Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2015

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August 21, 2015

Labor Group Sees ‘Pattern of Retaliation’ Against Capitol Workers

Forty Capitol workers went on strike in July to call for higher wages and a union. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Forty Capitol workers went on strike in July. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Less than a week after the Senate food vendor settled a dispute regarding retaliation against workers who went on strike, a supervisor allegedly reprimanded a worker who spoke out against her wages.

Kim, a worker in the Dirksen Senate Office Building who asked not to be identified with her last name, detailed in an Aug. 6 piece for The Guardian how she could not make ends meet with $10.33-an-hour wages and resorted to dancing in a strip club for extra money. Full story

August 18, 2015

Slain Intern a ‘Terrible Tragedy,’ Says Portman

UNITED STATES - MARCH 13: U.S. Capitol police investigate a suspicious package at 1st and D St. NE. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the second time this summer, a former congressional intern was killed in the District of Columbia, as a spike in violent crime continues to rock the nation’s capital.

Matthew Shlonsky, 23, was shot and killed around 5 p.m. Saturday, though police said he did not appear to be the target. Shlonsky resided in Northeast D.C., but hailed from Ohio. The 2014 American University graduate interned for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, from January to May in 2013. Full story

August 6, 2015

Chaffetz Calls for Removal of OPM CIO (Updated)

Chaffetz called for the removal of OPM CIO Donna Seymour. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chaffetz called for the removal of OPM CIO Donna Seymour. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:50 p.m. | Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, reiterated his call Thursday for the chief information officer at the Office of Personnel Management to step down in the wake of data breaches that affected millions of federal employees.

In a letter sent to acting OPM Director Beth Cobert, Chaffetz wrote that CIO Donna Seymour is “unfit to perform the significant duties for which she is responsible.” Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held lengthy hearings in June following two data breaches at OPM that affected more than 22 million current, former and prospective government employees. Full story

August 5, 2015

Senate Democrats Call for Higher Wages for Capitol Food Workers

 Brown led the effort to circulate the letter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Brown led the effort to circulate the letter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly all members of the Senate Democratic Conference are calling for Capitol food service workers to receive higher wages and improved working conditions, according to a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“It is important that all Senate cafeteria and catering workers are able to do their jobs in a positive and supportive work environment,” the senators wrote in a letter that’s expected to be sent to the Senate Rules Committee by the end of the week. “If Restaurant Associates is unable to treat and compensate its employees appropriately, we urge you to terminate the contract and find a different vendor.” Full story

July 30, 2015

Lawmakers Look to Enhance Unpaid Intern Protections

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats introduced three bills to protect interns from sexual harassment and discrimination Tuesday, notably extending protections to the scores of interns in congressional offices.

“It is unacceptable that employees and interns working right next to each other have different levels of protection against abuse,” said Oversight and Government Reform ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland. “There should be no legal gray area when we are talking about preventing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.” 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

June 18, 2015

Region’s Leaders Demand Metro Accountability

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Federal Transit Administration released a scathing report Wednesday detailing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s safety and management failures, leading the region’s officeholders to demand accountability.

“The FTA’s safety audit confirms my belief that WMATA is in need of a management restructuring and organizational turn-around,” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “I will continue to work with the District’s appointees to the Board of Directors and our regional partners to demand accountability.” Full story

June 10, 2015

Report: Congressional Websites Not Ready for Secure Connection

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Go to any congressional website and you’re sure to find a form for constituents to contact their lawmakers. But a recent analysis found most congressional websites are not equipped to protect that data as it is transmitted.

The Sunlight Foundation, a group that advocates for government transparency, recently published an analysis of congressional websites that revealed only 15 percent of sites are ready to implement a secure browsing connection, known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This code is visible at the beginning of a Web address and usually appears with a padlock next to it. Full story

May 19, 2015

GPO’s Real Estate Firm Disputes Criticisms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The global real estate firm tasked with crafting a plan to develop the Government Publishing Office’s parking lot is disputing an independent report claiming it mishandled lease negotiations with another government agency.

The GPO awarded CBRE a consulting services contract for the parking lot development last week, citing the firm’s experience with other federal government projects. But the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General found flaws in the firm’s lease negotiations and estimated the postal service could be overpaying $9.5 million a year for leases negotiated by the company. Full story

May 15, 2015

Obama Honors Fallen Officers at Capitol Memorial

Hundreds of officers and their families gathered at the memorial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Officers and their families attended the memorial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and their families from every corner of the country gathered at the Capitol Friday to honor their fallen brethren.

At the 34th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, the local, state and federal officers, dressed in full uniforms, gathered on the West Front lawn for the solemn ceremony, which included remarks from President Barack Obama.

“Your jobs are inherently dangerous; the reminders are too common,” Obama said. “We cannot erase every darkness or danger from the duty you’ve chosen. We can offer you the support that you need to be safer.” Full story

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