Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

June 20, 2013

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.

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

Would-Be Congressman Hopes to Enter Chamber With Help From Wu-Tang Clan

Roy Cho, a congressional hopeful aiming to knock off Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., the next time around, might not be a household name (yet).

But, as of Monday, he’s got mad street cred:

That’s when Wu-Tang Clan co-founder Ghostface Killah name-checked Cho on Twitter, urging his 440,000-plus flock to show the aspiring Asian-American lawmaker some love.

The celebrity shoutout wasn’t a total surprise to Cho; the corporate lawyer told HOH his sister, Jennifer, has worked in the music and entertainment field for years and had gotten to know the rap mogul personally.

“Jen was talking to Ghostface about my race for Congress and he expressed an interest in helping,” Cho said of the much-appreciated endorsement.

Full story

Tortilla Coast Throws Down for Silver Anniversary

Tortilla Coast Throws Down for Silver Anniversary

(CQ Roll Call archives)

The original Tortilla Coast is turning the big 2-5 this month, and the Capitol Hill fixture plans to celebrate by giving back to its most fervent fans, as well as to neighbors in need.

The festivities commence Thursday with a “Retro Happy Hour” (3:30-8 p.m.) that turns back prices to the Reagan era. A slew of beers, including Dos Equis Lager, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Sol and the Shiner seasonal, will set you back just $2.75 a pop, while frozen margaritas will drop to $5. A bevy of bar snacks, including chicken wings, Tex-Mex chicken spring rolls, crispy onion strings, mini tacos and chili con queso will also be available for $3 an order.

Attendees can partake in Trivia Night, which promises to bore down on the politics and pop culture of the past quarter-century. Winners will carve up $500 in prizes, including camp chairs and hats.

The restaurant gets more philanthropic Friday night, turning over the bar to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation and local first responders for a fundraising event (7:30-9 p.m.) benefiting fire-ravaged Frager’s Hardware. All tips collected at the bar, plus $1 from every dinner entree sold in the restaurant, will be donated to Frager’s relief efforts.

Full story

Darrell Issa Listicles Himself

Rep. Darrell Issa may seem like he’s in total control when he’s dragging administration officials up to the Hill for a televised tongue-lashing, but his Twitter feed suggests he’s no stranger to insecurity.

Darrell Issa Listicles Himself

(Courtesy Darrell Issa)

The California Republican obviously wants BuzzFeed scribe Benny Johnson to click around the multimedia recap of why he’s worth a social media follow.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:15 p.m.

YOLO Queen Can’t Wait to Conquer Washington

Though she’ll spend this summer learning the ropes within the office of Pennsylvania state Sen. Sean Wiley, “You Only Legislate Once” advocate Zainab Javed assures HOH that the District remains her first love.

The Mercyhurst University junior is still working her way through a political science and strategic communications track, but she insists Congress has been on her mind since way back when.

“I’ve wanted to be a staffer since middle school,” Javed said. “I’ve been overexposed to ‘The West Wing,’ so I run around thinking I’m Josh Lyman.”

She’s fairly certain her natural goofiness may preclude her from running for office — “I don’t think the electorate will take me seriously once they find out I once did a dreamcast of members of Congress as Jersey Shore characters,” she posited — but seems confident it could pay dividends elsewhere.

Full story

Eat Free or Die in Russell

The fourth annual “Experience New Hampshire” reception, a New Hampshire State Society event co-hosted by the state’s congressional delegation, sounds like the place to be for sweet-and-savory sensation seekers.

The invite-only taste around is scheduled to take place tonight from 5-7 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Eat Free or Die in Russell

(Courtesy Jeanne Shaheen)

You guessed it: the iconic, 7-foot stuffed bear will be there. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., will be joined by Reps. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., in showing off the Granite State’s culinary chops.

We anticipate long lines to sample the following: truffle egg salad fashioned from cage-free eggs, smoked bacon and Robie Farm Toma (Omni Mount Washington Resort), seared New Hampshire sirloin with blue cheese mousse and walnut shortbread (Hanover Street Chophouse), braised barbecue venison sliders with blueberry balsamic glaze and New Hampshire cheddar (Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa) and strawberry shortcake “shooters” infused with New Hampshire honey and served on whipped cream-topped pound cake (Common Man restaurants).

Full story

June 18, 2013

Paul Ryan’s Kind of Photo-Op

One-time Republican vice presidential pick Rep. Paul D. Ryan posed in front of the Capitol on Tuesday with his “muscle confusing” pal, Tony Horton.

Paul Ryan’s Kind of Photo Op

(Courtesy Paul D. Ryan)

“With P90X guru Tony Horton, a workout photo I’m proud to share,” the Wisconsin lawmaker and avowed gym rat gushed on Twitter.

He also included a shout-out to Time magazine, the publication that last fall ran a bunch of workout photos of the iron-pumping candidate that were freely Photoshopped and mercilessly lampooned by hordes of online detractors. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 6:20 p.m.

Ted Poe Decries Gitmo Perks

Ted Poe Decries Gitmo Perks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ted Poe took to the House floor Monday to deliver yet another conservative indictment of wasteful government spending.

His latest target: the party boys living high on the hog at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“’English as a second language,’ ‘Pashto to English,’ ‘Arabic to English,’ ‘art,’ ‘life skills,’ ‘computers,’ ‘personal health and wellness,’ ‘finance and business’ — sounds like courses at a swanky New England university, but these are just a few classes offered at Gitmo University on the Caribbean,” the Texas Republican deadpanned for the C-SPAN cameras.

He went on to denounce the career training some of the detainees have been receiving (“Are they going someplace?” he wondered) and their access to a multimedia library (“17,000 books, video games and CDs”). And, just for good measure, he railed against their recreational options.

“Terrorists have access to the fancy, new taxpayer-funded $750,000 soccer field — play volleyball, basketball, table tennis, and even foosball,” Poe raged. “Mr. Speaker, why does the government spend millions to train and entertain those who kill Americans?”

That multipurpose field does sound pretty sweet.

But we highly doubt any other prisoners anywhere would sign up to endure religious persecution and prolonged sessions of interrogatory Twister just to partake in a few pickup futbol games.

And let’s not forget the 40-odd detainees who will presumably never see the inside of a courtroom or be let off that floating tomb.

Political Junkie Makes Modified YOLO Her Mantra

Only living once might be motivation enough for some people. But for C-SPAN aficionado Zainab Javed, lawmaking remains the ultimate rush.

The Mercyhurst University student first popped up on HOH’s radar during the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

Political Junkie Makes Modified YOLO Her Mantra

(Courtesy Zainab Javed)

That’s where she scored big laughs from the Capitol Hill-centric crowd after her cheeky jab at government surveillance efforts got splashed across the Jumbotron.  But it was her response to all the adulation that really piqued our interest.

“Just got on the screen with my I’d Wiretap That sign! #Congresstude #YouOnlyLegislateOnce” she blasted out on one of her two Twitter accounts.

Turns out Javed picked up the politicized proverb last spring while enrolled in her “American Congress” course. And she’s made it her own ever since.

“It’s become a bit of a motto,” Javed told HOH of the play on the better known “You Only Live Once.”

Full story

The Ron Johnson Facts of Life

At a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., shared his three top keys to succeeding in life, two of which involve sex and drugs, or the lack thereof.

Johnson was filling in for Budget ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., at a hearing with Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the department’s budget when he imparted the wisdom he usually reserves for students to his colleagues and the nation’s top education official.

“There’s no doubt about it that we all know that education is real key. We share that same goal that we want to make sure our children are armed with the tools to lead a successful and productive life. When I meet with students, I frequently cite the three things that if you either do or avoid doing, you’ll have a pretty good chance at leading a successful life,” Johnson said at the top of his remarks. Full story

Joaquin Castro Takes the Plunge

Updated 4:24 p.m. | Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, is reportedly off the market.

According to local news outlets, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro first revealed his twin brother’s very recent engagement to longtime girlfriend Anna Flores on Facebook.

Castro aides said the boss made it official June 15, proposing to Flores in front of the Memorial Church at Stanford University, his alma mater. Castro was visiting that weekend to address graduates from the Stanford Latinos group:

News spread quickly on the Internet — “Congrats to @JoaquinCastrotx on his engagement. Being happily married will make politics seem like a big waste of time, my friend,” Austin American-Statesman/MSNBC columnist Jason Stanford proclaimed on Twitter — but things slowly trickled back to us folks in Washington, D.C.

Per staff, there is no wedding date yet.

But Castro does plan to have some people from Capitol Hill join in the festivities. “Haven’t started invite list, but expect to invite many colleagues,” Team Castro told HOH.

Now, on to the registry hunt …

June 17, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Lobbies to Be Locked Up First

All things being equal, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., would like to get this whole going-to-prison thing out of the way.

Chicago Sun-Times D.C. bureau chief Lynn Sweet reports that attorneys for the embattled lawyer have done an about-face on which of the Jacksons, Jesse or his wife, Sandi, should get locked up first should the court throw the book at them for the $750,000 they funneled from campaign accounts.

“Mr. Jackson’s health issues preclude him from working at this time. If he serves his period of incarceration first, Mrs. Jackson would be able to work and could stabilize the family’s finances,” Lynn said the ex-lawmaker’s lawyers proposed in a memo filed Monday.

With sentencing hanging over both of their heads just before the July Fourth holiday, it would seem Jesse is ready to get on with the rest of his life ASAP.

Pinching Pennies, the Lincoln Way

We’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that most lawmakers remain blissfully ignorant of the nightmarish haggling that goes into composing a nonbinding congressional budget blueprint.

Here’s hoping local schoolchildren can stomach the same with a little help from a guy in a stovepipe hat and a pocketful of shiny copper pieces.

Michael Shank, a one-time aide to Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., who has since moved on to serve as director of foreign policy at Friends Committee on National Legislation, will be returning to the Hill on Tuesday for an encore performance of his 2010 portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln.

Full story

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