Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 5, 2015

January 28, 2014

Comics Lambast GOP in ‘State of the Uterus’ Address

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” is no longer willing to take the legislating of women’s bodies lying down. That’s why she’s storming the Web late on Tuesday — and all 50 state capitals later this fall — to rail against any infringement against reproductive rights.

Winstead is venting some of that anger via the “State of the Uterus 2014” address she will deliver via Lady Parts Justice after President Barack Obama and all his Republican opponents are done jaw-boning for the night. Full story

Capitol Hill Fox Resurfaces Pre-SOTU

Looks like someone just realized there’s going to be an army of television crews and paparazzi pointing and shooting their way across the Capitol this evening.

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

After disappearing from view for nearly two full weeks, the Capitol Hill Fox came out of hiding Tuesday to high-tail it over toward the big show.

A tipster said he saw the furry celeb racing across First Street Northeast, decamping from the camera-less Supreme Court area to the media-rich environment of the East Front.

“Smaller than I expected,” the fox spotter noted.

View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

Whaddaya expect from a cross-city marathoner?

Welcoming Jesse Ferguson Back to D.C.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide Jesse Ferguson is returning to D.C. after hitting the road last year to deal with a bout of cancer.

Friends are excited to welcome him back to the political fray the best way they know how: by bending the elbow together in #ThisTown. Full story

Harry Reid Admits to Dozing Off During Previous SOTUs

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confessed Tuesday to dozing off during past State of the Union addresses, though not on President Barack Obama’s watch.

The response came somewhat unexpectedly when the Nevada Democrat was asked if there was anything he would not want to hear from Obama in the speech.

“The only thing that would ever trouble me [is if he] said ‘Reid, stop dozing off,'” Reid said. “I, frankly, have dozed off once or twice. Not during the Obama years, of course.”

Full story

American Grill’s Super Bowl Burger Clash

Restaurant Associates is playing on Super Bowl mania by serving up a pair of custom burgers designed to stoke fans’ competitive natures.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The dueling delicacies pay tribute to the chief playmakers on the top NFL teams this season, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Each of the featured burgers ($7.95 a pop) is supposed to be a carbon copy of novelty eats developed in each team’s respective hometowns, though RA appears to have again dropped the ball a bit.

The “Beast Burger” is modeled after the “Beast Mode” concessions served at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The original is forged from two hamburger patties, ham, twin slices of bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a signature side of Skittles (Lynch’s go-to sweet).

The American Grill menu says something to the same effect (no mention of ham), but does not deliver on those promises. Full story

Duck Dynasty Star Stirs Up Pre-SOTU Drama

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McAllister, left, invited Willie Robertson to the State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Twitter went a little crazy Tuesday, after it appeared that a pair of U.S. lawmakers might be trying to lay claim to the same reality TV star as their State of the Union “get.”

Congressional reporter Jamie Dupree touched off the social media firestorm by blasting out that Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., had snagged A&E personality Willie Robertson for the big night.



The problem was that Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister had already trumpeted that Robertson was accompanying him to the House chamber.



Team Inhofe suggested that something had gotten lost in translation.

“A senator was searching for available tickets for the Duck Dynasty crew, and Senator Inhofe was asked if he had an available ticket. Despite what has been reported, Willie is not using Senator Inhofe’s ticket,” an Inhofe aide told HOH.

So, who does Inhofe plan to have on his arm during the main event?

“At this time, the ticket is available for his wife, who is in town,” staff stated.

Robertson starred in an ad supporting McAllister in Louisiana’s 5th District special election.

Pete Seeger Struck a Chord With America

Famed folk singer Pete Seeger has died, leaving a void in the socially conscious musicverse that’s been felt all the way to the Oval Office.

“Once called ‘America’s tuning fork,’ Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community — to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be,” President Barack Obama eulogized the nonagenarian balladeer in an official statement.

“Over the years, Pete used his voice — and his hammer — to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pete’s family and all those who loved him,” Obama shared with the nation.

Seeger was never one to fear ringing the White House’s bell, directing one of his clearest call to arms, “Dear Mr. President,” to then-commander in chief Franklin D. Roosevelt:



January 27, 2014

Grassley Aide Leaves His Mark on D.C.

David Young may not be as present these days on Capitol Hill as he used to be while playing traffic cop for Sen. Charles E. Grassley, but his name has managed to stick.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The former chief of staff for the Iowa Republican left D.C. last year to pursue a bid for the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa — but not before affixing this discarded ID badge on the back of a parking sign at the corner of Second and E streets Northeast.

The amateur vandal has since switched gears and is now running for the House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa.

Pols Seed SOTU Crowd With Living Talking Points

President Barack Obama may be the only one with an open mic during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but members of Congress are surrounding themselves with guests who speak volumes about their personal priorities.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are rolling out the red carpet for flesh-and-blood political statements from all walks of life, including:

Budding Politicos

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has invited 11-year-old Zev Dickstein, an aspiring political activist, to accompany her to the speech. Per Warren’s office, Dickstein began volunteering on political campaigns two years ago and has already served as campaign manager for a committee race at Cambridge Street Upper School in Cambridge, Mass.

Combat Veterans

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, has invited retired Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny ”Joey” Jones to accompany him to the speech. Jones, who lost the majority of both of his legs while disarming improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, now assists a slew of veteran-aiding organizations (Boot Campaign, Armed Forces Foundation, Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors).

Food Insecurity

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has invited Witnesses to Hunger member Tianna Gaines-Turner to accompany him during the speech. The working mom and advocate is part of a network of cash-strapped Americans on the front lines of the war against hunger. A Witness to Hunger aide said Casey has been a staunch supporter for years, helping the group organize an exhibition of members’ photos in the Russell Rotunda as well as back home in Pennsylvania.


Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., has invited former lumber mill operator Jennifer Phillippi to accompany him during the speech. As the owner of the now-shuttered Rough and Ready Lumber operation, Phillippi remains out of work due to a shortage of raw materials. According to Walden, the Senate could provide some relief by acting on a languishing bill the House approved last fall. Full story

Picturing POTUS in a Different Light

It’s not every day that the leader of the free world invites himself into our collective living room.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So it’s very likely that Tuesday’s nationally televised State of the Union address will be the most animated that many Americans will see President Barack Obama all year.

Not so on the Internet, where the artsiest among us expend a great deal of time and energy reimagining what various presidents might look like under different circumstances.

Some unload on conservative policies (such as Ronald Reagan’s famous “trickle down” philosophy):

(Courtesy Egar Enterprises)

(Courtesy Egar Enterprises)


Full story

January 26, 2014

Parting the Red or Blue Sea | Capitol Quip


It’s that time of the year again, the congressional Super Bowl, better known as the State of the Union. This brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Note that the caption can come from either side of the aisle this week, or both even. 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

Pull Over for This Caption | 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.

January 24, 2014

Cantwell Backs Richard Sherman, Blames Crabtree, Rebuffs McCain

Cantwell (CQ Roll Call File Photo/Bill Clark)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:56 p.m. | Sen. Maria Cantwell is defending cornerback Richard Sherman after Sen. John McCain ripped him as “a loudmouth from Seattle” following his boastful rant after the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC Championship victory.

The Washington Democrat told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree is to blame for provoking Sherman.

“If I had a Richard Sherman jersey, I’d wear it,” Cantwell said when asked about McCain’s remarks.

“I think he should focus on changing the name of the Washington football team that right now is an insult to Native Americans,” Cantwell told the newspaper.

The NFL disagreed with Cantwell, fining Sherman $7,875 for taunting (not, as we originally wrote, for the outburst).

SOTU Watch Party Patrol

Updated Jan. 27, 2:35 p.m. | For true political junkies, the House chamber is the ONLY place to be come 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

That’s when President Barack Obama will share his annual State of the Union address with select guests, the entirety of Congress, whatever members of the Supreme Court cross the street to attend and anyone who happens to tune in to a major network or cable news channel that evening.

If creeping into the Capitol is a non-starter, perhaps you’ll be more comfortable at one of the SOTU watch parties cropping up all over town.

Here’s what we’ve found in the immediate area (radiating out from the Hill):


The Capitol Hill standby (223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) will be cranking the flat-screen TVs in the upstairs lounge and offering free eats (truffle popcorn, hummus with flat bread) and discounted drinks ($4 Peronis, $5 red/white/sparkling wines, $5 rails) during Obama’s speech.

Generation Opportunity’s Inaugural SOTU Watch Party

“For too long politicians have talked down to young people and it’s time that young people start talking back,” Gen Opp spokesman David Pasch said of the inaugural event at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove (329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.) The party, which will feature light hors d’oeuvres and two hours of open bar, is scheduled to run 8-10 p.m.

They’ve also created a SOTU drinking game that should slake the modern thirst for social-media stardom.

“Twitter will be displayed live on a screen with responses to the SOTU in correspondence with the game. It’s totally interactive and people around the country can participate even if they can’t make it to the event in person,” Pasch told HOH.

The group hopes to accommodate up to 100 guests. Register here.

Washington Examiner’s SOTU Bingo

The news outlet is hosting its debut SOTU Bingo fest at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE) from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

The self-styled game — “war on women,” “Solyndra” and “make no mistake” are just some of the buzzwords/phrases players shouldn’t sleep on — will feature giveaways ranging from a $100 Visa gift card (grand prize) to Examiner swag. “Everyone should leave with something,” Team Examiner suggested.

Drink specials include half-price Belgian beers, half-price bottles of wine, $14 buckets of Goose Island beers, $5 infused bourbons, $5 Jameson and $5 signature Examiner cocktail.

Register here.

Busboys and Poets

All four locations of D.C. mayoral candidate Andy Shallal’s politically progressive eateries will broadcast Obama’s speech in their respective viewing rooms. A B&P aide suggested that each restaurant would likely offer some sort of specials, and noted that the Arlington Democrats are expected to host a panel discussion about the speech at the Shirlington, Va., outpost.

The viewing parties are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and are open to the general public. (No RSVP required.)

5th Annual SOTU Progress Party

A handful of left-leaning organizations will again take over Local 16 (1602 U St. NW) from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. for a pro-Obama blowout. Network for Progress President Jim McBride said upward of 500 people have participated in the communal watch party in years past.

“We expect a few hundred,” he suggested of the latest go-around.

The long-running shindig features discounted food and drink deals ($5 beers and rails), a $1 raffle (gift certificates to Local 16, Taan Noodles and Absolute Noodle are all up for grabs this year), a $20 discount for first-time Uber users and complimentary admissions to Nakid Social Sports leagues.

Register here.

The Diner

The Diner (2453 18th St. NW) plans to ply SOTU fans with cheap wings and discounted pitchers from 8 p.m. till last call.

The kitchen will crank out chicken wings for 50 cents a pop, while bartenders will be pouring $18 pitchers of Peak Organic Brewing Co. Nut Brown Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Baltimore Washington Brew Works Pendulum Pilsner and Brewery Ommegang Witte all night.

Featured raffle prizes run the gamut from a complimentary dessert to tickets to a local sporting event. No RSVP required.


The sports entertainment hub (707 G St. NW) is playing up SOTU by broadcasting the speech on 50 TVs and rolling out extended happy hour specials. Discounted deals include: $4 domestic drafts, $5 rail drinks, $6 glasses of wine and 20 percent off appetizers. No RSVP required.

Star & Shamrock

The Atlas District pub (1341 H St. NE) is getting politically active with its “politics & pints & pastrami” promotion. Guinness reps will be on hand from 6 to 9 p.m. to pour brews and silkscreen custom T-shirts (free with the purchase of a Guinness or Harp). The watch party will take place from 9 to 11 p.m. No RSVP required.

Flying High With Former N.H. Sen. Bob Smith

Ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown may not have officially announced his candidacy for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, but former Sen. Bob Smith has — sort of.

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican lawmaker has filed papers for the New Hampshire Senate seat he held for 12 years — though he hasn’t exactly announced his candidacy formally.

He is, however, hitting the D.C. circuit in search of money and support. And HOH had the unplanned pleasure of sitting next to him on his return flight from Baltimore to Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.

If you ask Smith, he has every intention of beating sitting New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and fellow Senate alumnus Brown.

“I’m not running for my health. I’m serious,” Smith told HOH over the course of a roughly 45-minute discussion that ranged from the current race to the sheer magnitude of the universe. (He couldn’t seem to shake a recent Discovery Channel special on the solar system.) Full story

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