Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 30, 2015

Posts by Hannah Hess

18 Posts

January 19, 2015

Former Rep. Frank Wolf Will Lead Baylor University’s Efforts on Capitol Hill

Wolf will be working on religious freedom issues on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wolf will be focused on religious freedom on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After nearly 35 years representing Northern Virginia in Congress, former Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf plans to lead Baylor University’s efforts on Capitol Hill.

Wolf, who was an outspoken defender of religious minorities during his congressional career, particularly Christians in Iraq and Egypt, has been appointed the first Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom. The Texas-based university announced the move Monday, following the 75-year-old’s announcement in December 2013 that he planned to retire and pursue humanitarian work. Full story

January 16, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Sees Leverage in Steve Scalise Protests

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus see opportunity in the scandal that inspired a heart-shaped “KKK + GOP” sign outside a recent Capitol Hill Club fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Revelations that the Louisiana Republican rejected a 1996 resolution in apologizing for slavery — six years before his 2002 address at a meeting of white supremacists — “disgusted” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, but the North Carolina Democrat says he doesn’t want to dwell on it. Full story

January 14, 2015

Abortion Bill Co-Sponsoring Debacle ‘Vexing’ for Democrat

Smith, D-Wash., speaks during the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Adam Smith. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Co-sponsoring a bill in Congress doesn’t really mean all that much. But — maybe — it ought to at least mean a member has agreed to sign on, and will actually sign.

At least, that’s the argument Washington Democrat Adam Smith made on the House floor Wednesday. Full story

January 13, 2015

Demonstrators Plan to Disrupt Scalise Fundraiser

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Progressive groups say they will continue to press the House GOP to remove Scalise from leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Activists plan to protest a private fundraising event for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Tuesday afternoon, trying to keep pressure on the Louisiana Republican weeks after the revelation that he addressed a meeting of white supremacists in 2002.

“We’re trying to protest racism in the system,” said Pete Haviland-Eduah of Million Hoodies, one of the groups that will organize outside the Capitol Hill Club. “This is a congressman that has known ties to a racist [organization]. We want to make it well known to leaders in both parties that the people are not supporting of this.” Full story

December 30, 2014

Boehner Commends Grimm for Announcing Resignation (Updated)

Grimm's resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grimm’s resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s quiet announcement late Monday night that he would resign his congressional seat pleased House GOP leadership.

The New York Republican, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion last week, made an “honorable decision,” House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a brief, two-sentence statement Tuesday morning.

“I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House,” Boehner stated, responding to Grimm’s announcement that he would step down from Congress, effective Jan. 5 — one day before the 114th Congress is scheduled to commence.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Grimm is set to be sentenced by a federal judge on June 8 for causing the filing of a false and fraudulent tax return. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to the one charge of a 20-count indictment, and said, at the time, he would not step down.

Despite the vow, Democratic insiders had been urging former Rep. Michael E. McMahon, D-N.Y., to consider running for the seat. McMahon confirmed to CQ Roll Call last week that he was not ruling out a bid.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will determine the date of the special election to fill Grimm’s seat. According to the NYS Board of Elections, Cuomo can set the special election for any time. However, the election must take place within 70-80 days of when Cuomo issues a proclamation announcing a special election date.

In a statement released by his office, Grimm said he was making the decision to step down after “much thought and prayer.”

“This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply,” he said. “The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the Office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life.”

Grimm also thanked his constituents for their “love and support” over the past few difficult months.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

This post was updated to clarify the special election process in New York State.

Related:

Ex-Congressman Considers Seeking Grimm’s Seat

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion (Updated)

Pelosi: Boehner Has to Oust Michael Grimm (Updated)

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

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By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:47 a.m.
Ethics, John Boehner

August 29, 2014

Funeral Services Set for Wife of Maryland Congressman

Harris, left, and his late wife, Sylvia 'Cookie' Harris. (Photo courtesy of Harris' office.)

Harris, left, and his late wife. (Photo courtesy of the congressman’s office.)

In lieu of flowers, Rep. Andy Harris and his family are asking for donations to a Baltimore, Md., pregnancy center in memory of Sylvia ‘Cookie’ Harris.

The Maryland Republican’s wife, who unexpectedly died Thursday, was a dedicated anti-abortion advocate and a board member of the Pregnancy Center North, where she regularly volunteered. The 57-year-old mother of five and grandmother to two also served as director of special events for Maryland Right to Life.

Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:10 p.m.
Republicans

March 17, 2014

House Stenographer: ‘I Did Not Have a Breakdown’ (Video)

The House stenographer who was dragged from the floor by Capitol Police last fall after shouting about God, the Freemasons and a House divided counts the Oct. 16 incident as the fourth time “the lord has put on my heart to speak.”

Dianne Reidy said she remembers “walking to the dais and speaking, and standing at the podium where the president speaks as God would have it, but I did not lose my mind.”

Speaking publicly for the first time in the nearly five months since the outburst, Reidy maintained she was driven to act by God.

“I did not have a breakdown,” she said in a 38-minute video posted Sunday afternoon.

Reidy said she loved working on Capitol Hill and knew the speech, characterized as an “assignment” from the Holy Spirit, would likely cost her the job she held for eight years. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:27 a.m.
Videos

February 10, 2014

Capitol Journalists Opt to Lay Rep. Grimm’s Threat to Rest

The organization representing broadcast journalists on Capitol Hill on Monday opted not to engage on Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s threat to throw NY1 television reporter Michael Scotto off a Rotunda balcony.

Radio-Television Correspondents Association Chairman Frank Thorp, who reports for NBC News, said the New York Republican’s behavior following the State of the Union was “clearly unacceptable” and it would have been “alarming” if Grimm stuck with his initial unapologetic statement, instead of later issuing a public apology.

“Obviously we condemn that kind of behavior,” Thorp said during the first RTCA executive committee meeting since the Jan. 28 outburst. “But aside from that, … [I’m] not really sure what kind of advantage there would be for us to engage any further.” Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:14 p.m.
Ethics

January 31, 2014

Capitol Police Will Not Pursue Charges Against Grimm (Updated)

Updated: 1:22 p.m. | After questioning the NY1 reporter whom Rep. Michael G. Grimm threatened to throw off a balcony during a post-State of the Union outburst, Capitol Police have closed the books on the incident without pressing criminal charges.

“Yes, we did speak to the reporter,” Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Friday morning. “We have no complainant, so we’re not going to pursue anything further.”

Antrobus said that the police had done their “due diligence” in examining the threat and now consider the matter closed.

The department had no public comment when asked if it had spoken with Grimm about the combative exchange, during which Grimm threatened the reporter after Scotto asked about a probe into alleged campaign finance fraud.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia told CQ Roll Call on Friday morning that he had no news on the incident. Miller previously stated that he could “neither confirm or deny” an investigation into Grimm’s actions.

The congressman’s office told CQ Roll Call that Grimm has not been contacted by Capitol Police or the House sergeant-at-arms, the chamber’s highest law enforcement officer. Chief of Staff Chris Berardini said in a Friday morning email that Grimm plans to have lunch with Scotto very soon.

Don Kellaher, the House deputy sergeant-at-arms, said his office had no comment on the incident.

The talks are part of a probe into what happened when Grimm grumbled at the credentialed TV reporter, saying he would break the journalist in half “like a boy.”

The Radio-Television Correspondents Association, an association representing broadcast journalists who report on Congress, previously said they planned to investigate the incident.

Update 1:22 p.m.

NBC Universal’s Frank Thorp, chairman of RTCA, confirmed on Friday afternoon that journalists will continue probing.

“The RTCA Executive Committee is still looking into the matter, and we have invited representatives from NY1 to attend our monthly meeting next Friday,” Thorp said in an email.

The watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Common Cause have both called for a congressional ethics probe into Grimm’s threat.

Correction: 1:22 p.m.

An earlier version of this article misquoted Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 12:11 p.m.
Uncategorized

Capitol Police Question Michael Scotto, Reporter Threatened by Grimm

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo via Getty Images)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Police have questioned the NY1 reporter who Rep. Michael G. Grimm threatened to throw off a Rotunda balcony during a State of the Union outburst.

The talks are part of a probe into what happened when Grimm grumbled at the credentialed TV reporter, saying he would break the journalist in half “like a boy,” according to the station.

NY1 reports that the department contacted reporter Michael Scotto on Thursday, one day after the New York Republican issued an apology for the threat, to ask about the incident. Scotto said he did not want to press criminal charges.

Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 9:37 a.m.
Ethics

January 29, 2014

Law Enforcement Mostly Mum on Grimm Threats

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

How do law enforcement officials react when a member of Congress threatens a credentialed member of the press with bodily harm in a public place on camera? Slowly.

Members of the Fourth Estate might seek more than an apology from Rep. Michael G. Grimm for his threat to throw a New York television reporter off a balcony during a post-State of the Union interview. But so far, they seem to be the only ones willing to demand some sort of action beyond accepting Grimm’s day-after contrition.

The Radio-Television Correspondents Association, an organization representing more than 3,600 broadcast journalists who report on Congress, is still weighing how to handle the New York Republican’s aggressive treatment of NY1 television reporter Michael Scotto — and the reporters seem to be the only group intent on holding the second-term lawmaker accountable. Full story

January 15, 2014

Cassidy Gets a Glib Welcome and a Fake Boehner Cry

Minutes before the House cast a vote on the trillion-dollar package to fund, among other things, its own operations, Speaker John A. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammed it up for the chamber’s new chief administrative officer.

At a small reception in the ornate Rayburn Room, the Ohio Republican and California Democrat congratulated Ed Cassidy on his appointment and ribbed him about the transition from behind-the-scenes director of House Operations to the more public role of CAO.

“You’ll have to forgive me, I may not be very eloquent today, because it’s usually Ed telling me what to say at these things,” Boehner joked. “Like I always say, you only tease the ones you love … and the one who signs your paycheck.” Full story

Democratic Women Clog Rayburn Hallway to Protest Anti-Abortion Bill

Close to 100 people, some waving orange index cards asking, “Where are the women?” crowded the hallway outside the House Judiciary Committee room in the Rayburn Office Building on Wednesday morning.

Among those waving the tiny signs were Democratic committee members Judy Chu of California and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. They stood alongside female colleagues and abortion rights protesters for a makeshift protest of the markup of a bill to restrict funding for the procedure.

“It’s increasingly evident that the only women’s agenda that the Republicans have put forward is to take away your health care rights and then tell you to get lost,” said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., who criticized the fact that there are no female members of the committee’s GOP majority. She vowed to take the issue up with House leadership.

From left, Rep. Judy Chu, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., participate in a news conference outside of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to protest the House Judiciary Committee markup of legislation to restrict abortion funding. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Chu, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Slaughter participate in a news conference outside of the House Judiciary Committee to protest the markup of legislation to restrict abortion funding. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

January 7, 2014

Boehner Swears In Ed Cassidy as House CAO

Minutes after the House wrapped up the opening quorum call for the 113th Congress’ second session, Speaker John A. Boehner swore in one of his closest aides as the chamber’s chief administrative officer.

Boehnerland veteran Ed Cassidy, who most recently served as director of House Operations for the speaker’s office, raised his right hand to take the oath shortly after 7 p.m. Full story

November 21, 2013

Trey Radel Enters Rehab

Rep. Trey Radel is getting help for his addiction, as promised.

“Today, I checked myself into a facility to seek treatment and counseling,” the Florida Republican said in a statement shared with CQ Roll Call. “It is my hope, through this process, I will come out a better man. I will work hard to gain back the trust and support of my constituents, friends and most importantly, my family.”

The news comes one day after his conviction on a misdemeanor charge for possession of cocaine and a press conference in Cape Coral, Fla., during which he announced he was taking a leave of absence from Congress and promised to seek “intensive” inpatient treatment.

While Radel is back in southwest Florida, his Washington, D.C. office remains open for business. The door to his first-floor Longworth office was unlocked, lights were on, and staffers were present.

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:04 p.m.
Breaking News, Ethics
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