Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 6, 2015

March 5, 2015

Sled On! Residents Defy Ban and Sled Down Capitol Hill

Catie Guire and Will Weedon, both 8, of Capitol Hill, sled on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol Thursday during a snow storm.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Catie Guire and Will Weedon, both 8, of Capitol Hill, sled on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol Thursday during a snow storm. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s snowing! School is cancelled, you grab your saucer and go sledding with your friends — just like any other snow day — except for the throngs of reporters and cameras waiting for you at the bottom of the hill.

District of Columbia residents who took a stand against a ban on sledding on Capitol Hill drew dozens of reporters to the West Lawn Thursday afternoon as snow blanketed the Capitol grounds. But for the kids and parents, this wasn’t exactly major news. They just wanted to enjoy the rare inches of snow in the nation’s capital. Full story

March 4, 2015

Ban on Capitol Hill Sledding Continues

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Capitol Police Board opted not to allow sledding on Capitol Hill, despite pleas from the District of Columbia’s representative to temporarily lift the ban as D.C. awaits a major winter storm promising several inches of snow.

“If the forecast holds true, there are many families who will want to enjoy the snow tomorrow,” Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin, chairman of the Capitol Police Board, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Although, for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground. Full story

Norton: Let My People Sled (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:50 p.m. | Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has asked for a waiver on the Capitol Hill sledding ban for the coming weekend, ahead of expected snowfall in the District of Columbia.

“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton said in a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin, chairman of the Capitol Police Board. The capital region is expected to receive 4 to 8 inches of snow during a storm stretching from Wednesday evening to Thursday. Norton is asking that the ban be waived from March 5 to March 8. Full story

Craigslist for Congress? Farr Makes Far-Fetched Pitches

Farr, right, wants to streamline tour booking for staff assistants. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Farr, right, wants to streamline tour booking for staff assistants. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Trying to find housing near the Capitol? Selling a bike? Need to locate lost jewelry?

Right now, cork bulletin boards outside the Hill’s cafeterias serve as the only official space for staffers to post such notices. But Rep. Sam Farr wants the House to follow the lead of other large employers by creating an online system to make such transactions simpler.

Full story

March 3, 2015

Netanyahu Speech Draws Protests, Increased Security

Protesters gather outside the Cannon House Office Building before the Netanyahu speech to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters gather outside the Cannon House Office Building before the Netanyahu speech to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday drew protests and ramped up security all over Capitol Hill.

The increased security was visible upon entering the Capitol in the morning, with scores of police officers stationed at each entrance, and a group of them concentrated at the north barricade. U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider did not say how many officers were on duty, but wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call, “We do have enhanced security operations in place today” given the Netanyahu speech.

Full story

For Some D.C. Advocates, Mikulski Retirement Is ‘a Special Blow’

Mikulski announced her retirement Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mikulski announced her retirement Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s announcement Monday that she won’t seek another term sparked national reflections about her legacy and speculations about potential successors, but in the District of Columbia, officials and activists focused on the Maryland Democrat’s advocacy for D.C. and the capital region.

“Barbara’s retirement is a special blow to the District of Columbia,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said in a statement Monday. “Senator Mikulski was a champion for D.C. democracy, statehood, and home rule, and in fiscal year 2014 got the most pro-home-rule D.C. appropriations bill in history approved by any committee.” Full story

March 2, 2015

Hill East Redevelopment Moves Forward With Land Agreement

D.C. General Hospital, located in Hill East, now serves as a shelter for the homeless. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

D.C. General Hospital, located in Hill East, now serves as a shelter for the homeless. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an agreement Monday launching the redevelopment of the Hill East District, with construction expected to begin next year on a project that includes additional apartments, a public village square and green space.

“Today is a big day for Reservation 13, the Hill East neighborhood, and the entire city,” Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen said in a statement. “It’s an important step toward realizing the vision for and full potential of this corner of the city, as well as finally delivering on promises made to the Hill East community.” Full story

February 27, 2015

Judge Dismisses Obamacare Lawsuit Targeting Congressional Health Care

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging congressional health care enrollment in the D.C. small business exchange Wednesday, ruling that federal regulations allow members of Congress and their staffs to enroll in the exchange.

In October, the group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of D.C. resident Kirby Vining, alleging that allowing Congress to enroll in the small business exchange violated D.C. law, which stipulates that a small business has 50 or fewer employees. The D.C. government acknowledged Congress is not a small business under D.C. law as part of a motion to the dismiss the case in January. But the D.C. government also argued a 2013 Office of Personnel Management ruling instructing congressional employees to enroll in the exchange trumped D.C. law, and enrollment could continue. Full story

Code Pink Feeling Stifled by Capitol Police Crackdown

CodePink protesters more likely to end up in handcuffs on the Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lately, Code Pink protests have ended with handcuffs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Forced into handcuffs before and after congressional hearings over the past two days, protesters organizing with Code Pink are fuming about the beefed-up presence of Capitol Police when contentious, high-profile officials testify on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, officers arrested Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, when he rose from his seat to challenge Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. after the conclusion of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on worldwide threats. Full story

February 26, 2015

Kerry Bentivolio Files for Bankruptcy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fewer than two months after the Santa Claus impersonator and reindeer farmer who represented southeast Michigan for one term left Congress, the tea party-inspired Republican has filed for bankruptcy.

Former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio listed more than $294,000 in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday. Bentivolio, 63, owes nearly $55,000 to two Michigan-based law firms, and has been ordered to pay $120,000 in a case stemming from an illegal campaign claim from his former consultant. Full story

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