Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

July 18, 2013

Comic-Con: A Politics-Free Zone, Until Now

Up until the moment that Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., steps onto the floor of the sprawling San Diego Convention Center, the 43-year-old party that is Comic-Con International will have remained an apolitical haven.

Lewis will break that seal on Saturday morning when he joins the sci-fi free-for-all to promote “March,” the new graphic novel documenting his exploits during the civil rights era.

Comic-Con aides were hard-pressed to come up with the name of a single sitting lawmaker to ever visit the entertainment smorgasbord.

Full story

July 17, 2013

The Fiercely Opinionated Byron Thomas


The Fiercely Opinionated Byron Thomas


Newly minted congressional intern Byron Thomas skyrocketed from no name to HOH Hall of Fame Wednesday, after his email plea seeking fellow patriots to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” with each morning went viral.

“We have American flags in front of every room, but I’ve never seen anyone take the time to proudly say the Pledge of Allegiance. Are we that busy that we can’t take a minute to show some pride and respect for our country?” the aide to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., chided staff on an internal message board.

It’s likely this whole pledge-shirking business has been gnawing away at him since at least late April. Full story

Playing With Nukes | Capitol Quip

Playing With Nukes | 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:

  • Self-immolation is NOT what I had in mind!
  • I suppose you’ll blame this on climate change, too
  • This is a test. This is only a test. Nothing will actually change.
  • Well, I guess we both stood our ground.
  • We’re going to need a wider aisle.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog July 21 and in the next 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 5:46 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project

Senate Judiciary chairman and avid graphic novel fan Patrick J. Leahy (yup, that’s really him in all those “Batman” flicks) took some time out from mulling the fate of the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday to show newly minted comic book “hero” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a little love.

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project


“Thank you for the book that you signed to me in March. It will be seen by all five of my grandchildren,” Leahy assured Lewis, the civil rights leader who’s headed to Comic-Con this weekend to unveil “March,” the comic-book-style treatment of his life story.

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project

Lewis greets Sen. Mazie K. Hirono as she arrives with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner for a hearing on “From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

John Lewis Staffer’s Winding Road to Comic-Con

While hustling to put the finishing touches on the booth (#1721) that his boss, Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon John Lewis, will call home for two incredibly hectic days at Comic-Con International 2013, congressional aide turned first-time author Andrew Aydin couldn’t help but marvel about his unexpected detour into the world of graphic novels.

John Lewis Staffer’s Winding Road to Comic Con

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“There’s a lot of moments when you just don’t know if this is all going to work out. But now we’re here,” Aydin told HOH of the simmering self-doubts that have largely evaporated since arriving at the fabled San Diego Convention Center to promote “March,” which he co-authored with Lewis.

This trip, it turns out, is the culmination of a five-year odyssey.

The then-24-year-old campaign spokesman (he’s now handling new media and telecommunications issues for the Georgia Democrat) said they were heading into the homestretch of Lewis’ 2008 primary campaign when someone asked how he planned to spend the forthcoming downtime.

“I mentioned that I might go to a comic book convention,” he said, a revelation that elicited teasing from colleagues who did not share his affinity for the content.

Amid all that ribbing emerged an unexpected champion: Lewis. Full story

‘Sneak a Bite’ Offers Bite of the Apple From Korea

Seoree, a Korea-based produce distributor, is marking its debut in U.S. markets by hosting a brand launch reception today, aiming to make the connection between specialty dishes and cocktails derived from its produce and the new U.S.-Korea free-trade agreement.

The “Sneak a Bite” event will feature Seoree products prepared by a Korean chef and and looks to showcase the types of good and products, such as Seoree’s organic apples and pears, that will be shared because of the FTA, as well as promote deeper mutual cultural understanding.

The launch is supported by two other Korea-based organizations: the Kim Chang Joon Future U.S.-Korea Foundation, led by former Rep. Jay Kim, R-Calif., and the Korea Fruit Agricultural Company Federation. The event will be held at the W Hotel (515 15th Street NW). Doors open at 5 p.m. to those with an invitation.

Howard University Fights to Keep Trayvon Martin’s Memory Alive

A Florida jury has had its say on the devastating confrontation between armed, self-styled watchman George Zimmerman and the late Trayvon Martin. Now attendees at Howard University’s College of Medicine are firing back.

The perception-challenging pic is just the latest political statement from the historically black bastion of higher learning.

Howard students were also featured in this provocative video, released a month after Martin was killed in Sanford, Fla.

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., is also grappling with how to move forward in a world where Zimmerman has been cleared of any wrongdoing.  He’s urging Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to let Congress investigate the matter further.

July 16, 2013

Fire at Postal Museum Put Out Quickly

The District of Columbia Fire Department dispatched two trucks to the National Postal Museum at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday after smoke was spotted rising from a construction site on the south side of the building, according to an officer at the scene.

Fire at Postal Museum Put Out Quickly

First responders extinguished the fire at the museum within minutes. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

No one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished within minutes, the officer said. Police and fire officials are still investigating the cause.
Yellow police tape wrapped around streetlights on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and North Capitol Streets, preventing pedestrians from crossing while fire trucks were on the scene.

Congress Storms the Kastles

Congress Storms the Kastles

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Backhand-wielding lawmakers are expected to bounce over to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf (800 Water St. SW) Thursday night to play in a charity tennis tournament that will mark the first time some of them will have swung a racket in public in, well, ever.

A handful of members boasting varying skill levels have signed on to participate in the second annual Washington Kastles Charity Classic, a fundraiser benefiting the D.C. Public Education Fund, Food & Friends and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Tickets to the event — pre-game reception starts at 5:15 p.m., match play at 7 p.m. — start at $10, and are available via Ticketmaster or at the stadium.

Reps. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Charlie Dent, R-Pa., Donna Edwards, D-Md., Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., and Melvin Watt, D-N.C., will join former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., in team play (The Stars vs. The Stripes). Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:28 p.m.
Baller, DC

Congress Decoded: ‘My Good Friend’ and Others

With all the charged doublespeak clouding the air in both chambers these days (see: nuclear option, Senate and farm bill, House), we here at HOH thought this might be a good time for a refresher course on deciphering the often perverse lexicon of Capitol Hill:

1. Congressional phraseology: “My good friend”

Translation: “Gotcha now, you sonofab…” Full story

Suzan DelBene Dumps on Her Failed Flick

Cleaning up at the cineplex, by all accounts, takes hard work, talent, perfect timing and perhaps just a little bit of luck. Based on her characterization of an independent film she co-financed, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., appears to have come up terribly short in several of those departments.

Suzan DelBene Dumps on Her Failed Flick

(Courtesy Facebook)

Full story

July 15, 2013

Top Aide for Michele Bachmann Arrested on Theft Charges

U.S. Capitol Police have arrested a top aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., on charges of theft.

Capitol Police zeroed in on Javier Sanchez and arrested him on July 11 as part of an investigation of a string of thefts in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“Earlier this year the United States Capitol Police (USCP) was apprised of thefts that occurred in the Rayburn House Office Building. The USCP conducted an investigation and were able to identify a subject. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 37 year old Javier Sanchez of Virginia. The arrest took place on 7/11/2013. Sanchez has been charged with Theft II,” said a statement from Shennell Antrobus, the Capitol Police’s public information officer.

When asked if Sanchez was in custody and if there was arraignment or court date for him, Capitol Police said no further details were forthcoming at the current time.

A senior Capitol Hill law enforcement official said the arrest was for Sanchez’s theft of money from Bachmann’s office, and was unrelated to other burglaries in Rayburn. “Theft II” is used to classify when the value of the stolen good falls below a $1,000 threshold.

A request for comment from Bachmann’s office was not immediately returned.

Ted Poe Has a History With the Lone Ranger

Ted Poe feels pretty strongly about the Lone Ranger, and that’s just the way it is.

The Texas Republican confirmed his fanboy status in a fervent op-ed published Monday in some Texas newspapers, noting the recent release of “The Lone Ranger” movie starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp and averring his love of the masked cowboy and telling the improbable story of how he came to serve as the judge in a case involving Clayton Moore, the actor who played the Lone Ranger in the famous black-and-white television series.

Full story

Socially Conscious Ice Cream Scoopers Hit Recess DC

Socially Conscious Ice Cream Scoopers Hit Recess DC

(Courtesy Taharka Brothers)

The Baltimore-based ice cream making Taharka Bros. will be serving up socio-politically inspired sweets at Recess DC Tuesday night in the hopes of putting a cherry on top of a Kickstarter campaign geared toward landing them a food truck.

The “Ice Cream for Change” tasting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Recess DC (727 15th St. NW). Admission is free, but promoters are suggesting donations of $20 in order to help the entrepreneurs reach their $28,000 fundraising goal. A donation of $50 entitles guests to open bar access from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Although still a young company, the TB brand already extends beyond Charm City, including standing orders for their signature gourmet ice creams at Eatonville restaurant and the various Busboys and Poets outposts surrounding our area.

TB has also participated in the now-annual DC Scoop competition and plans to face off against fellow frozen treat purveyors later this month.

Full story

Take Five: Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.

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

This week, Congress’ newest member, freshman Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., talks about life in D.C., farming in Missouri and college football.

Q. Having worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for about a month now, what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

A. How slow everything is working; serving at the state level for eight years in the House of Representatives there, you can usually see light in the tunnel pretty significantly and you can see things moving and getting done quickly, but it seems like everything is moving at a snail’s pace right now.

Q. You spent some time studying in Cambridge while in law school — if you could travel anywhere today, where would you go?

A. I would say Australia. It’s just a country that I’ve never traveled to, and I think it would be a good visit.

Q. You are a fourth-generation farmer — what is your favorite part of your family’s farm?

A. I’m the fourth-generation owner of our family farm. Being a farmer, I think, is pretty significant. … I have a strong interest in agriculture, let’s put it that way. The best thing about the family farm is that it’s been in our family for several generations and just to be out there. … I enjoy listening to the cows more than I do people yelling and griping in Washington, D.C.

Q. Speaking of D.C., what is your favorite part of the city so far in the time you’ve spent here?

A. The history of D.C. Knowing that you’re walking in the same halls that so many other former leaders of our country were walking in, I think that’s pretty significant — definitely the history.

Q. Will your Missouri Tigers bounce back this year in the SEC?

A. Absolutely. I compare the Missouri Tigers to myself, being a graduate of Missouri and being the newest member to Congress, and Mizzou is also the newest member of the SEC. I look at it from the perspective that a lot of people may be underestimating the Tigers, but they’re going to overperform this year.

By JM Rieger Posted at 1:29 p.m.
DC, TakeFive

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