Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 24, 2015

Posts by Bridget Bowman

242 Posts

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

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

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

Hoyer Supports Pay Raise for Lawmakers

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., agreed Tuesday morning that congressional salaries should increase.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., made the case for a lawmaker pay raise during a Rules Committee meeting Monday night, arguing that the high cost of living in the District of Columbia will lead to a situation where only wealthy people can afford to serve in Congress. Full story

May 18, 2015

Hastings: Members of Congress Need a Pay Raise (Video)

Hastings argued members of Congress need a pay raise. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Hastings argued members of Congress need a pay raise. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings made the politically tone-deaf case for raising salaries for members of Congress Monday, pointing to the high cost of living in the District of Columbia.

“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added. Full story

GPO Parking Lot Development Moves Forward

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Facing an ever-shrinking budget, the Government Publishing Office is moving forward with a plan to develop an employee parking lot for commercial real estate. But the real estate firm in charge of the plan faces questions about its management capabilities.

The GPO began requesting information about developing the space last July, and the legislative branch agency announced on May 14 it had awarded a consulting services contract to CBRE, a global real estate firm. Full story

May 15, 2015

Obama Honors Fallen Officers at Capitol Memorial

Hundreds of officers and their families gathered at the memorial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Officers and their families attended the memorial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and their families from every corner of the country gathered at the Capitol Friday to honor their fallen brethren.

At the 34th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, the local, state and federal officers, dressed in full uniforms, gathered on the West Front lawn for the solemn ceremony, which included remarks from President Barack Obama.

“Your jobs are inherently dangerous; the reminders are too common,” Obama said. “We cannot erase every darkness or danger from the duty you’ve chosen. We can offer you the support that you need to be safer.” Full story

Lawmakers Take D.C. Vouchers Debate to Local High School

Cummings and Chaffetz held a field hearing on D.C. vouchers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cummings and Chaffetz held a field hearing on D.C. vouchers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Federal lawmakers used the backdrop of a private D.C. high school to delve into the D.C. school voucher program and found themselves amid debate about the propriety of Congress’ role in local affairs.

The chime of school bells occasionally interrupted the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s May 14 field hearing at Archbishop Carroll High School in Northeast D.C. to examine the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program’s authorization expires this year, and a partisan divide over education funds threatens its future. Full story

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