Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

Posts in "Potpourri"

July 1, 2015

McConnell Once Wanted Reagan on $10 Bill, Now Says Replacing Hamilton Is ‘Terrible Idea’

McConnell says taking Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill is a "terrible idea."(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell says taking Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill to make way for a woman is a “terrible idea.” In 2004, he talked up doing the same to make room for Ronald Reagan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Ronald Reagan died, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with the Republican president.

But McConnell slammed the Treasury Department’s plan to replace Hamilton to make room for a woman when asked about it Tuesday.

“A really bad idea, which is not to say that some woman or women in American history shouldn’t be honored, but the last person who ought to be removed from currency is the person who basically founded the American banking system and created the financial system for the United States, Alexander Hamilton,” McConnell said in a local TV interview.

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June 24, 2015

Mississippi Senators Defend Jefferson Davis

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi’s two senators are ready to change the state flag, but they still honor and defend Jefferson Davis, the man who served as the president of the Confederacy and whose statue stands prominently in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tossed Jefferson Davis under the proverbial bus Tuesday — calling for the Davis statue in Kentucky’s Capitol to be moved to a museum — part of a wave of efforts across the nation to roll back Confederate symbols after images emerged of Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine in a racially motivated massacre in Charleston, S.C., posing with the Confederate battle flag. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 7:08 p.m.
Potpourri

Confederate Flag Aside, Other Symbols Are Everywhere

The Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag as part of its design, hangs in the U.S. Capitol along the Senate subway. The state's two senators called for changing the flag design Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag as part of its design, hangs in along the Senate Subway tunnel. The state’s two senators called for changing the flag design Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Confederate flags in South Carolina and Mississippi have garnered much of the public’s attention following the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, but they aren’t the only symbols forcing politicians to judge the line between heritage, history and intimidation.

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By Matthew Fleming Posted at 4:05 p.m.
Potpourri

June 23, 2015

McConnell: Move Kentucky’s Jefferson Davis Statue to a Museum (Video)

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rather than wait for outside pressure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the statue of Jefferson Davis prominently displayed in Kentucky’s state capitol should be moved to a museum — but he wasn’t quite ready to propose moving the Jefferson Davis statue out of the U.S. Capitol.

The Kentucky Republican noted Davis’ sole link to the Bluegrass State is he was born there, but then moved to Mississippi and went on to become the president of the Confederate States of America.

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June 4, 2015

Senate Adopts Plan to Halt Pentagon’s ‘Paid-for Patriotism’ (Updated)

pentagon spending

McCain and Flake are teaming up to stop the Pentagon from spending money to honor troops at sporting events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:22 p.m. | A trio of senators, including the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have won the support of their colleagues to block the Pentagon from spending taxpayer dollars to honor troops at sporting events.

The proposal would bar the use of federal contracts to have members of the armed services honored at sporting events. The practice came to light when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., highlighted an agreement between the NFL’s New York Jets and the New Jersey National Guard.

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June 3, 2015

Senate Subcommittee Planning Hearing on FIFA Scandal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Moran is the subcommittee chairman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of the scandal that’s rocked FIFA, the international soccer governing body, a Senate subcommittee is getting ready for a hearing on human rights in Qatar.

Qatar has been criticized for human-rights abuses in connection with the migrant laborers helping build the World Cup facilities, and aides to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., brought to his attention an ESPN E:60 report on the conditions associated with the construction.

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May 31, 2015

Leahy Recalls Seeing Beau Biden in Iraq (Video)

Beau Biden ran into Leahy during a tour of duty in Iraq. (Courtesy John Tracy/Office of Sen. Leahy)

Beau Biden ran into Leahy during a tour of duty in Iraq. (Courtesy John Tracy/Office of Sen. Leahy)

The Senate’s rare Sunday session convened on a somber note, mourning the loss of a son of the chamber’s president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., each opened with condolences for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., on the death of his son Beau Biden, the former attorney general of Delaware, Saturday night.

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May 27, 2015

Menendez, McCain Sent Letter to FIFA Just Before Indictments

McCain says Obama's "shameful" decision to pull troops from Iraq years ago led to the loss of Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCain joined with Menendez in sending a letter to FIFA on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Well, this timing was prescient.

On Tuesday afternoon, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and John McCain, R-Ariz., fired off a letter to the FIFA Congress encouraging the international soccer governing body to reconsider granting a fifth term at the helm to President Sepp Blatter.

The election had been scheduled for later this week at a meeting in Switzerland, but that plan may have to change after Swiss law enforcement agents swept through a hotel where top FIFA authorities gathered to round up officials on criminal charges in the United States, as The New York Times reported from Zurich.

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May 19, 2015

Mike Lee Takes Town Halls to YouTube, Ustream

Mike Lee has turned video town halls into monthly events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lee has tstreamrned video town halls into regular events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

About once a month, Sen. Mike Lee’s Capitol Hill office turns into a television studio.

Since February of 2013, the Utah Republican has convened regular video town halls, with professional quality broadcast equipment that’s been put to regular use.

And now that Lee and his staff have moved into more spacious quarters on the third floor of the Russell Senate Office Building, there’s even a fireplace. A Lee aide said it’s the only such regular video session in the Senate, though it seems more are sure to follow as lawmakers are always looking for new ways to reach constituents.

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May 8, 2015

Behind a Resolution, a Story About a Stroke

Stroke Resolution

Blumenthal’s office was contacted by the Angerames in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of Congress introduce resolutions all the time expressing support for one cause or another that get little or no attention, but the truth is that they all have back stories.

Last week, lawmakers introduced what’s become an annual resolution supporting the designation of May as Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month. Last year’s version moved through the Senate by unanimous consent just before the chamber took the Memorial Day recess. It’s a resolution inspired by a young man from Connecticut who was afflicted with a pediatric stroke.

The parents of Patch Angerame reached out to Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office back in 2011, facing the prospects of choosing between exorbitant medical bills or not providing their son with proper care because of insurance issues.

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:48 p.m.
Potpourri

May 5, 2015

George Mitchell Tells His Favorite Tales in New Memoir

Warner, left, and Mitchell shared a laugh with Mitchell's wife years later at the Mitchell portrait unveiling. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Warner, left, and Mitchell share a laugh with Mitchell’s wife at the Mitchell portrait unveiling. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not long after George J. Mitchell gave up a federal judgeship in Maine for an appointment to the Senate, he found himself sleeping on a cot.

The Maine Democrat who would go on to become majority leader writes in a new memoir out Tuesday, published by Simon & Schuster, that an old-fashioned all-night filibuster followed shortly after his arrival, the kind that in 1980 meant senators would have to catch naps on cots not far from the Senate floor.

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April 28, 2015

Durbin: ‘Tax and Spend’ for Medical Research

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard J. Durbin returned to his alma mater Monday evening for a lecture that lived up to its name.

The talk by the Illinois Democrat in the old Riggs Memorial Library on Georgetown University’s main campus was billed as “The Case for Good Government: What the Demagogues and Deniers Don’t Get (or Won’t Admit).”

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:08 p.m.
Policy, Potpourri

April 15, 2015

Life as Jon Tester’s Executive Assistant

Tester and Jackson sit down for an interview in the senator's Capitol hideaway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tester and Jackson sit down for an interview in the senator’s Capitol hideaway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With 14 fingers between them, there’s never a shortage of joke material for Montana Sen. Jon Tester and his executive assistant, Luke Jackson: catching, texting, meat grinders.

During last month’s vote-a-rama — from the couch in Tester’s hideaway office in the bowels of the Capitol to a hallway just off the Senate floor — their laughter made an endless day of nonbinding amendment votes tolerable, at least for one particular hour spent with CQ Roll Call. Full story

April 14, 2015

Walter Isaacson to Speak at Next Bipartisan Senate Lunch

Walter Isaacson, center, will address a bipartisan Senate lunch. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Isaacson, center, will address a bipartisan Senate lunch. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is time again for the Senate to get together for a bipartisan lunch.

Noted author Walter Isaacson, the president of the Aspen Institute, is set to speak with senators Wednesday afternoon, according to leadership aides. It follows a similar lunch in early February where senators heard from some of their colleagues new and old about their experiences.

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By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5:41 p.m.
Potpourri

What’s ‘Life After Congress’ for a Temporary Senator?

Cowan talks with Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, during the dedication event for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston on March 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cowan talks with Sen. Angus King during the dedication event for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston on March 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BOSTON — Sporting a Red Sox cap and a fleece jacket emblazoned with the logo of his law firm, you wouldn’t know that the man in the corner booth of a diner was a historic figure, one of just nine African-Americans to have ever served in the United States Senate.

But retired Sen. William “Mo” Cowan of Massachusetts might well prefer it that way when he visits establishments such as Victoria’s Diner in the Dorchester neighborhood here, since he never intended to be a senator in the first place.

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