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

Posts by Bridget Bowman

100 Posts

December 19, 2014

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells Joins Bowser Administration

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Wells, seated right, will head the District’s environmental agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

District of Columbia Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser announced Friday that outgoing Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells will join her administration as the director of the District Department of the Environment.

“Making D.C. a cleaner, more environmentally friendly city isn’t just a health issue — it’s an economic issue,” Wells said in a statement. ”I look forward to working with the Mayor-elect to create greater economic opportunities for more Washingtonians while also preserving our city’s environment for generations to come.” Full story

December 18, 2014

Secret Service: We’re Going to Need a Bigger Fence

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Norton toured the White House perimeter to examine recent security changes. (Courtesy of Norton’s office)

Along with recommendations for U.S. Secret Service administration and personnel, a report released Thursday recommended the fence surrounding the White House be replaced as soon as possible.

“Importantly, designers of the new fence must balance security concerns with the long and storied tradition of the White House being the ‘People’s House,’” wrote the report’s authors. “These historical, symbolic, and aesthetic factors deserve consideration, but ultimately they should not be permitted to delay or prevent a fence that could save lives.” Full story

Washington Monument Closed for Elevator Glitch

monument001 030813 440x292 Washington Monument Closed for Elevator Glitch

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Washington Monument was closed to tourists Thursday, as technicians searched for the source of an electrical issue in the elevator. The closure notice was an unwelcome reminder of elevator malfunctions this spring, which raised questions about the monument’s renovation.

“This is the first time we’ve had an issue since those several days of issues following the May reopening,” National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said in a phone interview. Litterst explained that a circuit breaker tripped Wednesday, prompting the Thursday closure to search for the source of the issue. The monument is expected to reopen Friday. Full story

Capitol Hill Commissioner Concerned About 2024 D.C. Olympics Bid

runners001 100412 440x292 Capitol Hill Commissioner Concerned About 2024 D.C. Olympics Bid

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser and representatives from Washington 2024 made their pitch for D.C. to host the 2024 Summer Olympics Tuesday, but one Capitol Hill neighborhood representative is raising concerns about the bid.

“D.C. residents should have a say in this because certainly we’re going to be paying for it. There’s no question about it,” Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Brian Flahaven said in a Wednesday phone interview. Flahaven’s district includes the southeast Capitol Hill neighborhood, which could be affected by the Olympic plan. Full story

December 17, 2014

From ‘Printing’ to ‘Publishing’: The GPO Has a New Name

Budget 2014 20 040813 1 440x251 From Printing to Publishing: The GPO Has a New Name

The GPO is not just for printing anymore. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The U.S. Government Printing Office has officially become the Government Publishing Office, after President Barack Obama signed the year-end “cromnibus” spending package late Tuesday night.

The name change was a provision in the legislative branch portion of the bill, which allocated $120 million to the publishing office, an increase of $1 million from 2014. In the bill, the GPO provision notes that the title change was instituted “to acknowledge that the information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public have evolved beyond print.” Full story

December 16, 2014

Norton Asks GOP Leaders for House Voting Privileges

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., sent a letter to House Republican leadership Tuesday asking that she be granted a vote on the House floor in the 114th Congress.

Currently, Norton can vote in committee, but she does not have a vote on the House floor or Committee of the Whole. The District of Columbia delegate, other delegates and Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner were granted floor votes in the 103rd, 110th and 111th Congresses, when Democrats had the majority. They could vote in the Committee of the Whole, as long as their votes were not decisive.  Full story

D.C. Council Chairman: Marijuana Rider Doesn’t Block Transmittal to Congress

coastguard007 072213 440x290 D.C. Council Chairman: Marijuana Rider Doesnt Block Transmittal to Congress

Mendelson, left, seen here with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, says he is obligated to transmit the initiative to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia Council Chairman Phil Mendelson plans to send the D.C. initiative legalizing possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana to Congress in January, and he does not anticipate any confrontation with lawmakers over transmitting the bill.

“I’m not trying to defy anybody. I’m responsible for transmitting the initiative,” Mendelson said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I have a very clear requirement in the Home Rule Act to transmit the legislation. Congress has the ability to step in when that legislation is transmitted, so I don’t see anything that’s provocative here and I certainly don’t intend any provocation.” Full story

Rep. Jeb Hensarling Mourns Loss of His Father

hensarling121614 440x292 Rep. Jeb Hensarling Mourns Loss of His Father

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling is mourning his father, Charles “Chase” Hensarling, who died Sunday at the age of 86.

Hensarling’s spokesperson sent an email with the news Tuesday morning, explaining that the Texas Republican had to unexpectedly return home last week due to the family emergency. The Financial Services chairman was absent during the vote on the year-end spending package on Dec. 11. Full story

Marijuana Legalization in D.C.: What Happened and What Happens Next

harris 013 080613 440x292 Marijuana Legalization in D.C.: What Happened and What Happens Next

Harris, who sponsored the rider, is developing a response if D.C. moves forward with Initiative 71. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

District of Columbia officials and activists are grappling with a new thorn in their sides: an amendment attached to a year-end spending package targeting marijuana legalization in the District.

The “cromnibus” was passed by Congress with last-minute and late-night Senate votes over the weekend, and is en route to the president, where it will be signed into law. Though the bill contains riders in the bill aimed at a variety of D.C. social policies now considered routine, an amendment aimed at the District’s marijuana policy has fired up D.C. activists. Full story

December 15, 2014

CRS Report Details Perks for Outgoing Members of Congress

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Sen. Mark Begich can still return to the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even though lawmakers who will not be returning to Congress in January might feel downtrodden, they can find solace in the fact that they retain some congressional perks.

Those perks, ranging from floor access to permanent identification cards, were outlined in the Congressional Research Service’s Dec. 5 report titled “Selected Privileges and Courtesies Extended to Former Members of Congress.” CRS American National Government specialist R. Eric Peterson wrote in the report, “Some [privileges] are derived from law and chamber rules, but others are courtesies that have been extended as a matter of custom.” Full story

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