele,” Shelton said of the offal challenge.

No word on what he’s got in mind for April. But if history is any guide — during February’s soft launch he dished out beef tartar with house-made fries, Parmesan-crusted bone marrow with green tomato mostarda, polenta with pork ragu, escargot with garlic cream, roasted vegetables accompanied by date butter, sheep’s milk ricotta and hazelnuts, lobster fritters with lemon aioli, grilled sweetbreads married to marinated mushrooms, and local oysters — those left behind in the future might eat better than their district-bound counterparts.

March 11, 2014

Celebrities Running Out of Time to File for Congress

The clock is ticking for any celebrity considering a run for the open-seat race to represent Beverly Hills in Congress.

At 5 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, filing will close in the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

Waxman’s 33rd District covers Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, parts of West Hollywood and Malibu. Early on, we had high hopes that at least one fun celebrity would jump into the mix. But in the waning hours of the filing period, this scenario has not come to pass.

Despite our very best efforts to cajole/Twitter troll various celebrities, not one star opted for a run. Full story

Barack Obama’s Turn on ‘Between Two Ferns’

With the March 31 deadline looming to shepherd as many of the uninsured as possible underneath the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama has turned to Hollywood for a little help, appearing on Funny or Die’s parody talker, “Between Two Ferns.”

During the deliberately screwy program, host Zach Galifianakis typically walks guests through a minefield of insane questions and uncomfortable pauses.

POTUS fared better than most, firing back at Galifianakis with scripted comebacks skewering the comedian’s film career and personal hygiene. Joke writers apparently had plenty of time to prepare; The New York Times reported that Team BTF approached the White House about arranging the surreal sit-down last summer.

The preparation was wasted on Republicans, who were, understandably, not terribly amused.

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas couldn’t help but challenge the president’s priorities. (Benghazi’s still at the top of his list.)

 

 

Full story

Restaurant Associates Recruits Raw Foodie for Lunch Demo

Postmodern Foods Founder and CEO Denise Hicks will prepare eco-friendly dishes and drinks in the Longworth cafeteria Wednesday as part of a special arrangement worked out with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

 

 

The green living demo is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to Restaurant Associates spokeswoman Gina Zimmer, Hicks is expected to share tastes of her Raw Greens Juice, forged from celery, cucumber, apples, kale, spinach, parsley and lemon (among other things),  Cinnamon’y Cashew Milk and Massaged Kale Salad, featuring the titular greens, onion, assorted seeds (pumpkin, fennel), apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

“The guest chef thing was something we and Restaurant Associates agreed would be a good way to offer different food options,” CVSA staffer Adam Sarvana said of the pro-plant-based eating pop-up. “They deserve all the credit for choosing Denise to do it.”

Hicks is expected back on the Hill on March 28; that’s when she’ll join Miss DC 2013 Bindhu Pamarthi as co-headliner at the next CVSA event.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:01 a.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

March 10, 2014

Aaron Schock’s New Spox Is Ready to Rock

Benjamin Cole, a former pitchman for energy policy advocacy groups, has landed on Capitol Hill and is already burning up the communication circuits.

The newly minted spokesman for Illinois Republican Aaron Schock spent the past several years serving as the communications director for the American Energy Alliance, which is the mouthpiece for the think tank-y Institute for Energy Research.

Trouble is, Cole used the emails he had harvested at AEA to help introduce himself around Congress — which means his missive turned up in the inboxes of many unsuspecting (and thoroughly uninterested) Democratic press shops.

Aaron Schock’s New Spox Is Ready to Rock

(Screenshot)

Along with sharing his title and contact info, Cole assured everyone the he had “hit the ground running,” quickly working in a plug for the Schock sponsored, anti-Affordable Care Act bill poised for a floor vote this week. “I did not send to every Cap Hill Office. Only to a pre-existing contacts list that I have maintained, somewhat effectively, through the years,” Cole told HOH of the note he fired off.

Our tipster dubbed the self-congratulatory blast “embarrassing.”

“This guy was a flack for the dubiously named Institute for Energy Research … who used to blast all of our email boxes with similarly breathless triumphs,” the House staffer suggested.

Although initially annoyed, the Democratic operative quickly reconsidered and left the door open to getting fed more intel from uber-chatty counterparts on the other side of the aisle. “If House Rs want to add House Ds onto their staff listserves, it might help everyone make better sense of their rudderless leadership here,” our source quipped.

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

This dinosaur, seen wandering the Capitol in a 2007, is not the one from the Gridiron Dinner, where no photos are allowed. But you get the idea. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ted Cruz apparently doesn’t have a problem with being openly mocked. Even when he’s being called a “Flintstone Cowboy” by reporters dressed up like the cartoon characters — with a full-sized pink Dino the Dinosaur — presenting the Texas Republican as straight out of the Stone Age.

Cruz, the Republican keynote speaker for the exclusive, white-tie Gridiron Dinner on March 8, laughed heartily from the head table as the grizzled journalists danced around on stage to an original tune parodying the Glen Campbell ballad “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Full story

David Ellis, Benton Ives Ascend to New Spots at CQ Roll Call

David Ellis, Benton Ives Ascend to New Spots at CQ Roll Call

Benton Ives takes over the helm of CQ Weekly magazine.

For those of you who follow the ins and outs of journalism news, some new faces are taking some top slots at CQ Roll Call.

David Ellis, a longtime Bloomberg top editor, is coming to NoMa as vice president of news.

Benton Ives, expert on all things finance and economics at CQ, is taking the helm of CQ Weekly, the glossy, wonkish magazine that appears on Capitol Hill desks every Monday morning.

Both will report to David Rapp, chief content officer at CQ Roll Call.

 

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:45 p.m.
media

March 9, 2014

Where’s the Congressional Mute Button? | Capitol Quip

 Wheres the Congressional Mute Button? | Capitol Quip

Tensions boiled over last week when House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., cut of the microphone of ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., before Cummings could speak at a panel hearing. Harsh words followed, along with rancor on the floor and, eventually, a kinda-sorta apology predicated on the words “hissy fit.” 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

Spelling Retirement Any Way They Can | Capitol Quip

Spelling Retirement Any Way They Can | 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.

March 7, 2014

Democrats Roast Ann Richards’ Granddaughter, Set Political Bar High

Democratic operatives all over town had a ball Friday afternoon ribbing their colleague, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams, after the 27-year-old was declared the future of the Texas Democratic Party on cable news.

It all started Friday morning, when MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” featured a segment on political up-and-comers in the Lone Star State.

Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater prognosticated that Adams will likely be a future occupant of the Texas governor’s mansion, her late grandmother Ann Richards’ former crib.

“This is the one that’s just going to cause waves today,” Slater foreshadowed. “She is extraordinary. She is bright.”

Full story

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — “Hi! Would you like an American-made keychain?” an aide with the Alliance for American Manufacturing asks while dangling a shiny, red- white- and blue-lettered bottle opener to the CPAC faithful.

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The group, which religiously tracks the downward spiral of domestic hiring — 6.1 million jobs lost from 2001-2009, per their estimates — practices what it preaches, proudly distributing U.S.-born trinkets to the grabby stream of passersby.

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But here, amidst this celebration of the party of Ronald Reagan, the AAM is one of the few keeping the faith.

HOH spotted a handful of other American-made keepsakes (a water bottle here, a patriotic pen there) up for grabs at the various booths set up in the “CPAC Hub.” But the brunt of the giveaways being greedily stuffed into near-bulging gift bags appeared to have traveled much further than those piled into ballrooms bemoaning the fate of American exceptionalism.

Prominent outsourcers include:

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:05 p.m.
ScandalFaced, Whuck

Police Conclude Investigation Into Capitol Car Crash (Updated)

Police Conclude Investigation Into Capitol Car Crash (Updated)

(Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police have cleared the scene of a fatal single-car crash that propelled a silver SUV into a tree south of the Capitol early Friday morning.

No details have been released on what may have caused the high-speed collision as the driver headed northbound on South Capitol Street. The car hit a large, decorative flower pot — ironically designed to deter crashes and traffic — with such force that the vehicle was flung airborne, ripping branches nearly 30 feet above the ground from two nearby trees.

Updated 6:42 p.m.

First responders arriving on the scene around 3 a.m. found the silver SUV vertically wrapped around a tree, about 50 feet from the cracked pot. The force of the crash catapulted pieces of the car into the intersection with D Street Southeast. The Metropolitan Police Department identified the driver, who died in the accident, as 19-year-old Hunter B. Harries of McLean, Va. A toxicology report is “pending autopsy,” said MPD spokesman Hugh Carew.

Full story

McHenry Reaches for the Stars, Settles for Football and NASCAR | Madisonville

When your second-grader’s class stages “Macbeth” at parents’ night, you’re torn between admiring the effort of the kids and worrying that the teacher is unhinged.

McHenry Reaches for the Stars, Settles for Football and NASCAR | MadisonvilleSo it was when Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, the North Carolina Republican, chaired a hearing called “The Growth of Financial Regulation and Its Impact on International Competitiveness.” Vanity prevailed over good judgment when the Oversight and Investigations unit of the House Financial Services Committee took this up Wednesday.

Even the big-thinking McHenry must have noticed that the performance was falling short of the ambition.

Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver II, for example, decided the best way to explain financial regulation and international competition was to talk about his days playing football. Cleaver said he lived for the chance to “put your helmet into” a running back or receiver. Those days are gone.  “It’s been outlawed,” he said. “You can’t even trip anymore. You pamper the quarterback.”

Full story

Congress Reveres Guest Prayer Leaders

Maintaining that whole separation of church and state split is a tightrope act on any given day of the year.

Congress Reveres Guest Prayer Leaders

(Courtesy Scott Peters)

Church has, as of late, taken the lead on Capitol Hill thanks to the contributions of high-profile, and intimately connected, spiritual leaders.

Last week, Rep. Scott Peters experienced the rare privilege of having his father, retired pastor and civil rights activist Harvey Peters, usher in the legislative day with a prayer.

“Few members of Congress get the chance to see a parent speak in the House chamber, and I am truly thankful that I was able to share this moment with him, and with my Mom, RuthAnn, who watched from the gallery,” the California Democrat shared on the House floor. “His work instilled in me and my three sisters the values of courage and equality that I’ve tried to bring to my own service.”

An aide to the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the chaplain of the House of Representatives, told HOH that the chaplain’s office has limited data regarding immediate family members who have presided over the morning prayer, but confirmed that Peters is in a fairly exclusive group.

Rep. Bruce Braley is in the club.

The Iowa Democrat got to see his brother, Rev. Brad Braley, prepare Congress for the work ahead during the of summer 2010. Full story

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