Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts by Bridget Bowman

4 Posts

July 21, 2014

Muslim on Capitol Hill: Staffers Look to Rebuild

CMSA 148 071114 440x235 Muslim on Capitol Hill: Staffers Look to Rebuild

Staffers participate in a Friday prayer session in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As rain pelted the capital, more than 200 Muslim Americans gathered in the Cannon House Office Building to break their daily fast.

They are in the midst of Ramadan, the annual monthlong period of fasting from sunup to sundown.

For the Muslim staffers and government employees gathered for a traditional dinner known as an iftar, the night was also a chance to connect with members of Congress and network with other D.C. professionals. “To have this iftar dinner and to do it here in the Capitol, where you belong, where we all belong, was a very smart thing to start,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., told the crowd.

Although 200 participants was no small number for the July 10 celebration, the iftar in 2009 drew an estimated 1,000 people to the Hill, thanks in part to an active Congressional Muslim Staff Association. The group was formed in 2006 and regularly held networking events and briefings on the Muslim community.

A few years later, in the 113th Congress, the CMSA did not even list itself as an official association — due to a turnover in leadership, lack of participation and what some regarded as a backlash against Muslim staffers. While the organization is taking steps to re-register as an official association, it is definitely in rebuilding mode.

Former CMSA members are optimistic the staff association will make a comeback as younger staffers step into leadership roles, but there’s a broader problem: attracting young Muslims to Capitol Hill in the first place.

Full story

May 30, 2014

Muslim Youth Group Meets With Members of Congress

Roughly 250 young men wearing identical black and white uniforms roamed the halls of the House office buildings Friday, encountering curious tourists and members of Congress along the way.

The young men were members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association and they were on Capitol Hill to meet with nearly 50 members of Congress to address their efforts to combat hunger in the U.S.

“We came to Capitol Hill not to ask but to give,” said AMYA President Bilal Rana at a news conference after the meetings. “We want to help feed the hungry in America and we asked Congress to help us identify organizations in the districts of those congressmen that we can work with, who can help us achieve our goal of feeding one million hungry Americans.” Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 3:38 p.m.

May 21, 2014

‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ Film Premieres, but Democrats Take No Questions

scotus 075 100813 440x306 Koch Brothers Exposed Film Premieres, but Democrats Take No Questions

‘Koch Brothers Exposed’ has been championed by Democrats like Sanders as they talk about needing to reform campaign finance law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Call it a screening, a press conference, a meeting, or a get-together of like-minded friends. Regardless, the [insert event term here] for the “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” documentary still happened Tuesday evening in the Capitol Visitors Center despite Republican accusations of Democratic impropriety.

“The Koch brothers’ tentacles have sunken deep into our democracy and deep into the Republican Party,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told the few dozen interested people and reporters in attendance.  “That’s evident by the fact they even tried to stop us from having this meeting.”

Controversy swirled around the screening as Republicans charged that the event focusing on billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch violated rules about film premieres on Capitol grounds. Democrats responded that the rules did not apply to the room in the CVC and that the event was a press conference.

But a press release characterized the event as a screening.  Although the release advertised a Q&A with Pelosi and Reid, neither took questions after their speeches.

Full story

May 16, 2014

With Obama’s Signature, Height Act Change Becomes Law

DCbuildings 008 120213 440x249 With Obamas Signature, Height Act Change Becomes Law

Issa, right, and Norton, center, sponsored legislation altering the Height Act that was enacted on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama signed the Height Act Friday, which changed the more-than-century-old law to allow “human occupancy of penthouses built above the statutory height limits of buildings in the District of Columbia,” according to a White House release.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif, introduced the legislation, which allows rooftop structures, including pools and restaurants, to reach a maximum of 20 feet above the current height limit.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., was a co-sponsor and said in a statement, “I am pleased that the Mayor and Council Chair reached an agreement that allowed the bill to move forward.  The bill, which moved smoothly through Congress and was signed by the President, is a good example of a home-rule bill.”


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