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

March 27, 2014

Public Can Propel Capitol Hill Restos to RAMMY Glory

A panel of secret judges may control the fates of the 60-plus contenders vying for the area’s top hospitality prizes, but everyday diners have one month to help crown their favorite brunch spot, fast-food haven and all-around hang out.

The RAMMY Awards traditionally honor the superstars of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s core membership, heralding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing exceptional food, beverage and service. The 2014 winners are scheduled to be revealed June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) during the group’s 32nd annual gala.

As in the past, RAMW is opening up a handful of categories for public debate.

This year, armchair critics have until April 27 to weigh in on:

Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year

  • Art and Soul
  • Blue Duck Tavern
  • Mintwood Place
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Vermilion

 

Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Et Voila!
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Pizzeria Orso
  • Ted’s Bulletin (Barracks Row)

 

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Cashion’s Eat Place
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont)
  • Tune Inn

 

Favorite Fast Bites

 

RAMW is sweetening the pot for brunch lovers.

As part of the inaugural “Best Brunch Passport” contest, anyone who tweets a picture of a meal from any of the nominees between March 29-April 13 to @RAMMYAwards or tags it with #RAMMYSBrunch will be entered to win two tickets to the June 22 gala. Per the promoters, the winner will be announced on April 28.

Public votes can be cast via media partner the Washington City Paper or RAMW.

March 26, 2014

Hill Staff Invited to Kick It at Capital Soccer Classic

Congressional aides used to scoring points in the office can take a shot at proving themselves on the pitch in a few short weeks during the nascent staffer tournament woven into the program for the 2nd Annual Capital Classic.

The multifaceted fundraiser, co-hosted by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Politico, is scheduled to take place from 5-10 p.m. April 8 at RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol St. SE). The charity event benefits Soccer for Success, a futbol-intensive after-school program.

Last year, various members of the Congressional Soccer Caucus faced off in a friendly match with fleet-footed colleagues and professional soccer players. A 6-6 tie at the end of regulation play prompted a sudden-death shoot out, which turned into a narrow victory for House Democrats. Full story

Shirtless Senators Take a Swing at These Capitol Quips!

CapitolQuip-03-24-14

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 don’t think our tough guy act is working.
  • C’mon — shirtless worked for Putin!
  • It feels good for us to be beating up on Russia rather than on each other for a change!
  • The winner takes on Putin in a shirtless staring contest.
  • It’s a good thing we work out with dumbbells.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on March 30 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 3:27 p.m.
Capitol Quip

‘Debt: The Sequel’ Flops in House Financial Services | Madisonville

Madisonville-Logo(185x185)

Republicans thought they had the home-field advantage at the House Financial Services Committee’s “Why Debt Matters” hearing Tuesday. The falling snow seemed to energize them as much as the cause and they came early and in force, outnumbering the Democrats by more than 2-to-1 when Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas gaveled the hearing open.

The Republican juggernaut slowed down from there.  Sequels, even debt sequels, rarely work as well as the original.

Hensarling nevertheless reeled off the dangers, many of which are mighty familiar: an economic and political death spiral, street lights going out, ambulances not running, buildings going vacant and college graduates turning to subsistence farming. College graduates with the skills for subsistence farming seemed like an inviting campfire in the dystopia, but Hensarling didn’t mean it to be.  Not that the chairman was predicting any of this. He was just saying.

Ranking member Maxine Waters of California mentioned the Bush administration’s tax cuts and wars. She didn’t want to dwell on those things. She was just saying. Waters, to her own surprise, got David Cote, the chief executive of Honeywell Inc., to offer immigration reform as a way to spur the economy and contribute revenue to the government.

Cote was appearing for the debt-matters case and raising immigration reform was his own goal for the team. Later, in the spirit of just saying, Cote told the committee, “There’s a phrase we use a lot in the company, which is ‘we are where we are.’ ” Even Republicans must have wondered at this point whether the 1 percent are all they’re cracked up to be. Full story

March 25, 2014

Boehner Reminds Members to Dress Appropriately: ‘You Know Who You Are’ (Video)

Perhaps it was Rep. Jared Polisrecent affinity for bow ties or Janet L. Yellen’s black-on-black threads, but Speaker John A. Boehner is not happy with members’ recent decorum on the House floor.

The Ohio Republican reminded members Tuesday of proper “parliamentary practice” before moving on to the House dress code.

“Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor might be, and you know who you are,” Boehner said. “The chair appreciates the attention of all the members to these matters.”

Although not the first time he has chided members about dressing appropriately, it has been more than six months since Rep. Howard Coble rocked a green madras sport coat, more than eight months since Rep. Mark Sanford’s sweat-soaked T-shirt incident and more than two years since this:

Frank_Shirt

In the meantime, HOH will continue to hone its inner fashion critic.

Nancy Pelosi’s Epic Photobomb

Usually it is reporters who inadvertently appear in photos of members of Congress.

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., turned the tables on Tuesday, photobombing a posed picture of two reporters and Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen at a Women’s History Month event at the Capitol.

Huffington Post reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, left, posted the photo on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, tagging her colleague (and ex-Roll Caller) Jennifer Bendery, who appears on the right.

Pelosi can be seen on the far right.

Pelosi photobomb

“That time Jennifer Bendery and I met Janet Yellen and got photobombed by Nancy Pelosi. Wait what?!” Siddiqui wrote on Facebook.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Siddiqui’s name.

McConnell Steers Clear of Louisville v. Kentucky

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knows better than to take sides when Louisville and Kentucky meet on the basketball court.

McConnell, not one to choose sides in the Louisville-UK fight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“If college basketball is on, there are more eyeballs watching college basketball in the Louisville, Ky., media market than any other media market in the country,” McConnell said, an apparent reference to a recent report on the ratings for basketball games airing on ESPN.

“For the 12th consecutive year, Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 4.5 rating. Greensboro, Kansas City and Raleigh-Durham finished tied for second with a 2.8 rating,” the sports network said in a recent release.

Full story

The Coupe Attempts to Stir Up D.C. Mayoral Contest

The Coupe is seeking to capitalize on the swirling race to take the reins of D.C. by running a straw swizzle stick poll featuring cocktails married to the current crop of mayoral hopefuls.

(Courtesy The Coupe)

(Courtesy The Coupe)

Staff at the Columbia Heights hangout (3415 11th St. NW) were upfront about the fact that the signature beverages, which formally debuted last week, bear no direct relation to the corresponding pols. “They were very randomly assigned,” a Coupe aide told HOH.

Still, the restaurant is hoping to stir up some civic discourse by encouraging patrons to “vote” via drink orders — the official tallying of the boozy bellwethers begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will continue through midnight on April 1 — and welcoming candidates to drop off campaign materials while the contest is on.

Ballot bait includes:

  • Vincent Gray — “French Bikini” (white cane juice rum, coconut cream, lime, hibiscus syrup)
  • Carlos Allen — “Bas Bulles” (armagnac, Benedictine)
  • Muriel Bowser — “Harvard” (cognac, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters)
  • Bruce Majors — “Suzette” (Suze liqueur, brown butter, French gin, Licor 43, dry curacao, lemon)
  • David Catania — “Royal Reviver” (gin, yellow chartreuse, cognac, dry curacao)
  • Jack Evans — “Byrvardier” (rye, byrrh, Aperol)
  • Tommy Wells — “Fraise Royal” (strawberry puree, sparkling wine)
  • Reta Jo Lewis — “Pomme d’Or” (calvados, dry vermouth, yellow chartreuse, thyme)
  • Vincent Orange — “ Kir Royal” ( crème de cassis, sparkling wine)
  • Andy Shallal — “Left Ear” (absinthe, flaming sugar cube)

As our friends in Chi-town might say, “Vote early and often.”

Query Us Behavior: All Sexed Up Edition

Every time over the last month that we have fired up the computer to try and do a little (OK, very little) work, it’s been there, staring us right in the face.

Day in and day out we’ve been haunted by those two little words that have apparently become synonymous with the Heard on the Hill brand: Zimbabwean porn.

That’s right.

All you preverts out there on the other side of the interwebz CANNOT stop searching for any mention of the lascivious activities that got ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.,  booted from south central Africa.

Every day since then, whenever we log in to our trusty back-end site, the online search gods remind — nay, mock! — us that you, our beloved readers, most likely made your way to this treasure trove of triviality with lust in your hearts. We’re no prudes, but this thing has graduated from basic “Where Are They Now?” curiosity to  full-on creepy obsession.

Even if we purged the key driver — Zimbabwean porn — from the equation, there’s still plenty of other threads folks cling to whilst making their way here, including:

  • rep porn (top six over the last 90 days)
  • porn rep (top seven)
  • zimbabwen porn (tough to spellcheck when distracted, huh?)
  • zimbabwe porn (real timesaver, shaving of those two bulky last letters)
  • zimbabweanporn (that you, E. E. Cummings?)
  • mika brzezinski hot (we’ll pass along your warm regards)
MSNBC talk-show host Mika Brzezinski (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

MSNBC talk-show host Mika Brzezinski (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Washington Monument to Re-Open May 12

Workers began dismantling the scaffolding around the monument in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Workers began dismantling the scaffolding around the monument in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Washington Monument sheds its final layer of scaffolding later this week in preparation for the monument’s May 12 re-opening.

Repairing the 150 cracks caused by the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked D.C. in August 2011 shut down the monument to visitors for 32 months. It is now in the final stages of the $15 million restoration.

“We are delighted to be in the homestretch with the repairs to the Washington Monument almost complete, and we look forward to the re-opening on May 12 so we can once again welcome visitors to this iconic monument to our nation’s first President,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement.

Because of the nearly three-year closure, the NPS plans to begin extended operating hours on May 12. The monument will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the end of summer.

The NPS and the Trust for the National Mall will host a re-opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 12, and the first tour will kick off at 1 p.m. Those who want to be a part of the opening day tours should plan to come early. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that day at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street between Madison and Jefferson drives.

Tickets for May 13 and all future dates will be available online, starting on April 16 at 10 a.m.

Jarvis thanked philanthropist David Rubenstein for his $7.5 million donation, made via the trust, which funded half of the repair bill. Rubenstein’s support “sets a high standard for park philanthropy nationwide and is appreciated by every visitor who will learn something about President Washington or simply enjoy the view from the top,” Jarvis said.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:26 p.m.
AwesomeSauce, DC

‘Nekkid’ vs. ‘Naked’: Alan Simpson Explains the Difference

“If you’re naked, you don’t have any clothes on, but if you’re nekkid you don’t have any clothes on but you’re up to something.”

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., explained the distinction in a phone interview with the Des Moines Register Monday.  The 82-year-old reportedly answered the phone and had to leave for a moment because he said he was “stark nekkid.”

Simpson, up to something? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Simpson, up to something? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Simpson spoke with the Des Moines Register ahead of a speech at Simpson College in Iowa Thursday night.

The interview also covered the Republican’s support of same-sex marriage, his critiques of the Iowa caucuses, why he admires Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the importance of the federal debt and why “extremists” caused Republicans to lose control of the Senate.

Simpson retired from the Senate in 1996 after serving three terms and is known for his role in the the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan for deficit reduction.

 

 

Mitch McConnell’s Ad-Maker Mistakes Duke Blue Devils for Kentucky Wildcats

It only lasted a few seconds, but one shot in a Web video released Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign caught the attention of eagle-eyed college hoops fans.

The video highlighted the Kentucky Republican who would become majority leader in a GOP-led Senate, but a video montage of bluegrass greatness included shots of the basketball teams from the University Louisville and (gasp) Duke University. That’s not the NCAA champion blue-and-white team the ad makers had in mind. It should have featured the University of Kentucky Wildcats, of course.

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

Full story

House Hopeful Brent Roske Mulls Congressional Council

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

Brent Roske, the entertainment vet currently running as an independent to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., is brainstorming all kinds of ways to stay ahead of the burgeoning pack of contenders who’ve cropped up around him — including bringing some of them under his wing.

In a campaign spot shot somewhat on the fly March 23 — Roske swears it was done in one continuous take, with no teleprompter — the political neophyte builds upon an earlier plan to tag-team the job with Waxman, opening up potential slots on a “congressional district council” to the handful of fellow candidates he believes are most serious about the job.

Brent Roske for Congress (CA-33) - Commercial from Brent Roske for CA-33 on Vimeo.

Per the plan, a newly elected Roske would seek to convene weekly meetings with challengers he feels are most qualified to help him plug experience gaps, a roster that includes: former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel (fiscal issues), former candidate Bill Bloomfield (fiscal issues), state Sen. Ted Lieu (district concerns), Democratic candidates Barbara Mulvaney and Matt Miller (policy issues) and fellow independent candidate Marianne Williamson (cooperative governing).

“Just to be clear, I haven’t asked any of these people whether or not they’ll serve on this council,” Roske said. “But I bet if I get elected, they’ll show up.”

Roske told HOH his original offer to Waxman still stands, but noted he had not heard from the congressman about teaming up.

In terms of televising his work day on the Hill — part of his plan to deliver an “accessible open Congress” to constituents — Roske noted that he’s not yet worked out all the logistics of bringing a “Truman Show”-like experience to Capitol Hill, but he’s fired up about giving it a go.

“I would continuously be pushing the envelope if I was told ‘no’ in any particular circumstances,” Roske said of his desire to bring the public even deeper into the political process than is currently allowed, adding, “What I have in mind … is a totally different animal than C-SPAN.”

His last plank, a weekly stump speech out on the steps of the Capitol, has a very “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” ring to it. Which, it seems, is exactly what Roske is going for.

“It would be brazenly patriotic,” he said of the rah-rah rhetoric he hopes to shower upon slowly shuffling staffers and wide-eyed tourists at the crack of dawn (7 a.m. Eastern) each Wednesday.

March 24, 2014

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obama’s Ear

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have recruited a number of professional athletes to discuss the benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle at an April 1 luncheon.

But the diet-conscious crusaders really want first lady and “Let’s Move!” founder Michelle Obama to throw her weight behind their mission.

“As you know, obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. The good news is that if every American adds two servings of fruits and vegetables to his or her diet, his or her risk for all-cause mortality will automatically decrease by 10 percent. If we move toward an entirely plant-based diet, we can cut the risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in America—in half,” PCRM Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard alerted FLOTUS in a March 24 letter inviting her to the “Teaming Up 4 Health” preview party scheduled to take place April 1 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in room 201 on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Barnard also invited Education Secretary Arne Duncan and acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak to the healthy eating event.

The luncheon, which will feature complimentary garden vegetable wraps supplied by Whole Foods, gourmet salads (carrot and beet, spring mix medley) and vegan baked goods from Banana Love Mufffins, is open to everyone, though organizers are hoping to cap attendance at 150.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to: jberger@pcrm.org.

As part of the program, Barnard will lead a discussion with U.S. Olympic swimmer Kate Ziegler, triathlete and ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier, taekwondo world champion Daba Modibo Keita and CBS radio host Chuck Carroll.

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The group will also preview the “Teaming up 4 Health” campaign scheduled to go live April 8 — a multimedia effort set to include video testimonials, collectible trading cards and quickie recipes. Full story

GWAR Loses Frontman, World Loses Bloodthirsty Political Equalizer

Entertainer Dave Brockie, the human counterpart to intergalactic swordsman Oderus Urungus, died Sunday, leaving behind a massive void for metal-heads used to having the GWAR singer settle political scores for them.

As first reported by Style Weekly, Brockie, 50, was found dead at his home in Richmond, Va., on Sunday afternoon.

The inexhaustible showman carved out an amazing career for himself as the co-founder and face of GWAR, a heavy metal band as well known for its grotesque costumes and fake blood-soaked skits as it is for its ear-splitting performances.

Whether clad in his horned mask and generously proportioned body suit or not, Brockie was never one to hold his tongue. A few years back, he chewed out the U.S. State Department for presumably dragging its feet in fighting for the return of Lamb of God singer David Randall “Randy” Blythe from imprisonment in the Czech Republic, and waded into New Mexican primary challenges by endorsing then-House hopeful Sean Closson.

Brockie, however, did his best work on stage — mercilessly disposing of political foes, both domestic:

 

President Barack Obama

 

Full story

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