Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2014

June 24, 2013

Boldin Warns Congress, POTUS About Abuses in Africa

Super Bowl XLVII winning Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, now with the San Francisco 49ers, is spending part of the off-season pressing politicians about human rights abuses in Africa, a message he shared with both sides of the Capitol during a lobbying blitz Monday.

Boldin Warns Congress, POTUS About Abuses in Africa

(Audra Melton/Oxfam America)

Boldin, who toured remote parts of Senegal earlier this spring and visited Ethiopia in 2012, came to Capitol Hill with Oxfam America in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s good-will mission to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania this week.

“You have these people who literally live on top of gold mines … and they see no benefits from it,” Boldin said about the destitute African farmers he came in contact with who’ve been displaced by natural-resource-reaping multinationals.

Boldin spent the day sharing what he had experienced with the administration, a senior aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Chairman Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., House Appropriations Committee staff, and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.

Full story

Gillibrand and Wasserman Schultz Lead Fantasy Softball

In case you live on another planet, the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game is only two short days away and the tech geniuses at CQ Roll Call have devised a Fantasy Softball version of the game so that any league aficionado can get in on the action.

The trash talk between the press and the Congress has hit a fevered clip in the past few days, as each side prepares to face off in the annual breast cancer charity fundraiser.

Disclosure: The author of this post is one of the players featured in Fantasy Softball and a co-captain of the press team.

Here are the player standings as of Monday afternoon:

1. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

2. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

3. Abby Livingston, Roll Call

4. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

5. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.

6. Kasie Hunt, NBC News

7. Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

8. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

9. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

10. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii

In other softball news, Heitkamp hit up the batting cages (again) over the weekend. And Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., took part in the latest fad in Congress, working out with local softball and baseball teams. Her kitchen cabinet? The Los Angeles Dodgers’ AAA affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes.

Several weeks ago Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, practiced with Ohio State’s softball team, and the weekend before last, Wasserman Schultz picked up some tips from Florida International University’s Panthers.

As for the press team, the Bad News Babes held its annual scrimmage on Sunday evening, with players looking fierce in new uniforms.

Gillibrand and Wasserman Schultz Lead Fantasy Softball

(Courtesy Shawna Thomas/NBC News)

And CNN’s Dana Bash will join Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in the most passive-aggressive play-by-play you will ever hear.

Still need to buy tickets? Word on the street is that they are flying. Get them here.

Eye on Iowans

We’re not much for conspiracy theories here at HOH.

Eye on Iowans

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But a chance encounter on the red line with this gentleman, who bears a striking resemblance to a usually sweater-vested Hawkeye state senator (check out the T-shirt!), has persuaded us to perhaps pay a little closer attention to the anti-pod-people lobby …

New Show Mines Congress for Comedy Gold

Paging House Majority Whip Francis Underwood: There’s a new unruly player in town.

Ex-congressional aides Rob Raffety and Andrew Heaton are skewering their former employer in a new Web show dubbed “Cap South,” a comedy project chronicling the misadventures of a fictional female congresswoman and her bumbling staff.

Creator/director Raffety plans to unveil the homegrown series — set to debut on YouTube this July — a few episodes at a time (two or three per week, he said). He’ll also be fleshing out the faux workplace, which seems to echo the irreverent tone struck by HBO’s breakout hit “Veep” by mixing in “bonus features” including bogus “attack ads,” constituent phone call segments and wacky non sequiturs.

For Raffety, who spent a year in the trenches with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., back in 2001, the show is all about playing up the organized chaos that is Congress.

“I try to explore some of the common challenges and obstacles facing the average staffer day-in and day-out and offer a comedic perspective on that very unique work environment,” he said of the “highly exaggerated version of reality” presented.

Full story

June 23, 2013

Syria-Infested Waters | Capitol Quip

Syria Infested Waters | Capitol Quip

The civil war in Syria continues to draw the international community into the fray, and it’s hard to predict what happens next. What readers do have control over, though, is what caption will go along with this week’s Capitol Quip.

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 Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from illustrator R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Border Security Starts at Home | Capitol Quip

Border Security Starts at Home | 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.

June 21, 2013

Skating Apparently Is a Crime!

Mary M. Thompson, 42, pleaded guilty on Thursday to spending more than $16,000 of federal money on personal items while working for the Health and Human Services Department, including roller skates!

Skating Apparently Is a Crime!

Skating apparently is a crime, if you buy the skates on the government dime. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to a Justice Department statement, Thompson worked for HHS from 2010 to 2012. During that time, she was issued a government credit card and at some point started buying all kinds of goodies, including an iPod, pool cues and the roller skates.

Thompson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Fictional Franchise: The ‘Mad Men’ Edition

For the latest edition of our series that examines fictional characters and the real people who represent them in Congress, we explore “Mad Men.”

The rules go like this: We decide where fictional characters live and then look up who represents them in the House. (Learn more here.)

The “Mad Man” edition will include the most up-to-date addresses in the series. While the “Mad Men” universe is currently in 1968, we are using current members and district lines because we get to make up the rules. And this was written before the season finale, so a character’s congressional representation is not subject to death or getting kicked out of one’s home.

Yes, we know, in the words of Don Draper, this edition of Fictional Franchise is a bit “complicated.”

Don and Megan Draper (Jon Hamm and Jessica Paré) 
Upper East Side, New York City
Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

There have been numerous references over the past two seasons to the Drapers’ Park Avenue address, but one of the most recent was Sally’s call to the police during “Grandma” Ida’s visit. Maloney’s silk-stocking section of Manhattan is rife with other characters from Fictional Franchises past, including Holden Caulfield and Eloise.

Thanks to his impulsive personal life, Don has lived in several House districts over the course of the series. He began “Mad Men” as a constituent of Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., when he lived with his first wife, Betty, and their children in Ossining. After Betty kicked him out, he moved to Greenwich Village and into Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s 10th District.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) 
Upper West Side, New York City
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Peggy seriously considered moving to the East Side (helllooo Maloney!) but her boyfriend talked her into buying on the Upper West Side. Abe dumped her after she accidentally stabbed him but the thrill was already gone — with both the couple and the neighborhood.

It’s been an Exodus-ian existence. Rodents, muggers and vandals all plagued Peggy and Abe. We do not anticipate Peggy to stick around for long.

She was a Brooklyn girl before she became an Uptown Girl. In the first season, she states that she is from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The New York Times recently profiled that nabe, which is part of GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s home turf.

Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks)
Greenwich Village, New York City
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler

As of Season 2, Joan’s driver’s license said she lives on the northern edge of Greenwich Village.

In fact, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has a whole layout of “Mad Men” scenes and settings in the Village.

Besides Peggy and Joan, there are a number of other Fictional Franchise characters who live in Nadler’s West Side Manhattan district. They include: Peter Warren Hatcher from “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and the psycho from “Fatal Attraction.”

Betty and Henry Francis (January Jones and Christopher Stanley) 
Rye, N.Y.
Democratic Rep. Eliot L. Engel

The only person more politically ambitious than Henry is Betty. Engel ought to watch his back.

Pete and Trudy Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser and Alison Brie) 
Cos Cob, Conn.
Democratic Rep. Jim Himes

Yes, Pete is back in the city. But it is our determination that, amid all of his chaos, he has not switched his voter registration. Plus, of late, he has only referred to his marital situation as “separated.”

Their less-than-happy home is in “the country,” out in Connecticut’s 4th District, a fact that that excited the locals.

Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka)
Farmington, Conn.
Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty

Sally is so done with both Betty and Don. So, as of this writing, she was all systems go to attend the exclusive Miss Porter‘s boarding school.

Still, there is no need to campaign to Sally; she’s not of age to vote yet.

Dawn Chambers (Teyonah Parris)
Harlem, New York City
Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel

We are still learning about Dawn, but she is one of our favorite new characters this year. And she has the same name as her male boss.

We determined her residence courtesy of the folks at WNYC, who produced a map that is the greatest thing ever for any fan of Fictional Franchise and “Mad Men.”

Anna Draper (Melinda Page Hamilton)
San Pedro, Calif.
Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn

Before Anna, the wife of the real Don Draper, died of cancer, she formed an unlikely friendship with her husband’s impostor. But (the fake) Don made regular trips out to her Los Angeles-area home in Hahn’s 44th District.

Our friends at Curbed LA helped us here.

Previous Installments: 

The Gangstas of Governing

We’ve had enough of the slow trickle of closet rap fans serving in Congress. It’s time our elected B-Boys band together.

Presenting our nominees for the inaugural class of the Congressional Rap Caucus (it could happen), paired with their hip-hop counterparts:

Rep. André Carson, D-Ind. – MC Melle Mel

Per Carson, the flamboyant founding member of the Furious Five inspired the one-time battle emcee-cum-lawmaker to master the art of spittin’ lyrics.

Full story

The Schillings Can’t Help but Bust on Bustos

Campaigns come and go. But bitter resentment can linger indefinitely — or so we’ve learned from the grudge-holding home team behind one-term GOP lawmaker Bobby Schilling.

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos ousted the Illinois Republican last fall in a very close contest, and the Schillings, from dad on down, remain none too happy about the outcome.

A chance encounter brought some of that unresolved anger to the surface, prompting Levi Schilling, one of the ex-lawmaker’s sons, to vent on Twitter:

The Schillings Can’t Help but Bust on Bustos

(Screenshot)

Schilling assured CQ Roll Call that his son had been reprimanded and that the offending social media account was no longer active.

Tough break, bro. Full story

Misplaced Panties in the CVC

Somebody dropped something.

Misplaced Panties in the CVC

Lost item in a CVC hallway. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

The panties, pink and looking a little tangled, were spotted about 9:30 this morning in the hallway that leads from the Senate Subway to the Capitol Visitor Center.

If they’re yours, not sure if you need to call Capitol Police or the Architect of the Capitol for Lost and Found.

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:07 p.m.
HillSide

June 20, 2013

Ann Kirkpatrick Wins Softball Team’s Respect

Practically every team in the history of organized sports has its own Rudy — the player not blessed with the most athletic skill but who stands apart for pure devotion.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick plays that role on the Congressional Women’s Softball team.

“Ann is the heart of our team,” said Captain Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

It was not that way the past couple of years. Kirkpatrick was on the team in its earliest days, as female members of Congress battled the women of the Washington press corps. Full story

More Tea, Mr. Speaker? Courtesy of DCCC

More Tea, Mr. Speaker? Courtesy of DCCC

(Courtesy Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has decided to play the role of peace broker between Speaker John A. Boehner and the tea party. In a tongue-in-cheek move, the DCCC delivered to the Ohio Republican on Thursday a gift basket containing a teapot, an assortment of gourmet tea bags and mugs engraved with the names of 13 of his chief antagonists.

An intern dropped off the package at Boehner’s personal office in the Longworth House Office Building shortly before 11 a.m., according to a DCCC aide who alerted CQ Roll Call about the offering earlier in the morning.

“Dear Speaker Boehner,” read an attached note, scrawled by hand in blue ink on DCCC stationery. “With another mutiny brewing, we’re sending you a tea party to calm down your tea party. We include personalized mugs for your convenience.”

The letter concludes, “~the Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte.”

No word yet on whether Boehner will invite lawmakers — not all of whom are officially affiliated with the House Tea Party Caucus or considered loyalists by national tea party groups — over for a sit-down.

We do wonder, though, whether Boehner’s staff will ensure every member gets his or her own special mug.

Here’s a full rundown, courtesy of DCCC:

  • Justin Amash of Michigan
  • Jason Chaffetz of Utah
  • Mike Coffman of Colorado
  • Louie Gohmert of Texas
  • Tim Huelskamp of Kansas
  • Steve King of Iowa
  • Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina
  • Kristi Noem of South Dakota
  • Steve Scalise of Louisiana
  • Steve Stockman of Texas
  • Steve Southerland II of Florida
  • Tim Walberg of Michigan
  • Jackie Walorski of Indiana
By Emma Dumain Posted at 12:39 p.m.
Foolishness

Granite State’s Rock Solid Mixer

Their elected officials wound up getting waylaid by votes, but attendees of Wednesday’s Experience New Hampshire reception somehow managed to soldier on, eating their way through an array of regional treats.

Granite State’s Rock Solid Mixer

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Even before entering the jam-packed Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building, guests were getting tiny jugs of maple syrup pressed into their hands.

Granite State’s Rock Solid Mixer

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A giant grinning grizzly greeted all who paraded past. Full story

June 19, 2013

Five Fenceposts to Hang a Caption On | Capitol Quip

Five Fenceposts to Hang a Caption On | 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:

  • Mr. Rubio, pare down this law
  • We are open to a comprehensive bill … just find the door
  • No hurry, it’ll be next year before they build a ladder tall enough to get this high.
  • Who goes there?
  • There, that ought to keep them people out!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog June 24 and in that 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 6:08 p.m.
Capitol Quip

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