Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 26, 2015

May 25, 2015

Capitol Police Explode Pressure Cooker in ‘Suspicious’ Vehicle Near National Mall

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


A Capitol Police bomb squad safely exploded a pressure cooker in a parked car near the National Mall Sunday evening, the department said in a statement. They acted out of an abundance of caution, during the annual Memorial Day concert that draws thousands to the Capitol grounds, but later found nothing hazardous about the vehicle. Full story

May 21, 2015

Senate at Work Won’t Stop Memorial Day Concert

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Setup for the Memorial Day concert will go on as planned. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the impending weekend Senate session, the 26th Annual National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol will go on — and that means some inconvenience for congressional staffers and thousands of dollars worth of overtime work for Capitol Police.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Senate was scheduled to be in session and voting Saturday on legislation related to expiring surveillance authorities under the Patriot Act. And a reauthorization of expiring highway authorities was also on track to be unresolved by the weekend.

Full story

Doug Hughes: Congress Must Honor Vows to ‘We the People’

Hughes soaks in the support at the courthouse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hughes soaks in the support at the courthouse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida mailman Douglas Hughes got a hero’s welcome when he returned to Washington Thursday to face six charges related to his April 15 landing on the West Front of the Capitol.

In a lofty speech to supporters and about two dozen reporters, Hughes called on lawmakers to “honor the vows of fidelity implicit in the Constitution.” The 61-year-old advocate for campaign finance reform clarified, that’s “fidelity to ‘We the People.'” Full story

Foster Youth Shadow Day Shows Power of Personal Stories

Briana Smith, 19, of Los Angeles, talks with Bass about her experience in three foster care. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Briana Smith, 19, of Los Angeles, talks with Bass about her experience in three foster care homes. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Karen Bass took to the House floor Wednesday for a one-minute speech, standing next to a picture of a smiling young woman. That same young woman sat in the gallery above as Bass told her story.

“Briana became an open case with child services at the age of 15 due to abuse by her father,” the California Democrat said. “Multiple placements, neglect and instability defined her foster care experience.” Full story

May 20, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot Indicted on Six Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Florida man who landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn in April has been indicted by a federal grand jury and faces a maximum of nine-and-a-half years in prison.

On April 15, Douglas Hughes of Ruskin, Fla., flew a gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pa., and landed on the West Front of the Capitol, sparking questions about national security. Hughes worked as a mail carrier, had a Postal Service decal on the gyrocopter, and trekked to the Capitol to deliver letters to lawmakers relating to campaign finance. Full story

Cops Who Lost Guns Still Protecting GOP Leaders (Video)

Dine said there's "no excuse" for lost service weapons. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Dine said there’s “no excuse” for lost service weapons. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As part of their biannual weapons qualification, Capitol Police will receive new weapons safety training to reinforce proper handling, i.e., what to do with your gun when you go to the potty, Chief Kim C. Dine told lawmakers Wednesday.

Leaving a gun unattended around the Capitol currently warrants five days of suspension without pay, but Dine and newly appointed Assistant Chief Matthew R. Verderosa, are considering increasing the punishment to a 30-day suspension — or even termination — following the May 1 report of three such incidents. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:39 p.m.
Capitol Police

Watch: Capitol Police Chief Testifies Before House Committee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine testified Wednesday before the House Administration Committee on security at the U.S. Capitol. Dine’s appearance followed a CQ Roll Call report earlier this month that Capitol Police have, on multiple occasions, left loaded firearms unattended around the Capitol campus.

You can watch the whole hearing below.

Full story

Congress Concerned by Capitol Police Conduct With Protesters

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: U.S. Capitol Police honor guard members salute during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service outside of DC Police headquarters on Monday May 11, 2015. The event held by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary DC Lodge honored deceased local law enforcement officers, including U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Clinton J Holz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Concern about inconsistent treatment of protesters  by officers sparked a letter to Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress has been critical of the Capitol Police this year when it comes to the department’s handling of protesters. Now, one member is demanding to see the department’s policies on removing demonstrators from House and Senate hearings.

It started in January, when Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain called one of the protesters who disrupted a panel hearing “low-life scum,” and later vowed he would be “raising hell” over their behavior toward 91-year-old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Full story

May 19, 2015

Politics of a Pay Raise for Congress: Still Toxic (Video)

Hastings says Congress needs a raise. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hastings says Congress needs a raise. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the doors slid shut on Capitol Hill’s private, members-only elevators last spring, colleagues started to tell then-Rep. James P. Moran their honest opinion of his proposed housing stipend: Congress desperately needs a raise.

“You’re a real sport for taking it on, Jim,” the retired Virginia Democrat said he heard from members, once they were out of the earshot of reporters. Speaking from his desk at McDermott Will & Emery’s Government Strategies Practice Group Tuesday, the congressman-turned-lobbyist lamented the lack of political courage on the Hill from lawmakers who “learned how to tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to know.”

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings’ argument that members of Congress need a pay raise may have garnered support from a top House Democrat, but other members who would likely benefit from a salary increase are not falling in line on the politically toxic issue. Full story

GPO’s Real Estate Firm Disputes Criticisms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The global real estate firm tasked with crafting a plan to develop the Government Publishing Office’s parking lot is disputing an independent report claiming it mishandled lease negotiations with another government agency.

The GPO awarded CBRE a consulting services contract for the parking lot development last week, citing the firm’s experience with other federal government projects. But the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General found flaws in the firm’s lease negotiations and estimated the postal service could be overpaying $9.5 million a year for leases negotiated by the company. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:56 p.m.
GPO, Uncategorized

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