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

Posts in "Campus"

July 28, 2015

House Limits Chamber Access for Pope Address

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House lawmakers opted Tuesday to limit who can be present in the chamber during Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress in September.

In a vote on a procedural measure Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers opted to exclude former members of Congress from being present for the address. Former members are typically allowed in the chamber, and make appearances at other dignitaries’ addresses to Congress, but will not be granted access when the pontiff addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24. Full story

July 24, 2015

Capitol Marks 17 Years Since Fatal Shooting

Capitol Police Officer Gene Petty stands on ceremonial duty before an annual wreath-laying ceremony for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson, killed by a gunman while on duty in 1998. The ceremony took place at an entrance to the Capitol dedicated to the slain officers. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police honor two of their own, who were killed by a gunman while on duty in 1998. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On a day when Louisiana lawmakers and other members of Congress mourned a fatal shooting in a Lafayette movie theater, Capitol Hill also honored two Capitol Police officers killed by a gunman who charged into the Capitol exactly 17 years ago.

“Shots fired at the Document Door. This was some 50 feet from where I was sitting. Two U.S. Capitol Police officers were down,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, recalled on Friday. “Their names were Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson. Between them, they had eight children and 36 years on the job.” Full story

July 22, 2015

Capitol Food Workers Bring Income Inequality to Congress’ Front Step

A protester at Wednesday's rally. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Workers called for higher wages and a union. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

For the third time in the past eight months, food-service workers at the Capitol have gone on strike to push for higher wages and union representation, a rare example of a national issue — income inequality — hitting close to home for Congress.

Forty Capitol workers, the highest number so far, joined roughly 650 federal contract workers from across the District of Columbia Wednesday who went on strike and rallied in Upper Senate Park. Full story

July 21, 2015

House Phone System Malfunctions During Maintenance

Phones in the House went down Tuesday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Phones in the House went down Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The phone system in the House went down for roughly one hour Tuesday morning, causing some lawmakers to direct phone calls to their district offices.

Engineers for the chief administrative officer sent a message at 10:43 a.m. to House offices stating, “CAO Engineers are working to resolve a problem preventing external phones from calling House phone numbers.” One hour later, CAO engineers sent another notice that they had “resolved the problem with incoming phone calls.”

The notice did not indicate the cause of the malfunction. When asked about the cause, CAO spokeswoman Emily Goodin wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call, “Routine maintenance was being performed on the phone system when a temporary outage occurred.  The problem has been resolved.”

Though the problem was eventually resolved, the malfunction caused some chaos on Capitol Hill.

A handful of lawmakers’ Twitter accounts attempted to alert constituents about the issue, instructing those looking to contact them to call their district offices.

In Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s Longworth office, Communications Director Greg Brooks first noticed the phone problem around 10:30 a.m. Brooks told CQ Roll Call he was expecting a call from someone, but received an email instead, saying they couldn’t get through. Staffers in the Ohio Republican’s office began investigating the problem, and discovered word was spreading on an internal listserv.

“Our phones in DC are experiencing technical difficulties,” Wenstrup’s official account tweeted at 10:54 a.m., along with contact info for the congressman’s Cinncinatti office.

Fellow Ohio Republican Pat Tiberi tweeted about the problems with the phones in his Longworth office one minute later, instructing those in need of assistance to contact his office in Worthington, Ohio.

Rep. David Joyce, D-Ohio, cited “technical difficulties” in Washington on social media. The phones were down for about 45 minutes, according to Kevin Benacci, Joyce’s deputy chief of staff.

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., alerted his constituents to the “out-of-order” phones.

District staff for Rep. Lynn Jenkins helped the Kansas Republican’s Capitol Hill office realize the phone lines were down, according to spokesman Tom Brandt. The office sent out a tweet, instructing callers to dial Jenkins’ Topeka office. About 10 to 15 minutes after the problem was discovered, the phones began working, Brandt said.

As of noon, Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., was the only congressman to tweet that his phones were back up. A GOP staffer in Las Vegas said staff on the Hill notified Hardy’s district team of the issue. It was resolved 25 minutes later.

Emily Cahn contributed to this report.

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Capitol Police Search Powers Provoke Constitutional Concerns

The April 11 suicide on the West Front could Capitol grounds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The April 11 suicide on the West Front shook tourists on the Capitol grounds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The trio of congressional officials who have exclusive control over traffic rules on the Capitol grounds are ordering a change that would enhance Capitol Police’s authority to search backpacks, suitcases and other personal belongings carried onto the 290-acre property.

Under a section of code banning firearms, dangerous weapons and explosive devices, the language approved by the Capitol Police Board on July 15 states: “At the direction of the Chief of Police, the United States Capitol Police may search packages, bags, and other containers in the immediate possession of individuals who enter and are within the United States Capitol Grounds for the purpose of detecting prohibited items.” Full story

July 15, 2015

Capitol Bike Accident Reveals Cyclists’ Challenges in D.C.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Emily Estus’ daily bicycle route to work includes a stretch along the Capitol grounds, but her commute took a turn for the worse one day in April.

As the 23-year-old D.C. resident rode on the north side of the Capitol through the parking area along Constitution Avenue, a regular pathway for cyclists, she collided with a car as it turned into a parking spot. Full story

July 14, 2015

Should Congressional Research Service Reports Be Public?

apitol Hill Club on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lance says the information in CRS reports belongs to the American people. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The walls between members of the public and Capitol Hill’s exclusive division of policy and legal analysts are too tall, according to transparency advocates both inside and outside of Congress.

Such sentiment is prompting their calls to lawmakers with jurisdiction over the Library of Congress and the House clerk’s office to examine making public the highly regarded work of the Congressional Research Service. Full story

July 10, 2015

Capitol Evaluates Own Cybersecurity After OPM Hack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As news broke that data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management affected more than 22 million people, Senate staffers received a notice from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms about the chamber’s own cybersecurity.

“As a result of recent data breaches in other areas of government, a reassessment of our cybersecurity posture was implemented,” read the Thursday email obtained by CQ Roll Call. The message then described updates to logging into the Senate’s Web VPN service, or workers’ remote access to their Senate accounts. Full story

July 9, 2015

D.C.-Area Leaders Protest Donald Trump Hotel

Donald Trump

Trump’s new D.C. hotel attracted protesters Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Local leaders from around the nation’s capital gathered Thursday on Pennsylvania Avenue to protest at the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion, which Donald Trump is converting into a luxury hotel.

Their message was simple: “Dump Trump!” Full story

Senate Chaplain’s Prayer Praises South Carolina As It Removes Confederate Flag (Video)

Senate Chaplain Barry Black (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Chaplain Barry Black (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Chaplain Barry Black took a moment to praise the South Carolina state government Thursday morning, after it voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds.

“Guide us with your powerful hands,” Black, the first African-American Senate chaplain, said in his opening prayer. “And Lord we praise you for the courage of the South Carolina legislature.”

Full story

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