Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 22, 2014

July 3, 2013

Dem Interns Chillax in Longworth

What’s a recess week without a little socializing?

Dem Interns Chillax in Longworth

(Courtesy Office of Zoe Lofgren)

Summer interns in the employ of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., decided to make the most of this week’s downtime, hitting up the boss for permission to host a delegation-wide mixer.

A Lofgren aide said the party, which kicked off around 4 p.m. Tuesday in Lofgren’s congressional digs, included more than 70 interns — the invite was “green-badges only” — from fellow Democratic offices.

Staff supplied chips, salsa and soda (booze was verboten), while the new arrivals supplied the ear candy via their personal music players.

Lofgren spokesman Duncan Neasham praised the new recruits for showing some initiative — “It’s a cool idea these guys had for some esprit de corps,” he said — and seemed to leave the door open to future soirees.

“This is the first time I believe that we’ve held such a mixer,” Neasham told HOH. “But from the turnout, I wouldn’t say it is the last.”

July 2, 2013

GOP Photo Project Off to a Wildly Divergent Start

A handful of House Republicans have committed to chronicling their day-to-day activities this July via the #CongressionalPhotoADay project, a social media experiment that’s already yielding varied results.

Elizabeth Lauten, spokeswoman for participating Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, said the snap-happy plan was hatched in her office a few months back.

“We had tried this back in May but got pretty bogged down with the House Digital Challenge, so [we] decided to try it again,” she told HOH. “I’m hoping this encourages members to stay consistently engaged on Instagram and to continue to push themselves to find creative ways to reach their constituents on platforms we know that they’re using.”

Lauten recycled about 40 percent of the assignments from May for the latest go-around, though she also axed several images — “district dish” and “can’t live without” sounded promising — we’d like to have seen.

Full story

July 1, 2013

Sink Your Teeth Into This Winner | Capitol Quip

Sink Your Teeth Into This Winner | 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 past winners on Pinterest.

Edward Snowden in the Russia House | Capitol Quip

Edward Snowden in the Russia House | Capitol Quip

The saga of Edward Snowden, the former national security contractor on the lam from U.S. authorities for leaking classified information, keeps getting weirder.

After arriving in Russia from Hong Kong with a revoked U.S. passport, Snowden found himself marooned in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport, a man without diplomatic privileges and someone who is most definitely a person of interest to foreign authorities. So what’s on the mind of the Russian intelligence service FSB as Snowden continues his Russian adventure?

Readers of Capitol Quip want to know.

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Friday morning. The winner gets a signed print from illustrator R.J. Matson.

Looking for guidance on what makes a good caption? Check out past winners on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:08 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Original Tortilla Coast Launches MYO Bloody Mary Bar

Original Tortilla Coast Launches MYO Bloody Mary Bar

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Whether Congress folks really needed another reason to drink is debatable.

What is not up for debate is that the flagship Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill is primed and ready to help said constituency wash away their workweek woes with its new Weekend Fun Bar.

The setup is simple enough: A $5 investment gets you a pint glass prepoured with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, plus access to a treasure trove of gourmet garnishes, including:

  • Basics: celery stalks, horseradish sauce, lemons/limes
  • Dry: Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, celery salt, Lawry’s seasoned salt, Morton & Bassett chili powder, bacon salt, pepper mill
  • Wet: A1, Liquid Smoke, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Maggi liquid seasoning, beef broth
  • Stuffed: pimento-, blue cheese-, garlic- or peri peri pepper-packed olives
  • Brined: dill pickles, pickled okra, pickled green beans, pickled asparagus
  • Cured: beef jerky, crisp bacon, Slim Jim beef sticks
  • Fiery: Tortilla Coast Original Habanero, TC Original Jalapeno, Tabasco, Cholula, Tapatio, Original Juan Jalapeno Harissa, Dave’s Ghost Pepper, Slap Ya Mama, Captain Redbeard Savina Habanero, El Yucateca, Double Bastard Double Burn Habanero, Bacon Hot Sauce, Melinda’s Naga Jolokia, Crystal, Sriracha, Texas Pete, Valentino

The make-your-own mayhem is available from the opening bell until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Steve Stockman’s Semi-Automatic Happy Hour

Steve Stockman’s Semi Automatic Happy Hour

(Screenshot)

Working for Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, means not just talking the right-of-Ronald Reagan talk. You’ve got to walk it, too.

Which is why it should come as no surprise to anyone that members of Team Stockman — the man is raffling off a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, after all — recently shared some bonding time at a local firing range. Full story

Austin Scott’s Plea for Photo Requests Not What He Pictured

Nothing like kicking off a recess week with a light, breezy photo project.

Austin Scotts Plea for Photo Requests Not What He Pictured

(Screenshot)

We imagine that’s what Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., had in mind when he tweeted out plans to bring his constituents behind the scenes of a congressional office. The monthlong #CongressionalPhotoADay will offer snapshots of life in the legislative trenches.

Whereas he was no doubt envisioning a low-key slideshow of noncontroversial moments — “fireworks,” “selfie with a staffer,” and “something funny” are all on the to-do list — his Facebook followers seem to have a completely different agenda in mind. Full story

June 28, 2013

‘Insanity’s Shaun T Puts Republicans Through Getaway Day Sweat Ringer

Insanitys Shaun T Puts Republicans Through Getaway Day Sweat Ringer

(Courtesy Shaun Thompson)

“Insanity” creator Shaun Thompson stopped by the Capitol this morning to make sure GOP lawmakers got in one final workout before heading home for the week-long July Fourth recess.

It remains unclear who organized the sweaty bonding session, but P90X enthusiast Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was obviously there. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., partook as well, tweeting out some words of warning — “#gradeAbuttkicking, #can’tmove,” he shared  — after the fact.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:01 p.m.
Celebs, HillSide

Grassley and The History Channel, Back Together Again

Peace is at hand between Sen. Charles E. Grassley and the History Channel.

For the past 18 months, Grassley repeatedly aired anger at the channel for not showing enough historical programming. On Friday afternoon, he got his wish:

Grassley and The History Channel, Back Together Again

A little under an hour later he followed up with another tweet:

Full story

Query Us Behavior: The Jeopardy Set

Won’t you join us on our semi-regular swan dive into the pool of bizarro search terminology that somehow directs web crawlers to our virtual doorstep.

This week’s band of befuddled brothers:

Those who came a-knockin’ with fully formed questions in mind:

  • Who says government doesnt listen to what its citizens have to say (They heard that);
  • What religion is nancy pelosi? (Devout chocafarian);
  • Why barney frank is an idiot (Draw us a picture, maybe);
  • Who picked the gang of eight (destiny);
  • Is that a tarp over the supreme court building (a rainbow one, at that);  and,
  • What is a roll call in the air force (we’re lovers, not fighters)

Till next totally confusing time…

 

June 27, 2013

Barney Frank and the Technicolor Tribute

Retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., might not have had anything to do directly with the equality-advancing decisions the Supreme Court entered into the history books on Wednesday. But he certainly set the tone for the momentous occasion with the unveiling of his larger-than-life official portrait just a few hours before.

Barney Frank and the Technicolor Tribute

(Courtesy Geoff Browning/Baruch Shemtov)

Those present to pay homage to the liberal firebrand included former Sen. (and financial reform co-author) Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., as well as Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., John D. Dingell, D-Mich., Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

The painting includes a host of imagery related to Frank’s legislative legacy and his passion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, including a rainbow flag as well as his custom wedding band. (The longest-serving openly gay lawmaker married his partner, Jim Ready, in 2012.)

Work-related flourishes range from stacks of crumpled newspapers (Frank was a voracious reader) to copies of the banking regs that now carry his name.

Full story

LGBT Documentary Lands at CVC Amid Court Decisions

On the eve of the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in the United States, members of Congress made a sparse showing at Capitol Visitor Center screening of “Born This Way,” a new documentary on the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Cameroon whose title is a direct reference to Lady Gaga’s pro-LGBT anthem.

The film follows a chapter in the lives of Cedric and Gertrude, Cameroonians who claim in the film to have faced violence in the streets and persecution under the law for being homosexual in their home country. During a time when LGBT rights are at the forefront of politics in Washington, directors Sean Kadlec and Deb Tullmann brought their film to the Capitol Visitor Center without a legislative goal in mind, Kadlec said.

“[We’re] trying to get people to look a little bit outside of the United States at these issues and understand what it’s like for the people who are living there,” he continued. Full story

Fantasy Softball Winner Did His Homework (UPDATED)

Updated 2:08 p.m. | And the winner of Roll Call’s first Fantasy Softball Challenge is … William Cusey, who put up 430 points with a fantasy team selected from the two rosters of last night’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game, pitting members of Congress against members of the press.

He will receive a $150 gift certificate to the 201 Bar on Capitol Hill.

Cusey’s winning lineup consisted of:

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
  • Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
  • Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala.
  • Leigh Ann Caldwell, freelance reporter
  • Emmarie Huetteman, New York Times
  • Kasie Hunt, NBC
  • Abby Livingston, Roll Call
  • Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

Entrants scored points based on the stats of their chosen players in last night’s game: Singles = 10 points each, doubles = 20, triples = 30, home runs = 40, walks = 10, runs = 10 and RBIs = 10.

Cusey, a former staffer at House Energy and Commerce Committee who now works for the legislative affairs office of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, did his homework before submitting his entry.

“I looked at the stats from last year’s game to help me formulate my roster,” he said in an email. “So, I knew ‘my team’ had a good shot at attaining the most points.”

Cusey said he enjoyed being part of a good cause.

“Last night’s … game gave fans of politics a chance to see many of DC’s political icons as themselves, away from the numerous political battles raging on the Hill,” he said. “The intimate atmosphere, the healthy competition between the members and the press, allowed everyone to forget — at least for a couple of hours — about all of the difficult policy decisions left to be made.

“It was a wonderfully enjoyable experience that also raised money for a very good cause. I look forward to next year’s game!” he said.

The other top fantasy scorers include a number of the game’s players(*), but as far as we know, there’s no Pete Rose rule in this league.

2. Ashley Southall

3.(tie) Tamara Keith (NPR)*

3.(tie) Jennifer Bendery (Huffington Post)*

5.(tie) Caroline Horn (CBS)*

5.(tie) Shawna Thomas

7.(tie) B. Knowlton

7.(tie) Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times)*

9.(tie) Marge Vindaloo

9.(tie) Elise Foley (HuffPost)*

Nice going all.

June 26, 2013

Bad News Babes Win Softball Title for Second Consecutive Year

The female members of the press won a seesaw battle of softball brawn Wednesday night at the Fifth Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, defeating female members of Congress 11-8 to take home the coveted softball trophy for the second consecutive year.

The contest was close through many of the game’s seven innings, flipping leads several times between the member team and the press, who call themselves the Bad News Babes. But in the top of the sixth, the Bad News Babes opened up a lead that the members could not quite overcome.

Bad News Babes Win Softball Title for Second Consecutive Year

The game raised $115,000 for breast cancer charity. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call.)

Full story

Chew On These Shark-Inspired Captions | Capitol Quip

Chew On These Shark Inspired Captions | 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. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • I think they’ve all crossed the red line.
  • I’m on top of the situation.
  • I think we’re going to need a bigger moat!
  • “Arab Spring” sounded SO much nicer than “Shark Week.”
  • Fins to the left, fins to the right …

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog July 1 and in the next day’s 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 5:39 p.m.
Capitol Quip

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