Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 2, 2015

March 18, 2014

John McCain’s Favorite Flick: Fargo

Sen. John McCain has rather dark taste in movies.

The Republican told a town hall meeting in his home state of Arizona on Tuesday that the 1996 Coen Brothers classic “Fargo,” which won multiple Academy Awards, is his favorite. McCain’s quip came in response to a question about the slow-moving approval process for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“It’s still stalled in the Obama administration,” McCain said of the pipeline, before praising the economic boom in North Dakota as a result of energy production.

“Things that are happening in places like like North Dakota — do you know the unemployment rate in North Dakota today is less than 2 percent? They can’t get anybody to come up there and work, and I won’t go anywhere further with that,” McCain said. “I happen to love North Dakota. My favorite movie is ‘Fargo’ … which was shot in Minnesota I understand, but anyway.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 3:57 p.m.

Suspect Killed in Gunfight With Police Near Union Station

A homicide suspect was killed in a gunfight with D.C. Police a few blocks north of Union Station early Tuesday morning.

Officers reported to the suspect’s home on K Street NW shortly after 6:15 a.m. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 9:02 a.m.

Apocalypse Now? Twyman Says Boehner’s Invite to Pope Proves End Is Near

Is it the end of the world if the Pope addresses Congress?

Rocky Twyman, founder of the Pray at the Pump Movement, sure thinks so.

In a press release Monday, Twyman detailed how Speaker John A. Boehner’s recent invitation to Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress is a sign that the apocalypse is coming.

But, according to Twyman, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  “This new Pope symbolizes a new era of peace and prosperity for the United States that will culminate in heaven,” he said. Full story

March 17, 2014

March Madness With John McCain and Obamacare

Sen. John McCain’s campaign committee is joining March Madness once again.

In an email blast sent Monday, the Friends of John McCain invited supporters to join their private ESPN bracket group.  More than 150 people and counting have signed up for the “McCain Bracket Challenge.”  McCain’s campaign has been hosting its own bracket competition since 2007.

The McCain supporter with the most successful bracket will win a basketball signed by the Arizona Republican.

But McCain isn’t the only one getting into the March Madness action.  The White House put together its own bracket competition, but this one is not related to “the Big Dance.”

The White House launched “16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered” Monday, prompting participants to vote for their favorite reason to sign up for health care coverage. The competition is part of an effort to boost signups on by the March 31 deadline. Full story

A Hip Factory in Every Basement | Madisonville

Madisonville-Logo(185x185)The House Small Business Committee meets in a room in the Rayburn building that feels like the warehouse office of one of the business start-ups Congress loves to celebrate.  The translucent plastic panels that screen the fluorescent lights and the drop ceiling tell you that this committee doesn’t waste money on luxuries. You half expect to hear an electric insect killer snap a few bugs to death with a mighty zap that momentarily dims the lights.

The man on the long side of the room chewing his nails turns out to be Missouri Republican Sam Graves, the chairman who bit his way through a hearing on “The Rise of 3D Printing: Opportunities for Entrepreneurs” on March 12.  Washington visitors who wandered over to see their representatives in action may have hoped for a congressional version of “Shark Tank.” Full story

PSA Urges Partisans to Quit Fighting, Focus on Real Foes



Marvel Media founder Lily Marie wants hotheads on both sides of the political spectrum to chill out for a bit, so that the grown ups can figure out who we should really be angry with.

The pixel-packing prophet calls for an end to the whole blue- vs. red-state mentality in her “PSA for Political Partisans” — an SOS the self-proclaimed conservative/libertarian hopes will serve as a wake up call for us all.

A PSA for Political Partisans from Marvel Media on Vimeo.

“I believe that U.S citizens need to better understand that there are people in our own government and behind the scenes who are subversive. Their agenda is to move us in a direction that will be very bad news for all of us,” Marie told HOH of her motivation to digitally rattle some cages. “And that is already happening; we are losing freedom, rights and national sovereignty that many Americans have taken for granted.”

She considers the contentious Patriot Act “unconstitutional legislation that gives the government more power to spy on U.S. citizens and potentially do what they want with us,” and expressed concerns about other ongoing attempts to erode the time-honored protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

“If it continues, then ultimately it will affect everyone, even the people who naively supported those unconstitutional actions. They will be in the same boat as the people who they perceived as their political opponents,” Marie warned.

The worst part, according to Marie, is that no one really is to blame  — because everybody is.

“When it comes to those politicians (Obama, and many others) I knew early on that they would be bad news. So it wasn’t a surprise,” she suggested via email.

Given her druthers, Marie knows exactly whom she would want calling the shots: retired Texas lawmaker and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul.

Ron Paul is … one of the only leaders who is honest and actually cares about the principles our country is supposed to stand for,” Marie asserted.

Take Five: Rep. Scott Perry

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., discusses his military service and reciting the Gettysburg Address. Perry, not afraid to show his softer side, also explains why “Out of Africa” is one of his favorite movies.

Q. You were born in San Diego, so how did you end up in Pennsylvania?

A. It’s an unflattering story of broken family and a time in the country where women in the working world with children were discouraged.  So my mom went to work for an airline — she couldn’t have children — so she hid my brother and me by putting an ad in the paper and sending us to a family while she was on a trip.  And then she would come and retrieve us.  And flying took her to Florida and that’s where we stayed for a while.  And then from Florida, flying took her to Pennsylvania, which is where I ended up, so that’s kind of how that whole thing happened.

Q. As an Iraq War veteran and a National Guardsman for more than 30 years, how has your military service contributed to your role in Congress?

A. First of all, it teaches you to get along with a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds with different perspectives. It forces you, unfortunately, to have patience for the things that you can’t get done because in the military when you’re the commander, so it shall be written, so it shall be done. That’s how it works.

But when you start working in a different civilian arena, it’s not that way.  And so you either learn that there’s a different way or you fail.  And working in the community, and so on and so forth, outside the military arena, the only way you can get things accomplished is to shed that. For me, what it really does is it highlights the two very different paradigms in the two different organizations of civil society and the military. They do not mix up very well.

Q. What was your favorite moment of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg last year?

A.  My favorite moment, quite honestly, when I think back, was my opportunity to recite the Gettysburg Address. … When you start looking at it and the words and where the inflection and the emphasis might be, I found out that it took me maybe 150 times of practicing it until I got it right — to my standard of where I thought it should be to do it justice.  And so when you get it to that point and realize the gravity of each word and how they fit the times of the nation and with each other, it’s really, really something special, which is why it is a great thing.

Q. I read that during your congressional race you would relax by working on your home, which you mostly built yourself.  How do you relax when you’re in D.C.?

A. What makes you think I relax when I’m in D.C.?  I guess what I really like to do and it’s not really — it is some relaxation, it’s a little bit of a break from the action — is to go out and run on the mall.  I iPod up, but you know my schedule here usually starts around 6 and ends around 1 or 1:30.  So I’m trying to maximize my time here and there’s not a lot of relaxation.

Q.  What is your favorite movie and why?

A. Can I have two? For one single movie in and of itself, it’s “Out of Africa.” For me, that movie shows the differences, just the very visceral difference, between men and women in relationships, and how hard life can be, and also the triumphs of life.  But I also love “Band of Brothers.” But that’s a series of movies, which shows the element of the human struggle and sacrifice and puts a value to everything that we enjoy every moment of every day in this country.

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10 a.m.
Reps, TakeFive

March 16, 2014

File Under ‘No Longer Top Secret Hard Feelings’ | Capitol Quip


Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and CIA Director John O. Brennan are engaged in an epic combat strategy game over congressional oversight of the intelligence community, and the whole world is watching. 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

Freedom of Amplification? | 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.

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

March 14, 2014

Robert Menendez Shrugs Off Injury to Champion Ukraine Plan

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez didn’t let something as trivial as being struck by a taxi late Thursday derail his defense of a Ukrainian aid package that faced its own obstacles.

Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright told HOH the New Jersey Democrat got hit just outside Union Station while racing to catch a 6 p.m. train home.

“Legs buckled and he fell,” she said of the jarring incident. “He got up and ‘ran’ to the train but it had left.”

Rather than lick his wounds, Enright said Menendez called staff to swing back by to get him so he could rejoin the fray on the Senate floor.

Having said his piece for the second time, Menendez once again departed the Capitol, finally making it — safely — onto the northbound Amtrak train scheduled to roll out at 7 p.m.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:47 p.m.
Drama, HillSide, Sens

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of March 10 (Video)

While members explain how to drive to Hawaii, put lipstick on a pig and which state has better ski resorts, Majority Leader Harry Reid still is not finished telling us about the Koch brothers.

Foster, Holt Fete Pi Day With Pastries

Resident Capitol Hill physicists Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., are doing their small part Friday (3/14) to commemorate the infinitesimal mathematical construct known as pi — by dishing out homemade baked goods.

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Pi Day,” the annual celebration of the non-repeating, never-ending figure revered by “mathletes” the world over, has become a cultural happening involving food, fashion and pop culture references.

Holt and Foster are feeding into the phenomenon by offering guests the chance to fill their belles while expanding their minds.

“We’ll have a variety of homemade pies … [and] a competition to see who can recite the most digits of pi,” a Foster aide said of the scientific shindig scheduled to take place at noon in Longworth 1224.

All are welcome. (But you may wanna download a scientific calculator app on your phone on your way over.)

March 13, 2014

Cruz, Booker Already Fussing Over Future Dinner Dates

Well, that didn’t take long.



Mere hours after they were photographed grabbing a bite together at Bistro Bis, New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker and Texas Republican Ted Cruz have reached an impasse as to where to book their next table.

Cruz , it seems, would prefer to stay away from prying eyes



Booker is done with chewing up the scenery. He’d rather focus on what’s on his plate



A congressional aide told HOH the political odd couple touches base on the Senate floor from time to time; staff reportedly arranged the March 12 sit-down.

No word on when — or where — any future rendezvous might take place.

Members of Congress Sum Up SXSWi — in 3 Words

South By Southwest Interactive wrapped up Tuesday, just as the madding crowds for the music festival were arriving in Austin, Texas. Roll Call correspondent Grace Dobush was in town along with a surprising number of congressmen — 12 by our count. In addition to attending the panels they spoke on, covering topics from patent trolls to tech innovation, she caught up with a handful of members to get their sense of the experience — in three words.

Read more about Washington’s takeover of SXSWi (and see a photo of Darrell Issa testing out a new Microsoft dance game) here.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Charity Work Crushes the Competition — With His Tank

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Forget breaking mere bread.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is upping the charity auction stakes by offering fans the opportunity to pump iron, co-pilot a tank and possibly chomp some stogies, all in the name of putting more money in the hands of After-School All-Stars.

Schwarzenegger has apparently owned the ground-pounding M47 Patton tank for 20-odd years now, but only trots it out on extra special occasions.

Keeping his youth-oriented athletic program going — the non-profit organization boasts chapters across the country, including an outpost in Washington, D.C. — clearly qualifies, as Schwarzenegger is contributing his time (“you’ll live like Arnold for a day!” the contest page trumpets) and the tank adventure for only $10 (single entry).

Whoever does win the all-inclusive trip out to LA should take comfort in knowing that their time will not be wasted: Ah-nuld has been on the vanguard of crushing stuff for decades. Full story

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