Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 24, 2015

May 22, 2015

Lamar Alexander Pines to Play Piano Man

Nothing worse than watching plans for a nice, leisurely long holiday weekend dashed by the political ambitions of contrarian colleagues.

Unless, like Sen. Lamar Alexander, you also have a once-in-a-lifetime gig to attend to.

Lamar Alexander Pines to Play Piano Man

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’ll be very disappointed it I don’t make it,” the Tennessee Republican told HOH about the possibility of not being able to sit in Saturday for the farewell “Sunset Symphony” performance — a grand finale four decades in the making.

Alexander, who has been tickling the ivories since his youth, said he’s played the Memphis in May show only a handful of times — including a debut appearance in 1982, during which he recalls seeing around 150,000 people lined up along the banks of the might Mississippi while “Ol’ Man River” floated on the evening air — and is very excited about helping to bring the historic program to a close.

“It’s really a beautiful event,” he shared. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 18, 2015 (Video)

Members prepared for the holiday weekend by asking rhetorical questions, spit-shining their boots and potty-training the Capitol Police.

Full story

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

(Courtesy Carolyn Kaster/AP/Corbis)

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton Friday is dragging campaign reporters — kicking and screaming, no doubt — to one of the happiest places on earth. (No, it’s not Disney World.)

With her mind set on ascending from first spouse to commander-in-chief, HRC has begun bouncing between political bellwethers Iowa and New Hampshire. The planned pit stop at Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, N.H., is designed to serve as a backdrop for a discussion about small businesses, tax policy and Zzzzzzz.  

We all know the paparazzi just want to get the obligatory pic of Clinton bending the elbow — which she’s obviously done before.

Hillary Clinton Chugs Along

(Screenshot)

At least one fellow scribe has begun lobbying for equal time in wine country.

All this political hack wants to know is when Bills and Brews expects to get a hold of the tight-lipped candidate.

Confidence is medium that after knocking back a few with Matt Laslo, the truth might finally come out about whether she ever winged anything at Slick Willie back in the day.

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

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Jimmy Kimmel Pokes Fun at Capitol Police ‘Potty Training’

The SNAFU over their lost guns has launched Capitol Police into the ultimate pop-culture orbit: Being the butt of a late-night TV joke. After Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress officers would now undergo special training on weapons handling, Jimmy Kimmel panned the department’s “potty training” with a mock instructional video, “So You Want to Use the Bathroom While Carrying a Firearm.” Full story

May 21, 2015

One Staffer’s Personal Connection to American Fighter Aces

For one Hill staffer, Wednesday’s ceremony to honor the American Fighter Aces with the Congressional Gold Medal had special significance.

Billy Benjamin, the director of IT for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the grandson of Ace Carl Rieman. “Well, I recently came to learn that one of Carl’s grandsons works for me.  His name is Billy Benjamin.  Billy is in charge of our technology — when I can’t get my iPhone to work, he gets the call.  He’s a good guy … big Washington Redskins fan, but we can forgive him for that,” Boehner said at the ceremony,” after recounting the late Rieman’s exploits in the Pacific theater.

“It’s through Billy’s perspective that we can understand why this medal is so important,” Boehner added.

Full story

By Megan Evans Posted at 3:44 p.m.
HillSide

More Adventures in Babysitting With Members of Congress

Everybody wants a turn with Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s baby.

The last time the Illinois Democrat’s six-month-old was seen in the Speaker’s Lobby, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., was showing her off to the congressional press corps and didn’t seem particularly inclined to give her back when Duckworth emerged from the chamber.

On Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was holding court with baby Abigail just off the House floor. Wearing a floral headband and a white sundress, Abigail appeared fussy in Dingell’s arms, though she paused in her whimpering to teethe on the congresswoman’s pearl bracelet and later on the edge of her voting card. Full story

Taste of America Sweet 16 Shows Off Slugfests

The chimichanga crowd is not messing around. In early voting for the 2015 Roll Call Taste of America, Arizona’s deep-fried pork burrito is outpacing New Mexico frijoles by a nearly 14-to-1 margin, one of the more lopsided contests in the hard-fought round of 16.

The Maine lobster roll-Delaware boardwalk fries duel isn’t much closer, with the crustacean contingent crushing its potato antagonists by about a 10-to-1 margin. South Dakota fry bread is limping behind the Illinois deep dish pizza behemoth.

Close calls are the rule elsewhere. Indiana pork tenderloin and Illinois Italian beef are neck and neck. Tennessee’s Memphis BBQ and Florida stone crabs are in a death match.

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

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#tbt: FEC, DOJ Softball Game Ends in Shoving Match

Twenty-three years ago this month, around the time Vice President Dan Quayle was discussing “Murphy Brown” and Eddie Murphy’s “The Distinguished Gentleman” was filming on Capitol Hill, the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice faced off in what was supposed to be a friendly softball game.

It should come as no surprise with these two organizations, but a dispute over the rules caused tensions to run unusually high during the game, before getting physical. Full story

Conservatives Take a Break From Chick-fil-A

Some things belong to each other. Chocolate and peanut butter, as the good people at Reese’s point out. A sad guitar and a hardshell case, as Bright Eyes notes. And, as HOH asserts, a monthly discussion with House conservatives and Chick-fil-A.

But all good panel discussion food pairings must come to an end — or something like that. Full story

By Matt Fuller Posted at 5 a.m.
Food, HillSide

Freshmen Join Congressional Women’s Softball Game

Freshmen Join Congressional Womens Softball Game

Gabbard was among the star recruits after she arrived in Congress. There are three rookies joining the members’ team this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lawmakers who play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game have three new recruits to brag about this year, ahead of next month’s charity game against the press.

The roster being released Thursday includes freshman rookies from the House: Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Mia Love, R-Utah.

Full story

May 20, 2015

Throwback: Alec Baldwin Schools David Letterman in Congressional Relations

Before bidding adieu to late-night talk show icon David Letterman, who will sign off Wednesday after three decades, HOH wanted to revisit the comparison between the two chambers that entertainer and activist Alex Baldwin shared years ago with the “Late Show” host.

“They got all the time in the world in the Senate,” Baldwin said of his disorienting visits to the “cooling saucer of democracy.”

Should any C-SPAN junkies need a break from Kentucky Republican and White House hopeful Rand Paul’s latest talkathon against the Patriot Act, Letterman’s swan song is expected to get underway at 11:35 p.m.

#ThanksDave

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

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Familiar Names Top Leaderboard at ACLI Capital Challenge

Familiar Names Top Leaderboard at ACLI Capital Challenge

Cotton led the way for lawmakers again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Runners from Capitol Hill and beyond descended  on the banks of the Anacostia River Wednesday morning for the 34th annual ACLI Capital Challenge.

On a surprisingly cool day, members of Congress and the executive branch were joined in the 3-mile run at Anacostia Park by their staff, private industry and representatives from the Fourth Estate, including a number of CQ Roll Callers. Full story

Congressional Golfers Swing for Charity

Congressional Golfers Swing for Charity

Rep. John Yarmuth warms up before participating in the 2015 Politics & Pros Golf Classic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Putting aside politics Monday, six members of Congress participated in a charity golf game to raise funds for young golfers in the District of Columbia.

The lawmakers joined more than 100 amateur golfers and 10 professional players for the 14th annual Politics and Pros Classic to benefit First Tee of Greater Washington, a youth golf program. The event at the Bethesda Country Club raised nearly $220,000 for First Tee, which seeks to foster character development through the game of golf. Full story

Overheard: Amy Klobuchar’s Dream Date

“I look to my right, Harry Reid. I look to my left, Mitch McConnell. I know: Every girl’s dream, right?”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar, describing her time in the presiding officer’s chair on New Year’s Eve 2012, as the fiscal cliff neared.

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

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 11, 2015 (Video)

Lawmakers spent the week locating Ruby Ridge on a map, snapping selfies with pigs and preparing for bazooka-armed lesser prairie chickens.

Full story

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