Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

May 6, 2014

Arkansans Host Tornado Relief Happy Hour at Hawk ‘n’ Dove

Heartbroken Razorbacks can help funnel money back to their storm-ravaged state by attending the D.C. Chapter of the Arkansas Alumni Association’s “Helping Like a Hog” fundraiser Wednesday night at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove (320 Pennsylvania Ave. SE).

A tornado devastated central Arkansas, killing 16, on April 27. President Barack Obama is scheduled to survey the ongoing disaster relief efforts on Wednesday afternoon.

The charity happy hour is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature assorted drink specials, including a still-in-development “Arkansas-themed” cocktail ($3) as well as discounted beer ($3 Miller Lites), house wine ($4) and rail drinks ($5).

Chapter President Spencer Lucker assured HOH that 100 percent of the donations collected at the door would flow through to the American Red Cross, which has agreed to earmark the funds for Arkansas storm relief. Although there is no set fee to attend — “We’re open to any and all donations,” Lucker suggested — every $20 contributed earns the donor one entry into a special raffle.

Prizes include two sets of tickets to upcoming games at neighboring Nationals Park (gorgeous weather and timely floor wrap-up not included), as well as a gift bag assembled by the Personal Care Products Council.

Becerra Aides Help Spread Mariachi Madness

Sure, it’s a mostly manufactured holiday. But Cinco de Mayo can still mean big business here in D.C. — particularly for the well-connected musicians in Mariachi Los Amigos.

(Courtesy Team Becerra)

(Courtesy Team Becerra)

The band of rotating performers — an aide to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said the current troupe has been in place since late 2007; clips on their Facebook page suggest some iteration of the group has been enchanting fiesta-goers since at least 2001 — includes Daniel Herrera (violinist), who currently serves as deputy communications director for the House Democratic Caucus; Lorenzo Olvera (guitar), a former Becerra staffer; and Lorenzo’s brother Roberto Olvera (trumpet).

Monday was a big day for the boys; the band had been booked for four nearly back-to-back gigs, beginning with a dignitary-packed breakfast hosted by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the United States Naval Observatory. Full story

May 5, 2014

For Oberstar, Safe Routes to School Lives On

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James L. Oberstar is continuing to give to transportation causes, even posthumously.

Oberstar, who died over the weekend at age 79, served in the House for 36 years after working as a staffer, including as administrator of the old Committee on Public Works.

A death notice for the longtime Minnesota Iron Range congressman says the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations should be directed to either the Safe Routes to School National Partnership or So Others Might Eat.

Full story

Angus King Extends Reid an Open Invitation to Maine (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid  scored an unexpected invitation from Angus King to visit the independent senator’s home state of Maine.

King says Reid is welcome anytime in Maine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

King says Reid is welcome anytime in Maine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The invitation came after the Nevada Democrat conceded in a floor speech recognizing National Travel and Tourism Week that he had only once visited the state that calls itself Vacationland,  with King presiding over the chamber.

“This industry’s impact is not unique to Nevada. The presiding officer’s state of Maine, people go there year round — it slows down a little in the winter time — people go there year round because of the beauty of the state of Maine,” Reid said. “I’ve only been to Maine [on] one occasion, but I came as a tourist. I wanted to see that beautiful state, and I was able to do that.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5:07 p.m.

Congressional Democrats Host Pussy Riot

Senate Foreign Relation Committee member Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and House Judiciary Committee member Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., are giving members of Pussy Riot, the all female punk collective that famously ran afoul of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an open mic on Capitol Hill with which to rail against human rights abuse and political oppression.

Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are scheduled to participate in a press conference Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. over on the Senate side of the Capitol.

The world-renowned protestors, who each spent nearly two years behind bars for publicly badmouthing Putin, have been speaking out about the sorry state of affairs within their home country since their release in late 2013.

The two were reportedly guests at Yahoo!’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner party over the weekend. Full story

Which Members of Congress Attended White House Correspondents Association Dinner?

From left: Matt Lehrich, AshLee Strong, Fischer, Steven T. Dennis. (Christina Bellantoni/CQ Roll Call)

From left: White House’s Matt Lehrich, AshLee Strong of Sen. John Thune’s office, Fischer, Roll Call White House Correspondent Steven T. Dennis. (Christina Bellantoni/CQ Roll Call)

The White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a chance to see and be seen, and an evening when Washington’s elite can rub elbows with Hollywood elites. Members of Congress also frequently attend as guests of the media outlets.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., lamented (sort of) that it could be his last #WHCD given he isn’t seeking re-election this fall. Before President Barack Obama began his speech, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CQ Roll Call it was “getting old” that the president has so often taken jabs at him. (He didn’t get mentioned this time around.)

Roll Call’s guests included Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

Here is a list of the members who attended, according to the official program.

Full story

Post-WHCD, No Rest for D.C. Party Hoppers

Anyone get up to anything interesting this weekend?

For those of you who did not brave the press-packed ballrooms and glitterati-studded after-parties that have come to define White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend, This Town just finished indulging in epic amounts of booze, bad jokes and selfies.

The good news is there’s only 360-odd days until Hollywood next invades the nation’s capital — and immediately regrets it:



Assuming you and your liver remain on speaking terms, there are still plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with local “celebrities” in the days ahead:

On Tuesday, the Asian Republican Coalition plans to introduce itself to sitting politicos via a splashy rollout at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The program — which is expected to feature complimentary speeches by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., as well as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — kicks off promptly at 6:30 p.m. and flows right into cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada should interrupt the festivities at some point to provide their two cents (four cents?) on Asians and the GOP.

Also on Tuesday, the ASCAP Foundation, the engagement arm of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, will give another round of musicians their due at the “We Write the Songs 2014” celebration.

Performers at this year’s event, scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress beginning at 7 p.m., include:

Freewheeling bandleader Jon Batiste

Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is scheduled to introduce the N’awlins native. Full story

Alanis Morissette Sings Her Heart Out for Marianne Williamson

Award-winning songstress Alanis Morissette has released a new inspirational ditty. And it’s all about making the world a better place — by voting for House hopeful Marianne Williamson.

The anthemic “Today” — which includes the refrain, “Less we revive this constitution/From sure disintegration/Live out this revelation/Today” — was recorded by Morissette explicitly for Williamson’s campaign. Williamson, a self-help guru, is vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., in a race that has brought out dozens of potential successors looking to cast themselves as the official face of Hollywood in Washington, D.C.

Per Williamson’s campaign, Morissette was approached about putting together a musical tribute a few weeks back and immediately jumped at the opportunity.

“I was attempting to capture the passion, mission, activism, deep humanity and tenderness of Marianne, the new political sensibility she represents and the consciousness that produced it,” Morissette shared on YouTube about the writing experience, adding, “I love this song. I love this woman and I love a world that would vote for her.” Full story

So, Nancy Pelosi’s Tattoo Parlor Trip Makes More Sense Now

About a week ago, the Hungry Lobbyist Twitter account posed a truly baffling question:

Now we know.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was shooting a 22-second cameo for a video that aired at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3. The video went completely viral and is now closing in on 1 million views since it was posted online late that night.

Full story

May 4, 2014

Under the 6,100-Pound Doughnut | Capitol Quip

Capitol Rotunda

The Capitol is about to undergo extensive renovation to restore the iconic Dome and Rotunda, and workers have installed a massive 6,100-pound doughnut to make sure debris doesn’t get all over the place, hitting members, tourists and staffers. That 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Cliven Bundy’s Manifest Destiny | 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7 p.m.
Capitol Quip

WHCD Video of Joe Biden Goes Viral Overnight

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, but he was the star anyway.

Mid-way through the dinner, President Barack Obama presented a seven-minute long video of Biden taking “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus on an adventure around the White House and Washington, D.C.

Biden played a Steve McQueen-esque version of himself, sporting a bomber jacket and driving a Corvette around the grounds of the Naval Observatory while wearing aviators … at night.

Word spread fast online over the video. While dinner attendees rushed off to after-parties, and eventually bed, there were nearly 35,000 views of the video on YouTube as of 9:20 a.m.

Full story

May 3, 2014

Nancy Pelosi: A Good Sport

I learned Friday evening that one of the perils of making fun of people in public is that sometimes you encounter those individuals in real life. And sometimes they confess their epic photobomb was an “accident.”

A month or so ago, I saw a hilariously awkward photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in my Facebook feed. I had a bit of fun with it in this column space.

Pelosi photobomb

The post took about fifteen minutes to write and surprisingly garnered a lot of traffic — more than my usual stories about campaign media buys and Medicare Advantage.

Pelosi gamely responded on Twitter within an hour: “Oops.” It impressed me that whomever handles her account played along with the nonsense, and that I did not catch any hell from her office.

But I wasn’t prepared for actually meeting Pelosi not long after the post. But there she was at the Google/Netflix party, having a good time with a remarkably small entourage.

Full story

May 2, 2014

Too Much Regulation? There Oughta be a Law | Madisonville


Rep. Kevin Brady, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, underlined his solemnity of purpose on Wednesday by noting that congressional hearings too often get titled merely to attract attention. So he called his hearing: “The First Step to Cutting Red Tape: Better Analysis. ” If the number of people in the room was an indication, he succeeded in not attracting attention.

Two Minnesotans were enough to account for a third of the congressional participation, and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen hijacked a good chunk of time to promote the state’s medical device industry, described by some as “Minnesota’s medical alley.” That’s a fine echo of Silicon Valley if you can block out the image of used syringes littering a poorly lit street.

Red Tape is something all political denominations can agree on.  The pejorative Red Tape is one cue about how to think about it.  Better Analysis is just as uncontroversial, as long as everybody overlooks the reality that Better Analysis is the kind that supports the already established view of one side or another. Full story

Looking Up and Seeing Nancy Pelosi

There he was. Nearly 4,400 miles from home.

Just another Washington insider trying to enjoy a few precious moments in sunny Italy away from work without fixating on Congress or politics, when whom should his wandering gaze fall upon, but her.

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“That time you went to a restaurant in Florence on vacation and [House Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] has … enjoyed a meal there,” our tipster shared after stumbling upon a snapshot of the California Democrat during a recent European retreat.

Pelosi led a congressional delegation through the region in early 2009, stopping in Florence, Rome and Naples along the way.

Our forensics lab is still crunching all the data.

But the ‘do (length, hairstyle, color) seems to match this puckerrific pose captured just outside the Capitol in March of the same year.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Regardless of the time frame, the proud Italian-American leader appears to have made a lasting impression. Our overseas spy said her smiling mug is prominently featured “just under a picture of the owner with [singer Bruce] Springsteen, and on the same wall as photos with [actors John] Travolta and Brad Pitt — among others.”

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