Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 26, 2015

Posts in "Legislative Branch Funding"

April 24, 2015

Under Microscope for Gyrocopter, Capitol Police Stretched Thin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Did Capitol Police identify the gyrocopter as an imminent threat? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of Congress agreed Doug Hughes is lucky to be alive after his dangerous stunt, based on what they learned about the April 15 gyrocopter landing during closed-door briefings from Capitol law enforcement. But big questions remain unanswered.

Police had multiple weapons trained on the small aircraft, but decided not to shoot the 61-year-old mailman down from the sky. Spring break crowds roaming the Hill may have played a part in their judgment call, though lawmakers declined to go into specifics about where the guns were and who held their fire. Full story

April 17, 2015

Congress Wants Answers From Capitol Police on Gyrocopter (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress say they received no warning that the West Front went into lockdown Wednesday afternoon, prompting concerns about how Capitol Police would handle a more menacing threat to the secure airspace surrounding the Dome.

Among those demanding accountability from Capitol Police over the gyrocopter incident are appropriators who write the Capitol Police budget. Full story

April 14, 2015

Library of Congress: the Unexpected Diplomat

Maps in the Library of Congress Madison Building. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Maps in the Library of Congress Madison Building. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One doesn’t typically expect terrorism to become a topic of discussion at hearing about library funding.

But that’s exactly what happened on March 17, as the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee assessed the budget requests of the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol.

“You’re the world’s resource and we’ve been reading the news reports of ISIS members destroying artifacts of ancient civilizations,” the panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, said to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, teeing up a question about a little-known aspect of the Library of Congress. Full story

April 2, 2015

Reports Detail ‘Management Weaknesses’ in Library of Congress Technology

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two Government Accountability Office reports released Tuesday revealed “management weaknesses” in the Library of Congress’ information technology divisions as the Library is working to bolster its digital collection and cataloging processes.

The Library’s acting chief information officer, Elizabeth R. Scheffler, testified at a March 17 Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that the Library is adjusting to a dramatic growth in digital materials. Full story

March 26, 2015

Capitol Fun Police? Farr Opposes July Fourth Security Plan

Farr

Farr fed up with Capitol Police curtailing fun around the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the House’s most liberal Democrats vowed to be the “squeaky wheel” if congressional leaders agree to recommendations from Hill law enforcement to limit access to the Capitol on July Fourth.

“This building belongs to the people, not to the Capitol Police, and they ought to accommodate the people who own this building, the American people, so they can come and visit their Capitol,” Rep. Sam Farr of California said Thursday, telling CQ Roll Call that the March 12 proposal ticked him off. Full story

Congress Not Pushing Back on July Fourth Security Crackdown

Oh, say will you still be able to see from the Capitol? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oh, say will you still be able to see from the Capitol? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hill staffers would be the people most affected if Capitol law enforcement cracks down on Memorial Day and Fourth of July parties. That might be why members of Congress do not seem to be pushing back on a March 12 letter from the Capitol Police Board.

While lawmakers dismissed past proposals to limit access to the so-called “people’s house,” such as building a fence around the 276-acre complex, as former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer recently suggested, this most recent recommendation might prove more popular. Full story

March 12, 2015

Capitol Expecting ‘Mass of Humanity’ for Pope Visit

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin (left) said he has experience protecting the pope. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Larkin, left, said he has experience protecting the pope. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The officials in charge of Capitol security are preparing for Pope Francis’ address to Congress in September, and the masses of people that are expected to descend upon the District of Columbia to get a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Church.

“The papal visit will be significant in planning and scope. Almost similar, literally, to an inauguration. But perhaps even surpassing that,” Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine said Thursday at a Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. “We anticipate very, very large crowds all during that day, much earlier than even before the Pope coming to the Capitol, lining all of the streets. It’s a huge and very significant event.” Full story

March 11, 2015

Capito Steps Into Legislative Branch Chairmanship

Capito is the new chairwoman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capito is the new chairwoman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., stepped into the limelight Tuesday, highlighting her new role as head of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Capitol complex and introducing herself on the floor with her maiden speech.

“This is our first run at the show,” Capito said at the start of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, referring to herself and new ranking member Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. “And I speak for myself, and I think I speak for the senator, that really we’re excited about having this responsibility. ” Full story

March 4, 2015

Craigslist for Congress? Farr Makes Far-Fetched Pitches

Farr, right, wants to streamline tour booking for staff assistants. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Farr, right, wants to streamline tour booking for staff assistants. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Trying to find housing near the Capitol? Selling a bike? Need to locate lost jewelry?

Right now, cork bulletin boards outside the Hill’s cafeterias serve as the only official space for staffers to post such notices. But Rep. Sam Farr wants the House to follow the lead of other large employers by creating an online system to make such transactions simpler.

Full story

February 25, 2015

Officer Morale a Hot Topic for Capitol Police at Appropriations Hearing

The U.S. Capitol Police Recruit Officer Class 177 is sworn in during a ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wasserman Schultz worries low morale among Capitol Police could distract from protecting the complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Low morale among Capitol Police was a hot topic for law enforcement officials on Wednesday during a series of panels convened by the House lawmakers who set the department’s budget.

Both House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine fielded questions about low officer morale from longtime Legislative Branch appropriator Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the subcommittee’s top Democrat. She professed a “notable uptick” in the number of officers pulling her aside on the Hill to chat about internal department issues. Full story

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