Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 22, 2014

September 19, 2014

Members of Congress Skip Confusing Eisenhower Memorial Meeting

Memorial 20 032510 440x252 Members of Congress Skip Confusing Eisenhower Memorial Meeting

Gehry, left, may not be party to the final design. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Only one of the eight members of Congress who sit on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission attended a Wednesday afternoon meeting on the design, the latest attempt to move forward the project now 15 years in the making.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., didn’t get to see the entire hour-long presentation, he told CQ Roll Call, because he had to leave for a House vote. Bishop didn’t miss much action: The fate of architect Frank Gehry’s design is undetermined, and a familiar chorus of critics are still calling for a restart.

Executive Architect Daniel J. Feil briefed the body on Gehry’s modified design — a plan that the Eisenhower family opposes — and a second alternative that would not include Gehry’s name. The first option was unveiled during a Sept. 4 National Capital Planning Commission, but there is only a vague idea about what the second might look like.

Without a quorum present, the commission could not take any public votes on how to proceed.

“This looks like a federal commission sowing confusion and controversy,” said Sam Roche, who represents the group Right by Ike, an organization pushing to replace the Gehry design with a public competition. Full story

Construction Underway at D.C. Ukrainian Memorial

 Construction Underway at D.C. Ukrainian Memorial

Construction on the memorial began two weeks ago. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint session of Congress Thursday to ask for more U.S. military aid in its fight against Russian-backed separatists. Less than a mile away, construction workers were busy building a memorial to victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America attempted to bring Poroshenko to the memorial site on the triangle of grass where North Capitol, Massachusetts Avenue and F Street meet next to Union Station.

However, Michael Sawkiw, the director of UCCA’s Washington office, said the president’s schedule did not have room for a visit to the area, but he told CQ Roll Call in a Friday phone interview that Poroshenko is scheduled to attend the dedication ceremony when the memorial is complete.

“We’re moving full steam ahead and we’re looking forward for a dedication sometime next year,” Sawkiw said. Weather permitting, the memorial will open in the late spring or early summer of 2015. Full story

Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

redskins001 092704 440x290 Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

A Redskins cheerleader entertained Capitol Police during a 2009 roll call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2009, Capitol Hill welcomed the Washington Redskins Marching Band and two cheerleaders for a pep rally on the West Front. It was a festive preparation for a Monday night NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Five years later, with growing opposition to the Washington team’s name, plus controversy surrounding the $10 billion league, Congress is attacking the NFL on all fronts. Members of both chambers have written Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, to complain about his handling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, calling for more transparency from the league.

Now, Senate Democrats are following through on a threat to use the NFL’s nonprofit status to pressure team owner Dan Snyder into changing the franchise’s name, putting the company’s tax exemption in peril.

Full story

Treaties Exhibit Ushers in 10 Years of American Indian Museum

keystone 244 042214 440x285 Treaties Exhibit Ushers in 10 Years of American Indian Museum

Indigenous leaders from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance participate in a Capitol Hill protest in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Museum of the American Indian will open its first exhibit exploring the contentious issue of treaties between the U.S. government and Indian nations next week.

“This exhibit is a tangible reminder of the federal government’s relationship with sovereign tribal nations of this country,” Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Thursday. “It’s also a reminder of the moral and legal obligations that the United States has to honor and uphold our treaties with Indian country.”

Tester addressed a group gathered at a day-long symposium at the museum discussing the exhibit. “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” opens on Sept. 21, the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum. The exhibit will continue until the fall of 2018.

Museum Director Kevin Gover said during a preview Tuesday the display was years in the making and came at the request of a number of tribes and members of Congress. Full story

September 18, 2014

Hill Staffers Hear Advice for Hiring Veterans

graham 11 042710 440x292 Hill Staffers Hear Advice for Hiring Veterans

Sen. Lindsey Graham greets wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center as they arrive for a lunch in the Senate in April 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project addressed a group of Capitol Hill staffers in Dirksen Senate Office Building Thursday to offer suggestions for hiring wounded veterans and accommodating those veterans in the workplace.

Brett Sheets and Brian Nichols, veterans of the Army and Navy respectively, work for WWP’s Warriors to Work program, which provides career advice to wounded post-9/11 veterans transitioning to civilian life.

The two WWP representatives offered a number of recommendations for offices looking to hire veterans. Full story

Judicial Nomination Logjam Causes Dilemma for D.C.

With the flow of judicial nominations slowing to a trickle this summer, District of Columbia officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect on the local bench.

Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield last week wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid describing the “adverse impact” of the backlog. Facing three judicial vacancies on the D.C. Superior Court, and a fourth coming in November, Satterfield requested votes on pending nominations before Congress adjourns.

The Nevada Democrat’s office has not responded formally to the Sept. 10 letter, according to Leah H. Gurowitz, director of governmental affairs and public relations for the court. Despite the correspondence, first reported by Legal Times, the chamber appears poised to adjourn without considering the nominations. Reid’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the situation. Full story

McAllister ‘Disappointed’ in Chief of Staff Arrested for DUI

mcallister 060 090914 440x292 McAllister Disappointed in Chief of Staff Arrested for DUI

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

Gregory A. Terry, chief of staff for Republican Rep. Vance McAllister was arrested in Louisiana on Sept. 12, after a police officer observed the BMW he was driving swerving across highway lines. He has been charged with driving under the influence and improper lane use.

When an officer from the Richland Parish Sheriff’s Department conducted the traffic stop, he “could smell a very strong odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage emitting” from Terry, according to an affidavit from the department that was published by local news station KTEV NBC 10.

Terry stated he had not been drinking, and did not drink at all, according to the document, but performed poorly on a field sobriety test. He was subsequently placed under arrest.

McAllister released a statement on the arrest to CQ Roll Call, indicating that Terry is on leave from the office.

“I’m disappointed in Adam,” stated the Louisiana Republican, who has worked to distance himself from his own extra-marital scandal that saddled him with the nickname the “Kissing Congressman.”

“I do not condone his behavior, but I know he’s a good person and he’s worked hard for the people of Louisiana,” the statement continued. “Right now, he is at home with his family in the district and we want to make sure he gets the help he needs.”

A call to Terry’s cellphone went straight to a recording that said the voicemail box was full.

Police said there was a Styrofoam cup that had “some sort of alcoholic beverage in it” in the back seat. Terry appeared to have taken off the lid and poured it on the back carpet. The liquid was cold to the touch. Two pints of Jack Daniels — one empty and one full — were also found in the vehicle.

Related:

McAllister Moving Past ‘Kissing Congressman’

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

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

Kansas City Police Arrest Suspect in Attempted Bombing of Cleaver Office

cleaver 12 072011 440x292 Kansas City Police Arrest Suspect in Attempted Bombing of Cleaver Office

Cleaver’s office in Kansas City was the target of an attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Police charged a Kansas City man on Wednesday with throwing two Molotov cocktails at the district office of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II on Sept. 11.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Missouri Democrat said he will be forever grateful that none of his staff, who were in Washington at the time, were injured “in the senseless attempt recently to destroy my Kansas City office.”

Eric King, 28, has been charged by U.S. attorneys in a federal criminal complaint that accuses him of using a dangerous instrument to oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with a federal official engaged in the performance of his official duties. The Associated Press first reported the arrest.

Police said a window was broken in the attack, but the two alcohol-filled bottles failed to ignite before falling harmlessly outside the building. The paper towels stuffed into the necks of the bottles extinguished while still in the air, according to reports. An affidavit says King was captured throwing a hammer through the window, then lighting the bottles.

Authorities were investigating a multiple instances of anti-government vandalism committed over Labor Day weekend. King was arrested by the Kansas City Police Department in connection with a separate incident, according to Cleaver’s office.

“I have devoted my entire adult life to preaching, and hopefully living, the belief that civility supersedes viciousness, and the passion for positive outshines the vehemence of violence,” Cleaver said in a statement thanking law enforcement.

Related Story:

Police Investigate Attack on Emanuel Cleaver’s District Office

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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

September 17, 2014

Stockman Tweets Photo From the House Floor, Violating Chamber Rules

Rep. Steve Stockman got a little too excited following a floor vote Wednesday and made a move that violates House decorum.

The Texas Republican snapped a photo of Georgia Republican Paul Broun flashing a smile after what Stockman described as a “historic vote to #AuditTheFed” and tweeted it from his official account.

Though cellphones have become commonplace on the House floor, photography is strictly prohibited. A source with knowledge of the House rules confirmed that Stockman’s photo is a violation of the rules. Photo or video documentation of proceedings by members of Congress breaches a clause on “comportment.”

“A person on the floor of the House may not smoke or use a mobile electronic device that impairs decorum,” states part of rule 17, clause 5.

In January 2011, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, gave the OK to electronic tablet devices as long as they are used “unobtrusively.” However, the ban on using devices for still photography, audio or video recording still stands.

Asked about the rules violation, Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson gave CQ Roll Call a simple explanation.

“I don’t believe he was aware,” Ferguson said in an email. “He was no doubt caught up in the moment.”

It is unclear if the outgoing congressman, who is already the subject of an ethics investigation, will be disciplined.

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

Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for ‘Pen and Pad’ Briefings

mccarthy 080 061114 440x289 Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for Pen and Pad Briefings

McCarthy has expressed interest in reinstating the briefings. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Capitol Hill press corps are pushing for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to reinstate weekly “pen and pad” briefings to discuss the agenda, a tradition that ended with former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The chairmen of the Periodical, Daily and Radio-TV press galleries submitted a letter to McCarthy Tuesday evening, urging him to bring back the weekly meetings and set a date for his first briefing in November, when Congress returns.

McCarthy spokesman Mike Long wrote in an email, “We’re reviewing the letter.” He did not know when the leader will respond to the request.

In their letter, Heather Rothman of Bloomberg BNA, Siobhan Hughes of The Wall Street Journal, and Frank Thorp V of NBC News pointed out that McCarthy has expressed interest in holding the briefings.

McCarthy told a group of reporters Monday that he is interested in holding pen-and-pad briefings but he has yet to formally respond to the media’s request for the meetings.

“These meetings are crucial to our ability to follow the agenda of the majority party of the House,” they wrote in the letter, which was shared with CQ Roll Call.

The leaders of the press corps also appealed to McCarthy’s own desire for transparency.

“You have listed ‘transparency in government’ as an ideal you strive to achieve,” they wrote, “and we believe interfacing regularly with the Capitol Hill Press Corps is an important step toward this goal.”

Cantor put an end to the weekly briefings in 2011. Since Cantor lost his primary and resigned, the press has been pushing to reinstate the briefings. In addition to the letter sent Tuesday, the chairmen issued a similar letter in July and also met with McCarthy’s staff to discuss the issue in August.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...