Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 29, 2015

January 29, 2015

Congress’ Top Travelers Say Globetrotting on Private Dime Essential

McDermott says Congress needs to travel to do its job more effectively. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McDermott says Congress needs to travel to do its job more effectively. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As one of the top travelers in Congress, Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette likes to give this advice to incoming House freshmen: “Pick one or two countries and really get deeply involved in the politics and culture.”

For DeGette, that nation is Japan. The lawmaker, who was born in Tachikawa, explained her “long cultural and personal connection” in a recent interview. “My district, in Denver, has a huge business and cultural connection to Japan,” she said, adding that the head of the local chamber of commerce is excited by the ties. Full story

January 28, 2015

Heritage Action Urges Congress to Reject D.C. Bills

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy group, is calling on Congress to reject two District of Columbia Council bills, which, the group argues, infringe upon religious liberty. It is the first time the group has weighed in on a District initiative.

“The D.C. government is forcing religious organizations and employers to choose between upholding their beliefs or complying with a coercive government regulation that requires them to violate their beliefs and missions,” Michael Needham, the group’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday. “Heritage Action urges Congress to use its constitutional authority to disapprove of these intrusive and flawed laws.” Full story

January 27, 2015

Bowser Talks Marijuana, Statehood With Boehner

Bowser, left, was among the mayors discussing policy at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bowser, left, was among the mayors discussing policy at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss local  issues with lawmakers, including Speaker John A. Boehner.

Bowser said her goal was to introduce herself to the lawmakers and foster communication between Capitol Hill and the mayor’s office. Full story

Conviction of Reid Bundler Upheld, Next Stop: SCOTUS?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A prominent Nevada lobbyist convicted of making illegal contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2010 re-election campaign is preparing to ask the Supreme Court to revisit campaign finance limits, following a Monday federal appeals court decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the convictions of F. Harvey Whittemore, 62, of Reno, Nev., for two counts of violating federal campaign finance law, and one count of causing a materially false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission. Reid was not accused of any wrongdoing in the case, though the Nevada Democrat was required to amend his campaign finance reports. Full story

Cannon Parking Garage Now for Members Only (Updated)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:15 p.m.| New parking rules adopted Tuesday dictate that only members of Congress will be allowed to park in the Cannon House Office Building parking garage.

“Due to the Cannon construction, only members with a Cannon-designated member plate can now park in the Cannon garage, which is new this year,” House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., said at the committee’s organizational meeting Tuesday morning, where the new rules were adopted. Full story

Protesters Arrested at Fast-Track Trade Hearing

Capitol Police arrested three sign-carrying, slogan-shouting demonstrators who disrupted a Tuesday morning Senate Finance Committee hearing on the president’s trade policy agenda.

The protesters wore shirts reading “No Fast Track” and greeted U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman with signs stating, “Froman lies” — a response to his statement to the committee that trade promotion authority “is Congress’s best tool to ensure that there is ample time for public scrutiny and debate on U.S. trade agreements.” Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:03 p.m.
Capitol Police

January 26, 2015

White House Drone Raises Questions About D.C., Capitol Policy

Sen. Leahy brings a drone to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy brought a drone to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A small drone found on the White House lawn caused some lawmakers to question the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone policy in the District of Columbia Monday.

“The Secret Service cannot handle the threat of drones without further Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that update the interpretation of the no-fly zone to include such unmanned aircraft,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said in a statement Monday. Full story

Getting Beyond Budget Scorekeeper’s Perennial ‘Pissing Contest’

Former CBO acting director Donald Marron, a potential Elemendorf successor, testifies during 2006 Senate Budget hearing. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former CBO acting Director Marron, a potential Elmendorf successor, testifies during Senate Budget Committee hearing in 2006. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Can the new director of the Congressional Budget Office get “beyond the basic pissing contest” of how to score legislation? The former heads of the official scorekeeping agency hope so.

As Washington awaits the identity of a new CBO director, fiscal policy wonks are delving into a pending rule change that will require Douglas W. Elmendorf’s successor to incorporate a contentious way of estimating economic effects into the official price tags of major pieces of legislation.

Full story

Periodical Press Committee Takes Shape for 114th Congress

The gallery committees ensure press access throughout the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gallery committees ensure press access to lawmakers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the 114th Congress goes into full swing, the congressional press corps is also getting situated, electing new representatives to ensure they have access to lawmakers throughout Capitol Hill.

On Monday morning, the seven-member Executive Committee of Periodical Correspondents elected its three officers, though all of the offices were uncontested. The quiet officer elections also coincided with uncontested committee member elections. With only seven journalists vying for the seven slots, each of the contenders won a spot on the committee without an election. Journalists who were vying to be on the committee did have to submit a petition with at least 25 signatures from current members of the gallery.

According to Senate Periodical Press Gallery Director Ed Pesce, the committee member and officer elections are not usually contentious. The periodical elections were a sharp contrast to the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press elections last week, where a tie vote led to a coin toss deciding one of the committee spots.

Heather Rothman of Bloomberg BNA was elected to her second full term as the periodical committee chairman, while The Hill’s Alex Bolton will serve as treasurer and Leo Shane III of Military Times will be the secretary. Shane is new to the committee, along with Lindsey McPherson of Tax Analysts. The other returning members include Politico’s Manu Raju, CQ Roll Call’s Jason Dick, and TIME’s Jay Newton-Small. The committee represents more than 1,200 journalists who are credentialed through the periodical galleries.

“We cover a wide swath of organizations and represent a lot of interests,” Rothman said in a phone interview, noting that the committee includes members from broad and niche publications. She later added, “It’s a great group and I’m happy and honored to be a member of the committee and to have the support as chairman of my fellow committee members.”

Rothman said she is looking forward to ensuring the press corps has access to lawmakers throughout the Capitol, especially as more reporters flock to the Hill and have to meet the demands of an ever-changing news cycle. In addition to ensuring access, the committee is also responsible for approving credentials and dealing with any violations of press gallery rules.


Standing Committee of Correspondents Election Decided by Coin Toss

Standing Committee of Correspondents: SCOTUSblog Fails to Demonstrate Editorial Independence

SCOTUSblog Credentialing Appeal Will Play Out in Public Hearing

Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for ‘Pen and Pad’ Briefings

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

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Driver Arrested in SOTU Car Chase

Police in Maryland’s Prince George’s County have arrested the driver who skirted Capitol Hill on State of the Union night in a high-speed chase.

District Heights, Md., Police Chief Elliott W. Gibson said officers arrested the man — who entered the District via the John Phillip Sousa Bridge in a white Crown Victoria, passed through 17 traffic lights at speeds of up to 80 mph, and came to a stop in traffic on a street adjacent to the Rayburn House Office Building — on Jan. 23, around 11:33 p.m. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:48 p.m.
Capitol Police

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