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

Posts in "Capitol Hill Neighborhood"

November 21, 2014

Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives on the Hill

xmastree 256 112114 440x280 Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives on the Hill

The Capitol Christmas Tree is hoisted from the truck for transportation to the West Lawn of the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All the way from Minnesota, the Capitol Christmas Tree arrived on Friday. Now, the Minnesota White Spruce just needs to be anchored upright, decorated head to toe and lit, finally, by Speaker John A. Boehner on Dec. 2.

This year’s tree traveled from the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota with some companions from back home — thousands of handmade ornaments from North Star State children tagged along for the journey.

According to an Architect of the Capitol blog post about the tree, the tree was selected on a two-day trip in July by AOC Superintendent of Capitol Grounds Ted Bechtol.

The lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol. It will be lit every night when the sun goes down until Jan. 1.

Related:

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Announced

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

November 12, 2014

Orientation: Some Are Old, Some Are New, Most Are Red, a Few Are Blue

gopsens 081 111214 440x292 Orientation: Some Are Old, Some Are New, Most Are Red, a Few Are Blue

Newly elected GOP senators pose for a photo. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a sunny Wednesday in the nation’s capital, new members of Congress got their first taste of life as lawmakers in Washington, complete with meetings and run-ins with the press.

Newly elected House members arrived at the Capitol Hill Hotel two blocks from the Capitol starting at 9 a.m. Rep.-elect Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., greeted the media at the hotel, noting that he arrived in D.C. Tuesday night and he “woke up this morning with cameras in my face.”

“Welcome to Washington,” replied the reporters. Full story

November 7, 2014

Road Closures for Concert for Valor on Veterans Day

The star-studded Concert for Valor planned for Veterans Day on the National Mall will result in many road closures around the Capitol on Tuesday.

From 6 a.m. until the conclusion of the event, the following street closures and traffic restrictions will be in effect for vehicles:

  • First Street between Constitution Avenue Northwest and Independence Avenue Southwest.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue between First Street Northwest and Third Street Northwest.
  • Maryland Avenue between First Street Southwest and Third Street Southwest.
  • Cars northbound on Washington Avenue Southwest between D Street Southwest and Independence Avenue Southwest will be redirected.

For pedestrian traffic:

  • Union Square.
  • 100 Block of First Street Northwest.
  • Area north of and adjacent to Union Square (6 a.m. to midnight).
  • U.S. Botanic Garden will be closed to pedestrians (5 p.m. to midnight).

Temporary lighting, message boards, and signs will be in place around the Capitol complex to help people find their way to the concert, according to the Capitol Police.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

November 6, 2014

‘HillVets’ Pub Crawl to Benefit Homeless Children

shelter002 021414 440x295 HillVets Pub Crawl to Benefit Homeless Children

HillVets wants to collect coats for kids at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of congressional staffers who served in the military are hoping to use attention focused on them this Veterans Day weekend to bring fellow veterans together and give back to their Capitol Hill community.

On Friday “HillVets,” a group of Capitol Hill staffers who are also veterans, will host its second annual “Vets 4 Kids Coat Crawl” to collect coats and raise money to buy coats for children at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter.

The “Coat Crawl” is a pub crawl to three Capitol Hill watering holes that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Attendees can bring a children’s coat or make a monetary donation, and will receive tickets for a beer at each restaurant. A participant who donates $40 will also receive a signed copy of “March,” the graphic novel by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Full story

October 29, 2014

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Announced

tree 033 120412 Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Announced

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Minnesota White Spruce to be decorated for holiday festivities on the West Front of the Capitol was cut down Wednesday and is en route to Washington, where it will be lit by Speaker John A. Boehner on Dec. 2.

According to a statement from the Architect of the Capitol, the tree will be decorated by by thousands of handcrafted ornaments from Minnesotan children in the North Star State. “It’s a major point of pride for Minnesota that this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree comes from the Chippewa National Forest,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in the AOC release. “This massive spruce is a shining example of the extraordinary natural beauty our state has to offer, and I’m excited to see it light up our nation’s capital this holiday season for the entire country to see.”

The tree will be lit every night from Dec. 2 until Jan. 1 from nightfall until 11 p.m., a tradition going back to 1964.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

October 28, 2014

Grant Gerber, Nevada Activist, Dies From Fall Sustained on Horseback Ride to Capitol Hill

cowboys 379x330 Grant Gerber, Nevada Activist, Dies From Fall Sustained on Horseback Ride to Capitol Hill

Participants in the Grass March Cowboy Express visited Capitol Hill. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

A horseback protest that trotted through Washington on Oct. 16 turned out to be one of the final rides of Nevada conservative activist Grant Gerber’s life.

The Elko County Commissioner, hailed by friends as a “freedom fighter,” died nine days after visiting Capitol Hill with the Grass March Cowboy Express to voice frustrations over Bureau of Land Management grazing policies. Gerber was 72.

Twelve days into the cross-country journey, Gerber sustained a severe concussion when the horse he was riding took a tumble in Kansas. He was examined and released from a St. Louis, Mo., hospital with no sign of bleeding. Gerber felt he was healing as the caravan continued on its quest. An ominous email written before the ride began explained his determination. Full story

October 22, 2014

Former Top Cop Suggests Capitol Complex Is Too Open (Audio)

Congress’ former top cop thinks there should be major changes to security at the 276-acre Capitol complex, saying its open and accessible campus is “much to my chagrin.”

Terrance W. Gainer said in an interview he would add gates around the Capitol perimeter and consider re-routing traffic around campus. Gainer made his comments as a federal judge ordered Omar Gonzalez to undergo a mental health evaluation within the next 30 days to determine whether he is competent to stand trial on federal and local charges of infiltrating the White House on Sept. 19. The case is causing major repercussions for the Secret Service.

It also prompted Gainer, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms who also served four years as the chief of the Capitol Police, to frankly address the challenges for guarding the complex against intrusions.

“One of the challenges the chief has, or the director of the Secret Service, is keeping everybody sharp all the time,” Gainer told CQ Roll Call. “Up on Capitol Hill we have, you know, 25,000 employees and 3 million visitors so it is very open, and keeping the officers alert and active, you know, is an important challenge.”

Full story

September 24, 2014

D.C. Police Roll Out Body Cameras; None Planned for Capitol Police

graycam 330x330 D.C. Police Roll Out Body Cameras; None Planned for Capitol Police

Gray modeled camera-equipped glasses that are part of a D.C. police pilot program. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Congress escalated its calls for more transparency in law enforcement in the wake of the Aug. 9 shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., suggesting body cameras for police officers might improve public safety.

The District of Columbia government, however, has been looking at the technology for more than a year. Capitol Police have also been keeping tabs on the new technology.

Beginning Oct. 1, approximately 165 officers from the Metropolitan Police Department will be patrolling the District of Columbia outfitted with sleek recording devices that attach to their shoulders, head or chest. The pilot program has a $1 million budget and is expected to last six months. It involves officers from all seven police districts testing five camera models from three different vendors. Full story

September 19, 2014

Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

redskins001 092704 440x290 Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

A Redskins cheerleader entertained Capitol Police during a 2009 roll call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2009, Capitol Hill welcomed the Washington Redskins Marching Band and two cheerleaders for a pep rally on the West Front. It was a festive preparation for a Monday night NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Five years later, with growing opposition to the Washington team’s name, plus controversy surrounding the $10 billion league, Congress is attacking the NFL on all fronts. Members of both chambers have written Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, to complain about his handling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, calling for more transparency from the league.

Now, Senate Democrats are following through on a threat to use the NFL’s nonprofit status to pressure team owner Dan Snyder into changing the franchise’s name, putting the company’s tax exemption in peril.

Full story

September 16, 2014

Navy Yard Memorial Event Marks Anniversary of Tragedy

Navy Yard Shooting 1 091613 440x286 Navy Yard Memorial Event Marks Anniversary of Tragedy

U.S. Navy Captain Michael Graham calls to let people know he is OK after he escaped building 197 following the Sept. 16, 2013, Navy Yard shooting. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the one-year anniversary of the tragic Navy Yard shooting in Southeast Washington, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, is inviting the Capitol Hill community and others to an evening ceremony honoring victims and survivors.

Among the 12 people gunned down by Aaron Alexis were three constituents from the Maryland Democrat’s district. All will be honored, along with the first responders and law enforcement involved in the response, during the 6 p.m. public ceremony at Canal Park, 1100 New Jersey Ave. SE, a green space near the Navy Yard gates.

“With so many Fifth District residents who serve in military and civilian roles at the Navy Yard — or know someone who does — many of us continue to keep our thoughts and prayers with the victims, survivors, and families of all of those affected,” Hoyer said in a statement.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, the congressman said he expected the event to renew discussion of gun control in Congress but was skeptical any action would be taken.

Twelve months later, lawmakers with oversight responsibilities in the Senate and House have probed into the security clearance background screening process that failed to identify Alexis as a potential threat. An independent panel appointed by the Department of Defense and a White House report have also delved into security clearance procedures.

President Barack Obama memorialized the rampage in a Tuesday statement and said the nation has continued to “improve security at our country’s bases and installations to protect our military and civilian personnel who help keep us safe.”

“One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved,” Obama stated. “Today, we must do the same — rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for common-sense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.”

Navy Yard employees, some of the Navy’s top brass and Mayor Vincent Gray will also be in attendance for the Tuesday evening ceremony, organized by the group Near Southeast Community Partners.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...