Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 8, 2015

March 25, 2014

The Coupe Attempts to Stir Up D.C. Mayoral Contest

The Coupe is seeking to capitalize on the swirling race to take the reins of D.C. by running a straw swizzle stick poll featuring cocktails married to the current crop of mayoral hopefuls.

(Courtesy The Coupe)

(Courtesy The Coupe)

Staff at the Columbia Heights hangout (3415 11th St. NW) were upfront about the fact that the signature beverages, which formally debuted last week, bear no direct relation to the corresponding pols. “They were very randomly assigned,” a Coupe aide told HOH.

Still, the restaurant is hoping to stir up some civic discourse by encouraging patrons to “vote” via drink orders — the official tallying of the boozy bellwethers begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will continue through midnight on April 1 — and welcoming candidates to drop off campaign materials while the contest is on.

Ballot bait includes:

  • Vincent Gray — “French Bikini” (white cane juice rum, coconut cream, lime, hibiscus syrup)
  • Carlos Allen — “Bas Bulles” (armagnac, Benedictine)
  • Muriel Bowser — “Harvard” (cognac, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters)
  • Bruce Majors — “Suzette” (Suze liqueur, brown butter, French gin, Licor 43, dry curacao, lemon)
  • David Catania — “Royal Reviver” (gin, yellow chartreuse, cognac, dry curacao)
  • Jack Evans — “Byrvardier” (rye, byrrh, Aperol)
  • Tommy Wells — “Fraise Royal” (strawberry puree, sparkling wine)
  • Reta Jo Lewis — “Pomme d’Or” (calvados, dry vermouth, yellow chartreuse, thyme)
  • Vincent Orange — “ Kir Royal” ( crème de cassis, sparkling wine)
  • Andy Shallal — “Left Ear” (absinthe, flaming sugar cube)

As our friends in Chi-town might say, “Vote early and often.”

Query Us Behavior: All Sexed Up Edition

Every time over the last month that we have fired up the computer to try and do a little (OK, very little) work, it’s been there, staring us right in the face.

Day in and day out we’ve been haunted by those two little words that have apparently become synonymous with the Heard on the Hill brand: Zimbabwean porn.

That’s right.

All you preverts out there on the other side of the interwebz CANNOT stop searching for any mention of the lascivious activities that got ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.,  booted from south central Africa.

Every day since then, whenever we log in to our trusty back-end site, the online search gods remind — nay, mock! — us that you, our beloved readers, most likely made your way to this treasure trove of triviality with lust in your hearts. We’re no prudes, but this thing has graduated from basic “Where Are They Now?” curiosity to  full-on creepy obsession.

Even if we purged the key driver — Zimbabwean porn — from the equation, there’s still plenty of other threads folks cling to whilst making their way here, including:

  • rep porn (top six over the last 90 days)
  • porn rep (top seven)
  • zimbabwen porn (tough to spellcheck when distracted, huh?)
  • zimbabwe porn (real timesaver, shaving of those two bulky last letters)
  • zimbabweanporn (that you, E. E. Cummings?)
  • mika brzezinski hot (we’ll pass along your warm regards)
MSNBC talk-show host Mika Brzezinski (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

MSNBC talk-show host Mika Brzezinski (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Washington Monument to Re-Open May 12

Workers began dismantling the scaffolding around the monument in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Workers began dismantling the scaffolding around the monument in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Washington Monument sheds its final layer of scaffolding later this week in preparation for the monument’s May 12 re-opening.

Repairing the 150 cracks caused by the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked D.C. in August 2011 shut down the monument to visitors for 32 months. It is now in the final stages of the $15 million restoration.

“We are delighted to be in the homestretch with the repairs to the Washington Monument almost complete, and we look forward to the re-opening on May 12 so we can once again welcome visitors to this iconic monument to our nation’s first President,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement.

Because of the nearly three-year closure, the NPS plans to begin extended operating hours on May 12. The monument will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the end of summer.

The NPS and the Trust for the National Mall will host a re-opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 12, and the first tour will kick off at 1 p.m. Those who want to be a part of the opening day tours should plan to come early. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that day at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street between Madison and Jefferson drives.

Tickets for May 13 and all future dates will be available online, starting on April 16 at 10 a.m.

Jarvis thanked philanthropist David Rubenstein for his $7.5 million donation, made via the trust, which funded half of the repair bill. Rubenstein’s support “sets a high standard for park philanthropy nationwide and is appreciated by every visitor who will learn something about President Washington or simply enjoy the view from the top,” Jarvis said.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:26 p.m.
AwesomeSauce, DC

‘Nekkid’ vs. ‘Naked’: Alan Simpson Explains the Difference

“If you’re naked, you don’t have any clothes on, but if you’re nekkid you don’t have any clothes on but you’re up to something.”

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., explained the distinction in a phone interview with the Des Moines Register Monday.  The 82-year-old reportedly answered the phone and had to leave for a moment because he said he was “stark nekkid.”

Simpson, up to something? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Simpson, up to something? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Simpson spoke with the Des Moines Register ahead of a speech at Simpson College in Iowa Thursday night.

The interview also covered the Republican’s support of same-sex marriage, his critiques of the Iowa caucuses, why he admires Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the importance of the federal debt and why “extremists” caused Republicans to lose control of the Senate.

Simpson retired from the Senate in 1996 after serving three terms and is known for his role in the the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan for deficit reduction.



Mitch McConnell’s Ad-Maker Mistakes Duke Blue Devils for Kentucky Wildcats

It only lasted a few seconds, but one shot in a Web video released Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign caught the attention of eagle-eyed college hoops fans.

The video highlighted the Kentucky Republican who would become majority leader in a GOP-led Senate, but a video montage of bluegrass greatness included shots of the basketball teams from the University Louisville and (gasp) Duke University. That’s not the NCAA champion blue-and-white team the ad makers had in mind. It should have featured the University of Kentucky Wildcats, of course.



Full story

House Hopeful Brent Roske Mulls Congressional Council



Brent Roske, the entertainment vet currently running as an independent to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., is brainstorming all kinds of ways to stay ahead of the burgeoning pack of contenders who’ve cropped up around him — including bringing some of them under his wing.

In a campaign spot shot somewhat on the fly March 23 — Roske swears it was done in one continuous take, with no teleprompter — the political neophyte builds upon an earlier plan to tag-team the job with Waxman, opening up potential slots on a “congressional district council” to the handful of fellow candidates he believes are most serious about the job.

Brent Roske for Congress (CA-33) - Commercial from Brent Roske for CA-33 on Vimeo.

Per the plan, a newly elected Roske would seek to convene weekly meetings with challengers he feels are most qualified to help him plug experience gaps, a roster that includes: former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel (fiscal issues), former candidate Bill Bloomfield (fiscal issues), state Sen. Ted Lieu (district concerns), Democratic candidates Barbara Mulvaney and Matt Miller (policy issues) and fellow independent candidate Marianne Williamson (cooperative governing).

“Just to be clear, I haven’t asked any of these people whether or not they’ll serve on this council,” Roske said. “But I bet if I get elected, they’ll show up.”

Roske told HOH his original offer to Waxman still stands, but noted he had not heard from the congressman about teaming up.

In terms of televising his work day on the Hill — part of his plan to deliver an “accessible open Congress” to constituents — Roske noted that he’s not yet worked out all the logistics of bringing a “Truman Show”-like experience to Capitol Hill, but he’s fired up about giving it a go.

“I would continuously be pushing the envelope if I was told ‘no’ in any particular circumstances,” Roske said of his desire to bring the public even deeper into the political process than is currently allowed, adding, “What I have in mind … is a totally different animal than C-SPAN.”

His last plank, a weekly stump speech out on the steps of the Capitol, has a very “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” ring to it. Which, it seems, is exactly what Roske is going for.

“It would be brazenly patriotic,” he said of the rah-rah rhetoric he hopes to shower upon slowly shuffling staffers and wide-eyed tourists at the crack of dawn (7 a.m. Eastern) each Wednesday.

March 24, 2014

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obama’s Ear

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have recruited a number of professional athletes to discuss the benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle at an April 1 luncheon.

But the diet-conscious crusaders really want first lady and “Let’s Move!” founder Michelle Obama to throw her weight behind their mission.

“As you know, obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. The good news is that if every American adds two servings of fruits and vegetables to his or her diet, his or her risk for all-cause mortality will automatically decrease by 10 percent. If we move toward an entirely plant-based diet, we can cut the risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in America—in half,” PCRM Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard alerted FLOTUS in a March 24 letter inviting her to the “Teaming Up 4 Health” preview party scheduled to take place April 1 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in room 201 on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Barnard also invited Education Secretary Arne Duncan and acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak to the healthy eating event.

The luncheon, which will feature complimentary garden vegetable wraps supplied by Whole Foods, gourmet salads (carrot and beet, spring mix medley) and vegan baked goods from Banana Love Mufffins, is open to everyone, though organizers are hoping to cap attendance at 150.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to:

As part of the program, Barnard will lead a discussion with U.S. Olympic swimmer Kate Ziegler, triathlete and ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier, taekwondo world champion Daba Modibo Keita and CBS radio host Chuck Carroll.

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The group will also preview the “Teaming up 4 Health” campaign scheduled to go live April 8 — a multimedia effort set to include video testimonials, collectible trading cards and quickie recipes. Full story

GWAR Loses Frontman, World Loses Bloodthirsty Political Equalizer

Entertainer Dave Brockie, the human counterpart to intergalactic swordsman Oderus Urungus, died Sunday, leaving behind a massive void for metal-heads used to having the GWAR singer settle political scores for them.

As first reported by Style Weekly, Brockie, 50, was found dead at his home in Richmond, Va., on Sunday afternoon.

The inexhaustible showman carved out an amazing career for himself as the co-founder and face of GWAR, a heavy metal band as well known for its grotesque costumes and fake blood-soaked skits as it is for its ear-splitting performances.

Whether clad in his horned mask and generously proportioned body suit or not, Brockie was never one to hold his tongue. A few years back, he chewed out the U.S. State Department for presumably dragging its feet in fighting for the return of Lamb of God singer David Randall “Randy” Blythe from imprisonment in the Czech Republic, and waded into New Mexican primary challenges by endorsing then-House hopeful Sean Closson.

Brockie, however, did his best work on stage — mercilessly disposing of political foes, both domestic:


President Barack Obama


Full story

Maher’s Audience Targets Grimm, Farenthold

The first round of votes has come in: Reps. Michael G. Grimm of New York and Blake Farenthold of Texas are “fan favorites” — to be ousted from office in November.

The two lawmakers are among the total of 16 House Republicans who will be nominated via Twitter by the public over the coming weeks as part of political comedian and liberal firebrand Bill Maher’s #FlipaDistrict campaign.

Grimm, with friend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Grimm, with friend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Once all the candidates are narrowed down “bracket-style,” Maher will target the “winning” incumbent for defeat in the midterm elections.

Farenthold (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Farenthold (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maher won’t be running himself, of course, but the host of HBO’s “Real Time” has plenty of money to throw behind the official Democratic challenger, plus a coterie of fans enthusiastic to aid in the effort. Full story

DC-3 Shuttles Hot Dogs to the Hill

Gourmet wiener joint DC-3 is hoping to take a bigger bite of the congressional dining pie by rolling out delivery of its signature tube steaks to Capitol Hill.

The new service promises to connect hungry mouths in the halls of Congress with the nearly dozen well-dressed links heaped together on Barracks Row (423 Eighth St. SE) seven days a week. A minimum order of $15 is required — which works out to three stand-alone dogs, two combo meals (dog, chips, fountain drink) or four orders of deep-fried Oreos with a cotton candy chaser — and delivery is limited to a 1 mile radius of the restaurant.

(Courtesy matchboxfoodgroup)

(Courtesy Matchbox Food Group)

Apart from the locally inspired half-smoke (which features the hybrid link, sweet relish, yellow mustard and raw onion), the restaurant tips its hat to regional delicacies including: the Philly Cheesesteak, fully sport peppered and dill pickled Chicago-style offerings, dueling chili-covered Coneys (NYC and Cincinnati) and the cole slaw slathered West Virginia dog.

Bon appetit!

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:40 a.m.
Food, HillSide, Restos

March 23, 2014

Test Your Strength: Punish Putin | Capitol Quip


Following Russia’s invasion into the Crimea region of Ukraine, the former Soviet Union’s macho man President Vladimir Putin and American leaders are locked in a war of words (and sanctions) not seen or heard since the 1980s, which 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.

Is the Truth Catching Up With Brennan? | 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.

March 21, 2014

10 Things Sen. Dan Coats Will Miss Now That He’s Banned From Russia

Russia issued sanctions against nine U.S. officials Thursday, most of whom responded with statements and tweets saying they were proud to be on Russia’s list.

One of those lawmakers was Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., who tweeted this Thursday:

But upon further reflection, Coats realized there are some things he’ll miss now that he is banned from visiting Russia.

Full story

March 20, 2014

CFPB a Secret to One Secret Service Agent

“What the hell is the CFPB?” one Secret Service agent asked Steve Antonakes, deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Antonakes described this moment of confusion in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. Full story

John Lewis Breaks it Down

Pharrell’s hit song “Happy” has remained at the top of the charts for a month now, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., recently showed why the tune is such a hit.

Rachelle O’Neil, a staff assistant in Lewis’ office, posted two Facebook videos Wednesday of the congressman cutting the rug. O’Neil said the dance was part of a “long-awaited” birthday celebration.  (Lewis’ birthday was Feb. 21.)

“Be happy everybody, happy,” said Lewis.  “That’s what the government is supposed to do.”

Keep dancing, congressman.


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