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

Posts in "Members of Congress"

July 29, 2014

Maryland Delegation Muscling for FBI Headquarters

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Maryland delegation wants FBI headquarters, “but we’re not going to be bullies here,” Mikulski said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A District of Columbia site didn’t make the shortlist for the FBI’s new headquarters released Tuesday by the General Services Administration. But to the thrill of Maryland’s congressional delegation, possible locations included the Greenbelt Metro Station and Landover Mall, both located in Prince George’s County.

The GSA Franconia Warehouse Complex in Fairfax County, Va., is the third finalist.

Flexing a bicep in her pink jacket, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski declared a victory equivalent to “winning the primary,” during an afternoon press conference and said the state could host the “muscular” headquarters the agency needs. Full story

Protest Raises Questions About Contract Workers of Legislative Branch

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Norton and Ellison rally with federal contractors who work at Union Station, the National Zoo and other D.C. sites. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Labor issues came to Capitol Hill Tuesday, as federal contractors protested wages at Union Station and members of Congress used the opportunity to discuss workers’ rights among contractors and employees in the legislative branch.

About 100 federal contractors who work minimum wage jobs at Union Station, Ronald Reagan National Airport, the National Zoo and the Pentagon marched through Columbus Circle on Tuesday morning waving picket signs and flags.

Halting the flow of taxis and tour buses at Union Station, they protested the White House’s executive order to increase hourly pay on new government contracts to $10.10 as “not enough” and demanded the right to unionize.

“These courageous workers have gone on strike nine times,” said Rev. Michael Livingston, national policy director and head of the Washington, D.C., office for Interfaith Worker Justice. The people waving white and blue flags behind his lectern were predominantly women, many dressed like Rosie the Riveter in red bandanas and starched blue shirts and holding the hands of toddlers who marched alongside their working moms. Full story

July 22, 2014

Tennessee Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Obama, Romney, Paul Ryan

Police have arrested a Tennessee man who allegedly threatened to kill President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and shoot other national and local officials.

In three profanity-laced voice mails left July 11 at the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, Jimmie Randall Johnson Jr. named a long list of leaders and said he would “blow them all up” and “come with an AK and kill all you [expletive],” according to an arrest warrant charging Johnson with harassment. Tennessee Homeland Security Director David Purkey and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Tommy Farmer were also specifically threatened.

Johnson, 45, left his name in the second call.

In an additional message on July 12, Johnson allegedly threatened to “light Nashville up,” and again threatened Romney and Ryan.

Records from the service provider traced the calls back to Johnson’s address in Ardmore, Tenn., near the Alabama border. Secret Service agents traveled to Huntsville, Ala., to interview him on July 18. Authorities say Johnson also admitted to leaving the messages during the interview.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

July 21, 2014

Queen Bee Hawking Jewelry for the ‘Powers That Bee’ on Capitol Hill

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Brooks brings her creations to the Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Allison Priebe Brooks)

A jewelry designer with a knack for brightening up Washington’s prim business attire brings her signature necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings to Capitol Hill this week for an exclusive trunk show and sale.

Senate staffer-turned-accessory entrepreneur Allison Priebe Brooks, founder of Queen Bee Designs, will set up shop at Cornerstone Government Affairs, 300 Independence Ave. SE, on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. With a client list that includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.; Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., and plenty of congressional spouses, she expects to see plenty of traffic from the powers that be — “or bee” — as Brooks likes to joke.

“Working on the Hill, people seem to dress really conservatively,” Brooks said in an interview with CQ Roll Call. “Our jewelry creates a buzz,” she said, pairing well with everything from neutral power suits to cocktail attire. Full story

July 18, 2014

Marino Staffer Arrested for Bringing Gun to Cannon

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Shucard was arrested Friday. (Via Facebook)

Capitol Police arrested a staffer for Rep. Tom Marino Friday morning on charges of carrying a 9mm handgun and magazine into the Cannon House Office building.

Ryan Shucard, the Pennsylvania Republican’s press secretary, was arrested around 9:15 a.m., according to Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider.

Shucard entered the southeast door of Cannon with the weapon. The Smith & Wesson 9mm and magazine were found during the search required for entry into the building, according to Schneider. People entering Cannon, including those with staff identification badges, like Shucard, are required to step through metal detectors and place bags on the belt of an X-Ray machine.

Shucard is charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony. He is currently being processed at Capitol Police headquarters.

Schucard was immediately placed on unpaid leave from Marino’s office, chief of staff Bill Tighe told CQ Roll Call in a phone call. “That will last until we know more about the situation,” Tighe said.

Full story

July 16, 2014

Maloney Calls for Investigation Into Threats From Pro-Gun Leader Larry Pratt

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Maloney (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., wants Capitol Hill law enforcement officials to investigate a prominent gun rights advocate’s praise for threats on her life, calling them evidence of “just how outrageous the extreme pro-gun movement has become.”

In a Rolling Stone article published Monday, Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt is quoted saying that the Second Amendment is for “for restraining tyrannical tendencies in government … especially those in the liberal, tyrannical end of the spectrum.”

The article also references an incident in April 2013, when Ronald Buchanan of Elmira, N.Y., contacted Maloney’s district office and made several death threats. Buchanan later plead guilty to making the threats and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, one year of probation and extensive anger management training.

“As someone who has been on the receiving end of violent threats, I can tell you that it is no small matter,” Maloney told CQ Roll Call in an interview Wednesday, expressing her concerns about Pratt’s comments. ”To hear Mr. Pratt say he was ‘glad’ about the threats made against me shows just how unhinged he is.” Full story

July 14, 2014

John Lewis Is on a Social Media Winning Streak

When Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., busted a move to Pharrell’s hit song “Happy,” a video of his boogie went viral.

Now, the 74-year-old congressman is dancing his way to MVP status in the House Democratic Caucus’ Online All-Stars social media contest utilizing his swinging hips and his civil rights activism. Lewis is leading the three-week competition, launched June 30 by Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., with thousands of new Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube followers.

Over the course of the contest, Lewis hasn’t been shy about sharing his moves. A July 4 Instagram video shows him grooving with one of “Atlanta’s wonderful ladies,” and he promised more photos and videos of his dancing in a July 7 tweet.

But the former Freedom Rider left his biggest impact on social media with a viral tweet of a mugshot snapped in 1961 during one of the 45 times he’s been arrested. Lewis shared the photo to commemorate his release from Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi following 37 days in prison on a charge of “disorderly conduct” for refusing to follow segregation law. (He once described the experience, and other brushes with the law, during an interview for the Southern Oral History Program.)

Another big hit on social media coincided with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act. Lewis caused a stir when he declared that if the bill was before Congress today, “it would not pass, it would probably never make it to the floor for a vote.”

According to a virtual scoreboard the minority whip’s office is using to share results with the public, Lewis is engaging more followers than any of his fellow lawmakers. If the winning streak continues, then Lewis could take home a trophy when the contest ends on July 21.

Correction 6:26 p.m.

An earlier version of this post misstated which office is using a virtual scoreboard to share results. It is the minority whip’s office.


June 10, 2014

Jerry Moran’s Floor Tribute to His World War II Veteran Dad

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., was absent from Washington on Tuesday, attending funeral services for his father in Plainville, Kan.

Raymond Edwin Moran died on June 6. He was 98.

The senator often spoke of his father, an Army veteran who served as a staff sergeant in North Africa and Italy during World War II. On the day before his dad’s death, Moran paid tribute to him as part of a Senate floor speech marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Full story

June 3, 2014

Liu Xiaobo Street Request Sparks Activists to Ask: What About Democracy in D.C.?

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the world commemorates the June 4, 1989, crackdown in Tiananmen Square, some powerful members of the House want to christen a street outside the Chinese Embassy in Northwest Washington in a symbolic protest of perceived tyranny.

“The case of the imprisoned Nobel Laureate, Dr. Liu Xiaobo, serves as a stark reminder to the world that China’s human rights abuses are as bad, if not worse, today,” the bipartisan group, spearheaded by Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., stated in a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council.

Wolf and 13 other lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., believe renaming the stretch of International Drive in front of the the sweeping limestone complex that flies China’s flag “would undoubtedly give hope to the Chinese people who continue to yearn for basic human rights and representative democracy and would remind their oppressors that they are in fact on the wrong side of history.”

To local activists steadfastly fighting for representative democracy for D.C. — including voting representation in Congress — the congressional request to rename part of the city to recognize human rights abuses halfway around the globe seems misguided. Full story

May 30, 2014

Maya Angelou Gets Tributes on House Floor, at National Portrait Gallery (Video)

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Fifteen years ago, Essence magazine took Del. Eleanor Homes Norton to Winston-Salem, N.C., to visit poet Maya Angelou’s home for an exchange about Black women “embracing their own power.”

Norton, then in her fourth term representing the District said, “the difference between Maya and me is that though she may not speak for people in some formal sense, my God, she speaks to them and they listen!”

The conversation between the politican and the poet was published in an August 1998 article by Lise Funderburg. Norton reflected on the visit this week as she mourned the loss of Angelou, who died Wednesday.

The congresswoman plans to lead a tribute to her close friend and fellow civil rights activist on the House floor Friday afternoon.

“My friend Maya Angelou needed every one of her 86 years to live her rich life as a renaissance woman — writer, poet, actor, dancer, screenwriter, professor, civil rights activist, and on top of all that talent, Maya also was a cook extraordinaire,” Norton said.

Angelou frequently visited the nation’s capital.

Less than two months ago, Angelou came to town to attend an unveiling of her portrait by Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin. The oil-on-canvas painting was revealed during an event co-hosted by the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African Art on April 5, the day after the poet’s 86th birthday.

Surrounded by friends and family, she was interviewed by Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Angelou spoke about her life and finding the patience and “… courage to look into one another’s face no matter what color, no matter what community to see one’s own self,” according to the gallery.

The painting was installed on the first floor of the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday. The work will be on view through June 12.

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