Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 3, 2015

January 17, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Jan. 13 (Video)

Members speak Spanglish, salute landlords and remind us that calcium is in fact part of a nutritious diet in this week’s Congressional Hits and Misses.

January 16, 2014

Bill Frist’s Plane Trip Was in the Toilet

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist did not feel he got the first-class treatment he deserved from United Airlines after a parade of passengers noisily purged their systems in his immediate earshot.



The Tennessee Republican was bummed right off the bat. Full story

Georgia Farmers Are Just Nuts About Saxby Chambliss

Peanut producers in the Peach State want to help draw Sen. Saxby Chambliss out of his shell.

The second-term Georgia Republican on Thursday become only the fifth inductee into the Peanut Hall of Fame, an elite club — “Induction in the Peanut Hall of Fame is the highest recognition one can receive from the growers in the state of Georgia,” the congratulatory press release asserts — created by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Previous honorees include President Jimmy Carter and the late Sen. Herman Talmadge, D-Ga.

The trade group hailed Chambliss’ leadership as a former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, effectively commending him for never cracking during farm bill negotiations. Full story

Hill Salon Offers Free Services This Sunday

(Courtesy Cole Stevens Salon)

(Courtesy Cole Stevens Salon)

Beauty maven Diane Stevens is celebrating her two-year anniversary on Capitol Hill by offering free trims, basic stylings and hair therapy treatments on Jan. 19 as part of her “First 100 Weeks Neighborhood Meetup.”

The complimentary sessions at Cole Stevens Salon (1210 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) will be available — reservation requests should be directed to: — between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

In addition to serving Continental breakfast, the salon is treating guests to:

  • A complimentary haircut for men or women (including consultation, shampoo, cut and basic styling. Additional charge for complete flat ironing); or,
  • A complimentary intensive treatment (to hydrate, repair, restore your scalp and nurture your hair to health)

New clients can also avail themselves of a special introductory offer featuring a custom cut and highlights for women ($149). “They will be as bold or conservative as you want,” a salon spokeswoman suggested.

Cole Stevens Salon: 1210 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-547-4444;

January 15, 2014

Five Quips in the Cupboard | 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. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • They went to the PACs, To raise them some bread;
    When they came back, The lesser off were dead!
  • C’Mon, throw us a bone.
  • It’s time to teach you to beg.
  • Good thing I got my pay raise before this happened.
  • Empty stomachs, sure, but at least our pockets are lined.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Sunday and in the following 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 6:41 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Party’s Over for Jim Moran

Democratic Rep. James P. Moran is not just through with Congress. He’s done with fundraising, it seems.

On Wednesday afternoon, political donors received an emailed heads-up that an upcoming Moran fundraiser was kaput.

Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 3.36.36 PM

Said fundraiser was set to take place on Jan. 24 at Art & Soul restaurant.

It was to be a luncheon with “suggested contributions” ranging from $500 to $2,500 that would have gone toward the Moran for Congress campaign.

The Carper and Coburn Travel Agency | Madisonville

Some causes look so doomed that all you can do is sit back and admire the pointlessness. So it felt Tuesday, when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee looked for ways to make sure government employees aren’t wasting money on travel and conferences. As anyone who’s ever packed a bag knows, the value of a trip or conference is only clear after it’s over.

Madisonville-Logo(185x185)Changing the wasteful-spending-on-travel-and-conferences culture in government is like changing an aircraft engine during the flight, said Chairman Thomas R. Carper of Delaware. Carper didn’t mean it that way, but that’s about as good an illustration of pointlessness as you’re likely to find.

Ranking member Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said that as a physician, he used to attend conferences. About half of them were good ones and about half weren’t, he said. If even penny-pinching Citizen Coburn can spend his own money wisely only half the time, what chance does the government have?

Not that the two senators weren’t helpful.

Carper, for example, told two administration officials they could save money by booking travel after 6 p.m. And Coburn wondered whether they’d ever used to avoid booking charges. Carper helpfully noted that the sooner they book their trips, the less they cost.

The Delaware Democrat also told them that if a conference is financially justifiable in a given location, it should be held there even if the place is desirable. This could mean government agencies are so spooked by bad publicity that they’re ordering their employees off to Buffalo, N.Y., for conferences or it could mean that Carper’s home-state office isn’t being entirely truthful to him about why nobody is going to Wilmington, Del. Full story

Welcome Back, You Crazy Kids!

The second session of the 113th Congress is now fully under way.

And while we’re happy for the steady stream of fresh content, the truth is, it is an election year. So who knows how much time we have with the following striking personalities once the legislative wheels come careening off.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Folk hero? Conniving villain? Canadian?



We prefer to think of Cruz as the Senate’s wildest card. Full story

Overheard: Klobuchar Quizzes Law School Profs

“I first want to note for the record that two of the witnesses were my law professors. Professor Stone taught evidence and Professor Sunstein was my administrative law professor. And they both were fans of the Socratic method, so this is my revenge.”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar prepares to put the screws to her past during a serendipitous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Scoring Points With the Capitol Hill Fox

As most social media users can attest, virtually everyone and their grandmother here in D.C. is now on the lookout for the Capitol Hill Fox.



Not that pining to see the auburn-colored adventurer necessarily equates to enjoying an audience with the media darling. (Dry those tears, Liz. We know you’ll get your chance one day!)

Of course, there are ways to draw out God’s creatures. In fact, Steve Hofman believes it’s even possible to befriend frequent feral visitors.

The former House staffer didn’t mention having to deal with any wild animals (political or otherwise) during his days working for the GOP leadership. But he struck up a rather interesting acquaintance after moving out west.

(Courtesy Steve Hofman)

(Courtesy Steve Hofman)

“My wife and I had our own pet fox, Junior, who visited our home in Colorado at least twice a day,” the Steamboat Springs resident told HOH.

“Junior,” Hofman explained, was never fully domesticated (continued living in the wild), but did grow quite comfortable with the family.

“He would walk up my driveway with me in getting our morning paper, sit at my feet on our front porch, and take food out of my hand. And, oh yes, entertain all our visitors, particularly those from the East who never saw a fox they didn’t run from,” Hofman said of the rapport they developed over time. Full story

January 14, 2014

Marilu Henner Serves Congress Some Food for Thought

Author and organic dining advocate Marilu Henner will join the members of the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association on Wednesday for some frank talk about what we should and should not be putting into our bodies in 2014.

(Courtesy Robert Sebree)

(Courtesy Robert Sebree)

Henner and vegan cookbook author Kathy Freston will tag-team a policy luncheon scheduled to take place from noon to 2 p.m. in room HVC 201 of the Capitol Visitor Center. The event, which will feature complimentary vegan tacos from Ape Man Foods and cupcakes from Sticky Fingers bakery, is open to all Hill staff and interns.

The duo had originally planned to commune with congressional vegans last fall, but things got derailed by the government shutdown.

Henner is no stranger to Washington, having testified before Congress on more than a half-dozen occasions to date. She’s weighed in on topics ranging from nutritional standards to deadbeat parents — including a 2004 effort to reshape the ever-evolving, administration-designed food pyramid.

Were she ultimately calling the shots, Henner might push pet projects such as augmenting food labeling and including hydration in dietary guidelines. For now, she’s most interested in having people swear off the “extreme flavors” that sway day-to-day dining decisions.

“We have to get away from processed foods,” Henner warned HOH, labeling excess fats, salt and sugar as the root causes of rampant unhealthiness. “We know that something is wrong. You just have to look around, America. We are stuffing our faces but starving our bodies.”

Henner said she’s been practicing mindful eating for more than three decades — “It was a Wednesday,” the memory maven quipped about her “health” birthday (Aug. 15, 1979) — adhering to a strict regimen of nourishing and natural foods.

“A plant-based diet is really where it’s at,” she told HOH, noting that eating organically helped her shed 54 pounds and trim her cholesterol by 100 points.

Furthermore, she challenged lawmakers to quit kowtowing to animal product peddlers (cattleman’s lobby, dairy farmers) and get with the times.

“I want Congress to catch up with the people,” she said of the groundswell of support for everything from meticulous monitoring of genetically modified organisms to just plain smarter eating. “There is a tsunami of health you cannot stop.”

Capitalizing on Capitol Hill Fox

Back when we began chronicling the adventures of the local legend now known as Capitol Hill Fox, the pointy-eared wonder was still scurrying into bushes to avoid prying eyes.

What a difference a week makes.

These days, the CHF is clearly living out loud — posing for pics at will and even performing for tourists who visited the Capitol this weekend.

An Architect of the Capitol aide said crew members encountered the camera-loving critter early Tuesday morning while making their rounds on the West Front. “It’s not our first sighting, but it is our first photo,” the administrative aide said, adding that groundskeepers described the animal as “docile” and felt it “looked healthy.”

It’s clear the CHF is here to stay.

In fact, our friends at DCist attempted to reverse-engineer its origin story, positing that the imagination-capturing interloper may, in fact, be the same wily character that feasted on first lady Michelle Obama’s untended kitchen garden during last year’s government shutdown.

We’re less concerned with where it came from than what to do with it now that the local community has obviously embraced it.

Here are a couple of win-win scenarios to consider:

BFF Camp

Have congressional aide Andrew Aydin bring his beloved pooch, Delilah, to work.

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

Walk the dog around until she either sniffs out the CHF or the CHF comes bounding out for its daily photo op.

Release Delilah and let the Disney magic ensue. Full story

Sean Patrick Maloney Ready to Tie the Knot With Randy Florke

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After spending the past two decades together — and raising three children in the interim — there’s only one thing left for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and his longtime partner, Randy Florke, to do: make everything official.

The New York Democrat formally announced his engagement to Florke late Monday night, ushering forth a new chapter in their closely intertwined life stories.

“After 21 years together, we are excited for the next step in our journey as a family,” Maloney and Florke declared in a joint statement. “For decades, we’ve fought to ensure that all families can experience the joys of loving commitment and we are proud to have our friends and family share this special moment with us in the near future.”

New York adopted a law allowing same-sex unions in 2011.

According to various media reports, Florke popped the question on Christmas Day. A Maloney aide said the pair is still ironing out the specifics (“No date or location announced yet,” Team Maloney assured HOH), but congressional colleagues are already champing at the bit for details.




January 13, 2014

Arena Stage Fetes Marcia Fudge

Arena Stage plans to honor Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, on Thursday with a multi-tiered shindig featuring a VIP cocktail hour, seated dinner, opening night performance and post-play dessert reception.

Fudge will be honored by Arena Stage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Fudge will be honored by Arena Stage for her support of the arts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The local theater (1101 Sixth St. SW) plans to bestow its annual American Voice Award upon the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus in recognition of her unwavering support for the arts. Politicos who have previously received the award include: Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.; Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran; ex-Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and  Tom Davis, R-Va.; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and late lawmakers Robert Matsui, D-Calif., and Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii.

According to an Arena Stage aide, Fudge — who also happens to live in the neighborhood — is being commemorated for her contributions to the Arts and Rock and Roll caucuses, as well as her support for the Congressional Art Competition. And while she does not spend too much time in the actual theater (“Congresswoman Fudge does not regularly attend performances at Arena Stage,” our tipster said), the organization is looking forward to welcoming politically connected well-wishers to the party.

Per theater staff, Arena Stage regular and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is expected to be on hand for the festivities, as are Fudge’s Democratic House colleagues Corinne Brown of Florida, Steven Horsford of Nevada, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, John Lewis of Georgia, Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands, Donald M. Payne Jr. of New Jersey, Robin Kelly of Illinois and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Moran.

Actress Kathleen Turner, who is starring in Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” this season at Arena Stage, will also be honored that evening; she’ll be receiving the American Artist Award.

Capitol Hill Fox: On the Hunt

Not only were there a plethora of Capitol Hill Fox sightings over the weekend, but our crowd-pleasing pal even sprang into action.



Evan Gildenblatt, a Kent State University alumnus, live-tweeted the latest CHF chronicles after spotting the fearless furball sunning itself on the lawn in front of the Capitol.

No longer satisfied with merely being an object of adulation, the CHF apparently decided to strike a little fear into the hearts of local admirers by savagely dispatching a too-slow squirrel.  “He put on a helluva of a show, … an old-fashioned safari-style kill,” the awestruck observer shared via Twitter.

Gildenblatt, who witnessed the chase and capture from start to finish, told HOH the brutal display happened right around 4:45 p.m. — prime time for visitors snapping pictures of the glowing Capitol just as the sun retreated beneath the horizon. Full story

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