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

January 2, 2014

Capitol Tourists Jump for Joy

Capitol Tourists Jump for Joy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ah, tourists. Sometimes they really are the lifeblood of the city. With Congress still in recess and many staffers using vacation time until things heat back up on Jan. 6, these visitors, spotted jumping for a photo on the East Front, injected a little life into an otherwise quiet Capitol campus on Thursday.

December 31, 2013

HOH Year in Review: It Takes a Village Edition

Keeping tabs on all the shenanigans our elected officials get into is what this column is all about. And, as you might have noticed, there’s more than enough ridiculousness to go around.

My former partner, Neda Semnani, was a wiz at ferreting out amazing tidbits about blundering pols and sex-starved government workers. And I manage to stumble into chuckle-worthy happenings every once in a while.

But, as we all learned from 80’s screwball comedies, the name of the game is teamwork.

Which is why I would like to lavish praise on all my hardworking CQRC colleagues for always keeping their radars up for bizarre political behavior.

Our entire newsroom helps make this little column shine.

Here’s just a sample of some of the whip-smart reporting I most enjoyed reading this year: Full story

HOH Year in Review: Ode to Semnani Edition

As die-hard HOH fans are undoubtedly aware, this institution underwent a paradigm shift earlier this year when my co-columnist and partner, Neda Semnani, took her leave in order to pursue her dream of becoming a full-fledged author.

HOH Year in Review: Ode to Semnani Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The indomitable yin to my sophomoric yang, Semnani approached each looming deadline with verve and aplomb.

Armed with incisive wit, a healthy amount of skepticism and a burning desire to crawl inside the headspaces of those who make their living from supposedly exercising the will of the vox populi, Semnani fearlessly probed those in power — and their often tragicomic associates — until she got to the heart of what was really going on.

I miss her every day.

Luckily, I’ve got these gems to remind me of how lucky I was to have worked alongside a true congressional junkie. Full story

December 27, 2013

Rand Paul Boo-Hoos the Lack of Burgoo

Dry those tears, Sen. Rand Paul.

For while you may not have used the regular channels fellow Hill denizens Dave Gustafson, Sara Bondioli or Shana Teehan utilized to have me hunt me down their favorite foodstuffs, this dining sleuth picked up on your online bellyaching about the dearth of burgoo stew in Congress all the same.



The Kentucky Republican made note of the hole in his diet earlier this week whilst channeling his inner Frank Costanza.

Rand Paul Boo Hoos the Lack of Burgoo

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A huntsman’s feast, not unlike Virginia’s own Brunswick stew, burgoo is based upon slow-cooking your choice of meat — beef, chicken or pork will do in a pinch; strict traditionalists might clamor for gamier fare (squirrel, mutton) — with a full complement of fresh vegetables. A splash of bourbon hitches a ride as well.

The wintry dish was typically assembled by reducing said ingredients in an iron kettle over a roaring flame — all of which sounds quite heavenly given that I can feel a seasonal chill numbing my fingertips even as I tap away on this keyboard. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:05 a.m.
DC, Food, HillSide, Restos, Sens

December 25, 2013

2013’s Most Interesting Financial Disclosures

The annual congressional financial disclosure forms come in various sizes (from three pages to hundreds), styles (some are hand-written, others are farmed-out to third party accountants) and submissions (from on-time to extensions and even, possibly, amendments) with listed assets varying from college savings plans  to professional sports teams.

As another year comes to an end, here is a look back at some of the most notable items gleaned from this year’s forms, which report assets from the 2012 calendar year.

Full story

December 24, 2013

Team Lujan Grisham Looks Ready to Eat

Team Lujan Grisham Looks Ready to Eat


How are your Christmas Eve dinner plans coming along?

December 22, 2013

Merry Capitol Quip Christmas

Merry Capitol Quip Christmas

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Capitol Quip! No caption contest this week. Enjoy the season!

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Take It or Leave It | Capitol Quip

Take It or Leave It | 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.

December 20, 2013

Grin and Bear and Long-Term Care | Madisonville

Grin and Bear and Long Term Care | Madisonville  “Continuing the conversation” was the subtitle of the Senate Aging Committee’s hearing Wednesday on the future of long-term-care policy.  Continuing the conversation is a formulation with a lovely gentleness, an effort to reassure, to conjure up endless sunshine and an elderly couple taking long walks under autumn leaves surrounded by several generations of handsome, smiling descendants.

The easy-going feeling of “continuing the conversation” is also in hopeless contradiction to the grim reality.  The witnesses flood the panel with detail, but it mostly added up to an insolvable problem. Americans aren’t arranging for care in old age. Congress isn’t going to spend the money to do it for them. And the ratio between those needing care and those available to provide it is getting worse. At least nobody mentioned death panels. Full story

Yule and YOLO: The 2013 Dingell Jingle

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., released his annual “Dingell Jingle,” a lyrical gift rife with potshots, holiday jeer and even the acronym “YOLO.”

Yule and YOLO: The 2013 Dingell Jingle

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Parodying the poem “A visit from St. Nicholas,” the longest serving member of Congress penned a rhyming condemnation of the 2013 government shutdown spanning a full eight stanzas.

Here’s one poetic nugget of how the Dean felt about this year: “And so rhetoric flared, rich with words set to rile them/ As the inmates controlled the Congressional asylum.”

Many thanks, congressman.

Here’s the jingle in full: Full story

Doug Heye’s Handsome Convention

Do we spy a dapper caucus in the making?

Doug Heye’s Handsome Convention

(Courtesy Doug Heye)

House GOP leadership aide Doug Heye has unveiled his latest holiday card, an annual tradition that includes striking a pose along all manner of celebrities. This time around, he’s buddying up to Rob Lowe, the “West Wing” alumnus who most recently shook up Washington with his portrayal of President John F. Kennedy in “Killing Kennedy.”

Heye’s entry into the escalating greeting card wars comes just days after Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., loosed her Disney-themed correspondence on a quarter-million fans.

Rohrabacher Comes Clean About Messy Housing Dispute

Rohrabacher Comes Clean About Messy Housing Dispute

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is not only confident he will be vindicated in an ongoing legal tussle — a rather nasty affair in which a former landlord claims that the California Republican and his family caused tens of thousands of dollars in property damage — he’s fairly certain he brought it on himself by serving in the public eye.

“If I wasn’t a member of Congress, no one would pay attention to this at all,” he said of the dirty laundry being aired by Robert Polyniak regarding a home he rented to the Rohrabachers a few years back. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Dec. 16 (Video)

In Roll Call’s final installment of Congressional Hits and Misses before the new year, we are reminded senators can, in fact, read, translate and philosophize.

December 19, 2013

Harry Reid Warms to Rand Paul

Call it a Christmas miracle.

Harry Reid Warms to Rand Paul

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Following months where they have openly and often vehemently clashed on everything from the administration’s divisive drone program to the fate of Federal Reserve Board nominee Janet L. Yellen, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed Thursday that he’s actually quite fond of conservative firebrand Rand Paul.

“I met in the last few days with Rand Paul, spent a lot of time with him, and I have grown to really like him,” Reid told reporters during a press conference where he reflected on the challenges of the remarkably unproductive legislative session that even now threatens to derail staffers’ holiday plans.

Although he’s well aware of political opponents who thrive on making him miserable (“I need not give you names, but it’s just a handful of people,” the Nevada Democrat posited), Reid doesn’t seem to believe Paul belongs exclusively in that camp.

“He’s — even though he has some set political views, he wants to get things done here,” Reid said of the libertarian-leaning Kentucky lawmaker. “And I find that throughout the Republicans. I think they want to get things done. And I hope that’s true.”

Team Paul did not respond to calls and emails inquiring as to whether Reid’s sudden chumminess might pave the way for increased cooperation in the second half of the 113th Congress.

But Reid certainly sounds like he’s ready for less confrontation in 2014.

“Maybe all of you have a better memory than I have, but I think the only thing we’ve gotten done since summer was implement nondiscrimination. I don’t think there’s anything else we’ve done,” Reid bemoaned.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:03 p.m.
HillSide, Sens

Overheard: Michael Grimm’s Marine Corps

“This is not the Marine Corps that I know and love.”

— Rep. Michael Grimm, on Fox News, regarding the case of Maj. Jason Brezler, who is facing charges he brought classified documents on his personal hard drive back from a war zone and shared them inappropriately. Brezler faces possible disciplinary action.

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