Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Posts in "Potpourri"

January 26, 2016

Sanders Is Latest Obstacle to Obama Nominee


Bernie Sanders VA Health care deal crisis

Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration is facing friendly fire, with Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey both placing a hold on the nomination.

Sanders said Tuesday that Robert Califf, currently serving as deputy commissioner at the FDA, is too closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Califf ran a research operation while at Duke University that received funding from that industry. Full story

January 20, 2016

35 Years Later, Former Hostages, Lawmakers Cheer Restitution


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., speaks during the ceremony to sign H.R.203, the "Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act." in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Isakson led a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to secure restitution for former Iranian hostages. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 1979, Johnny Isakson was just one of many Americans tuning in to Ted Koppel’s late night reports on the status of Americans taken hostage in Iran — what became the 444 day saga.

“I was one of the people that was alive when ‘Nightline’ got started,” the Republican senator from Georgia recalled Wednesday. “I took an interest when it happened. Never knew that I would get to the United States Senate, and when I got there on the Foreign Relations Committee, I came to appreciate the work that had been done in the past by people who tried to make compensation happen.”

Full story

January 6, 2016

The Out of This World Legacy of Supernova Mikulski


Mikulski toured the Goddard Space Flight Center before a town hall with employees. (Rebecca Roth/NASA/Goddard)

Mikulski toured the Goddard Space Flight Center before a town hall with employees. (Rebecca Roth/NASA/Goddard)

GREENBELT, Md. — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski spent Wednesday back on the campus where she watched as astronauts repair the Hubble Space Telescope more than two decades ago.

“I was here for that first mission,” recalled the Maryland Democrat who will retire at the end of this term of  Congress. “I went on so many Rolaids that day, I knew that I would never have acid reflux for 20 years.”

Full story

December 17, 2015

Senator Envisions Chamber’s Role Under a President Trump


Sasse spoke Thursday about a potential Trump White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sasse spoke Thursday about a potential Trump White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Move aside Plato’s cave, the Senate floor now has the allegory of President Donald Trump.

“Today I’d like to propose a thought experiment. Imagine President Trump has been propelled into the White House with 300 electoral votes,” Sen. Ben Sasse said on the Senate floor. “The first hundred days are huge. He signs an order that turns the Peace Corps into stone masons to build the southern wall, he shutters the Department of Education, and by executive order he turns the Department of Interior into the classiest oil company the world has ever known.”

Full story

December 15, 2015

Corker’s Lowball Financial Disclosure — a Symptom of a Bigger Problem?


(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Corker retained a CPA to review his financial disclosures. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reading through the addendum to Sen. Bob Corker’s financial disclosure, you might think the Tennessee Republican had been seriously misreporting assets and income.

But the reality might more underscore the shortfalls of the system.

Full story

December 4, 2015

Senate Periodical Press Gallery Director Ed Pesce to Retire


pesce

(Courtesy of Ed Pesce)

After 25 years — including 11 sergeants-at-arms, two President Bushes, a 50-50 Senate membership split and too many vote-a-ramas to count — the director of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery is packing it up.

Ed Pesce will retire from his post in mid-February, the Capitol Hill veteran told Roll Call Friday.

Full story

November 2, 2015

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul’s late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee posted to his Facebook page a clip of the Kentucky presidential hopeful expressing on the Senate floor his opposition to the budget deal, which also suspended the debt limit beyond the 2016 elections.

Full story

October 28, 2015

Reid Unloads on Fantasy Sports, Washington Football


Columnist George Will, from left, Reid and Harper before a Nationals game. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Columnist George Will, from left, Reid and Harper before a Nationals game. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Congress should act to stop weekly fantasy sports contests that he defines as unregulated gambling.

“I think we should do something here legislatively, but you know, I don’t get much done around here with my Republican colleagues,” Reid said Wednesday. “If not, state attorney generals and other state entities should take a look at this because it’s really unfair.”

Full story

October 27, 2015

Leahy Joins 15,000-Vote Club (Video)


patrick leahy

Leahy — shown here with subway operator Teresa Simms — cast his 15,000 vote on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy cast his 15,000th vote Tuesday, joining an exclusive club in Senate history.

The Vermont Democrat’s first vote came in 1975 on a resolution to establish the Church Committee. His 15,000th vote was on an amendment to cybersecurity legislation, and vote No. 15,001 came on his own amendment. Full story

October 17, 2015

Reid Backs Gaming Regulations for Fantasy Sports Sites


Reid insists Yucca nuclear waste storage project will stay dead after he's gone. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reid is backing gaming regulators in Nevada on fantasy sports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Nevada Gaming Control Board’s effort to require fantasy sports sites to have gambling licenses has won the backing of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

“I fully support the Nevada Gaming Commission’s determination‎ that daily fantasy sports is gambling. We have seen reports of insider betting and of young people gambling thousands of dollars a day with these unregulated companies. Until now, the websites offering daily fantasy sports have been operating in what is at best a legal gray area,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “Yesterday, the Nevada Gaming Commission, which has more experience regulating gaming than any other entity in the country, made it clear that these daily fantasy gambling companies must be regulated and held to the same high standards as other gaming operators in the state.”

Full story

October 16, 2015

Grassley Praises Reversal of ‘Ham-Handed’ Prison Pork Policy


Grassley poured iced tea in the pork tent at the 2014 Iowa State fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grassley serves iced tea in the pork tent at the 2014 Iowa State fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What happens when a farmer from Iowa is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? Pork stays on the menu at federal prison cafeterias.

In a letter sent Thursday to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Chairman Charles E. Grassley had questioned a change in policy that removed pork products from the facilities.

By Friday, the plan was reversed.

Full story

October 6, 2015

Lautenberg’s Widow Called Key on Toxic Substances Deal


UNITED STATES - October 6: Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of former Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., speaks during a news conference to call on Congress to pass the Lautenberg Act to "protect families from dangerous chemicals," outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., speaks during a news conference to call on Congress to pass the Lautenberg Act to “protect families from dangerous chemicals.” (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker was arm-in-arm with the widow of a one-time political rival, Frank R. Lautenberg, Tuesday morning outside the Capitol.

Booker and Bonnie Lautenberg were on hand to tout the bipartisan agreement on a toxic substances and chemical safety overhaul spearheaded by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., a coalition including Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Full story

September 28, 2015

Schumer’s Latest Target? The Price of Eyeglasses


Schumer is among the senators who wear glasses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer is among the senators who wear glasses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer thinks you’re paying too much for eyeglasses.

The New York Democrat, who is No. 3 in party leadership, has made the eyewear giant that owns LensCrafters the target of his latest consumer crusade. Schumer wants to make sure customers get access to their prescriptions after eye exams, so they can shop for their next pair of glasses on the Internet or at a different brick-and-mortar retailer.

Full story

September 24, 2015

Inside the Senate Lineup Ahead of Pope Speech


pope congress

Pope Francis arrives to meet with Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in the Capitol before delivering his speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators started to assemble at the doors of the Senate chamber by 9 a.m. Thursday, just ahead of Pope Francis’ address to Congress, taking place across the Capitol.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., grinned for a cellphone photo snapped by Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., as the lawmakers awaited the arrival of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Full story

September 17, 2015

Susan Collins Casts 6,000th Consecutive Vote (Video)


UNITED STATES - MARCH 25: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks with reporters as she arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Collins never misses a vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1 p.m. | Sen. Susan Collins’ impressive Senate vote streak hit a new marker Thursday.

The Republican from Maine cast her 6,000th consecutive roll call vote on the second vote of the day.

Full story

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