Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 30, 2015

April 16, 2015

Reps. Stefanik, Comstock Join Launch of ‘Empowered Women’ Effort

Reps. Stefanik, Comstock Join Launch of Empowered Women Effort

Stefanik, left, and Comstock, center, joined The Empowered Women Project for its launch event Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 200 people, including no shortage of current and former congressional aides, gathered Wednesday evening to launch a new platform for conservative-leaning women.

The Empowered Women project, a nonprofit that launched a website Wednesday with a manifesto, is the brainchild of GOP political strategist Mindy Finn, who has worked for, among other things, Twitter and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Full story

Happy Emancipation Day, Washington, D.C.!

Happy Emancipation Day, Washington, D.C.!

Activists stand vigil at the “Liberty Pole.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Emancipation Day: It’s not just about the “Liberty Pole” D.C. activists erected in front of the Capitol Wednesday.

Today’s District holiday commemorates the 1862 act that ended slavery in the District, and includes official events such as concerts, a parade and a fireworks display. It also includes a series of events at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, the Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration, a four-day event, spanning everything from poetry readings to a walking tour.

Co-producer and resident scholar Sharita Thompson told HOH the events are designed to “cater to different demographics” and a “wide range” of topics.

All of the events are free, but tickets are needed. To reserve a ticket, visit Hill Center’s website.

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By Megan Evans Posted at 12:11 p.m.
DC, HillSide

April 15, 2015

Bill Johnson’s Clout Undercut by Gyrocopter Mayhem

It turns out we’re all equal in the eyes of the U.S. Capitol Police when things go cuckoo on the congressional campus.

At least that’s the lesson a tipster presumes Rep. Bill Johnson learned when he attempted to play the “do-you-know-who-I-am?” card while cops were busy dealing with the flying dunceman who whizzed through restricted airspace before setting down in D.C.

Bill Johnson’s Clout Undercut by Gyrocopter Mayhem

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bill Johnson and his staff tried the “I’m-a-member-of-Congress” trick to cut through the crime scene of the gyrocopter,” our spy said of the game played by just about anybody in D.C. sporting a patriotic lapel pin.

The Ohio Republican, it would seem, did not warrant special consideration. “Police made him walk around like everyone else,” the tipster told HOH, adding that the re-directed pol might have fared better had he offered the cops one of the baked goods staff were spotted carrying. Full story

Capitol Hill Alumnus Wants to Huddle with Hibernian Staffers

Former Hill staffer Keith Carney has a plan to help foster comity within the ideologically charged Capitol: unite the children of the Emerald Isle.

Come Friday, the former Senate aide intends to do just that via the launch of a new club, Hill Irish.

Capitol Hill Alumnus Wants to Huddle with Hibernian Staffers

(Courtesy Keith Carney)

“We want to bring staffers of Irish descent together to socialize and to celebrate our rich heritage in a relaxed atmosphere,” Carney said of the non-partisan, non-profit organization he’s shepherding into existence.

The kickoff party is scheduled to take place at Hamilton’s (233 Second St. NW) from 5 to 8 p.m.; the $10 admission fee nets attendees access to one drink ticket, light snacks and live music. Full story

Remember That Time a Senator Flew an Autogyro Around the Dome?

Remember That Time a Senator Flew an Autogyro Around the Dome?

Bingham flies his Pitcairn PA-18 autogyro over the Capitol. (Courtesy of U.S. Capitol Historical Society)

Florida man Doug Hughes landed a gyrocopter Wednesday on the West Front of the Capitol. Maybe he was inspired by the late Sen. Hiram Bingham, who liked to fly his autogyro, a forerunner of the helicopter, around the campus as well.

Bingham was a famous explorer best known for discovering Machu Picchu in 1911, but he later served two terms in the Senate as a Republican from Connecticut.

Known as “the flying senator” for his passion for aviation, Bingham was an advocate for the autogyro, which was used in the 1930s to deliver mail between Camden, N.J., and Philadelphia.

Another connection! Bingham utilized a mail delivery vehicle. Hughes is a postal worker who said he was going to use his gyrocopter to deliver letters to Congress expressing concern about campaign finance law, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Related:

Man Flies Gyrocopter to West Front of Capitol

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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By Geof Koss Posted at 2:37 p.m.
DC, Drama

Yoga Crews Court Congressional Posers

Stressed out about not fitting enough relaxation time into your schedule?

Don’t sweat it. Yoga enthusiasts are preparing to flex some serious muscle on Capitol Hill.

Yoga Crews Court Congressional Posers

(Courtesy Congressional Yogi Association)

The LoveYourBrain Foundation plans to help staffers shake off work-related angst Thursday by offering a free yoga class.

The inaugural stretch fest, which is being put on in conjunction with the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, is scheduled to take place in the park immediately behind Rayburn (sandwiched between C and D streets Southwest) from 1 to 2 p.m., weather permitting. Full story

Reid Not Sure If Boxing Blows to the Head Were Good for Him

CNBC’s John Harwood gets the award for today’s quote of the day from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Speaking about his early life as a boxer, the Nevada Democrat questioned the wisdom of taking the punches he did, though he said he was good at the sport. “I fought for two years. It gave me confidence, that’s why I did it,” he said. “I’m glad I quit.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:55 p.m.
Sports Desk

Tex-Mex Free-for-All Set for April 21

Never mind the tired axiom about Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and unattended TV cameras. History has clearly shown the most dangerous proposition on Capitol Hill is impeding the path of fast-food crazed congressional staffers.


The ravenous masses on April 21 will once again have the opportunity to ravage unsuspecting minimum-wage workers during the annual Taco Bell Franchisee Congressional Reception.

The carnage should commence promptly at 5 p.m., with the full-contact gorging expected to subside by 6:30 p.m. — or whenever the shell-shocked tortilla flingers flee the Rayburn Cafeteria.

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Iowa Will Not Be Ignored

Whether courting home-schoolers or kicking it live with hog castrators (the new hockey moms?), would-be POTUSes have had it beaten into their skulls that the road to victory begins in Iowa.

Those who don’t have the faintest clue why the Midwest enjoys kingmaker status can, this fall, get a crash course in early caucusing from Steffen Schmidt, a professor of political science at Iowa State University.

Iowa Will Not Be Ignored

(Screenshot)

“Dr. Politics,” as he’s come to be known after decades of closely evaluating visiting presidential campaigns, wants to help demystify the caucus process via a four-part online program.

The Web-enabled tutorial is expected to peel back the curtain on the history of the Iowa caucuses, the mechanics of the inaugural contest, how the media plays into the process, and what it will all mean as we are collectively dragged, kicking and screaming, toward Election Day. Full story

April 14, 2015

Lawmaker’s One Elevator Rule: Pee Before You Get On

Lawmakers One Elevator Rule: Pee Before You Get On

Connolly, joking here with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday, is quick with a quip. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a typical scene at the Capitol Tuesday. The House had just finished its afternoon series of votes, the chamber was emptying and members were scrambling to get back to whatever it is members scramble back to their offices to do.

Full story

Rep. John Carney Is #AllAboutThatBasin

The hit Meghan Trainor song “All About That Bass” is, depending on whom you ask, either a feminist rallying cry in praise of unconventional body types or an exploitative dirge objectifying women’s derrières. And now Rep. John Carney, D-Del., might be forever linked to it.

How? The song is applicable, apparently, to a certain parochial concern, if you just get take “bass” and get rid of the second “s” and add an “in.” To wit, on Tuesday, a group of bipartisan Northeastern lawmakers rallied  to introduce the “Delaware River Basin Conservation Act,” which would make the restoration and preservation of the body of water and its surrounding area a government priority. Full story

Key Lime Pastry Pops Up at Ted’s Bulletin

Capitol Hill’s home for reimagined snack treats has flipped the script on a Sunshine State staple, (Just in time for Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential run? Hmm.) whipping up a house-made goodie accented with fruity key lime, crumbly graham cracker and fluffy whipped cream.

The flagship Ted’s Bulletin has been cranking out signature sweets from the get-go, tempting passersby with display cases full of freshly baked cakes, pies and custom treats.

A key lime production Monday joined the platoon of pop tarts Pastry Chef Todd Miller and his crew crank out morning, noon and night.

Key Lime Pastry Pops Up at Ted’s Bulletin

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The bonus breakfast offering joins another seasonal player, salted caramel, on the revolving roster of oral entertainment. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:12 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Restos

Take Five: Rep. Dina Titus

Take Five: Rep. Dina Titus

(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 legislative work.

This week, the multitalented (and potential Senate contender) Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., talks about teaching, traveling and tap dancing. Yes, tap dancing. Full story

By Megan Evans Posted at 5 a.m.
TakeFive

April 13, 2015

Lawmakers Lace Up Their Cleats for Charity Soccer Match

Lawmakers Lace Up Their Cleats for Charity Soccer Match

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., will take the field once again. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ten members of Congress will trade their suits for soccer jerseys next week to compete in the third annual Capital Soccer Classic.

The game is scheduled for Tuesday at RFK Stadium in the District of Columbia. Though it is free to attend the game, donations from the event’s sponsors will benefit the U.S. Soccer Foundation, which encourages the growth of soccer in the United States, particularly in underprivileged communities. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:26 a.m.
Reps, Sports Desk

Exit Interview: Scott Overland Cherishes Congressional Cutups

Leaving the friends he made and inspirational figures he encountered while working on Capitol Hill is no easy task for former staffer Scott Overland.

But he’s made his peace with moving on (Best of luck leading the pack as PetSmart’s man for legislative affairs!) by clinging to the joie de vivre inculcated in him by quick-witted pols.

The communications pro flexed his messaging muscles in both chambers, working first for former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., and most recently for Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

Each man, he suggested, knew how to keep things pretty lively. Full story

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