Heard on the Hill

Photos of the Week: They’re Back!
The week of September 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Over the August recess, the Ohio Clock’s two arms were returned to full working order. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returned to Washington with just one working arm after breaking his shoulder at his home in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Winter athletes warn Senate Democrats: Climate change is ‘melting away’ our sports
Former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter among participants at Democratic panel’s hearing

Professional climber Tommy Caldwell greets Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet before a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats heard Thursday from winter sports athletes and adventurers about the consequences of a warming climate on their careers and lives.

“I climb a great deal of glaciers and ice, and there is no doubt increased temperatures are melting away both my sport and my livelihood,” Caroline Gleich, a ski mountaineer and adventurer, told a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Kyrsten Sinema finishes another race: Ironman 70.3 World Championship in France
The run for House and Senate isn't the only race where Sinema has crossed the finish line

Senator Kyrsten Sinema competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France on Saturday.

Kyrsten Sinema crossed the finish line like a boss at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France, this past weekend - and she has the triumphant photo to prove it.

The Democratic senator's Instagram post Thursday makes the rest of us mortals (i.e. me) exhausted just looking at it - she's throwing up a high-five after competing for seven hours. (The only thing I can do for seven hours is sleep.)

HOH presents: the ultimate congressional fantasy football juggernaut
Here are the current and former members of Congress who would dominate

Then-Rep. Jon Runyan, R- N.J. left, blocks for the “Mean Machine” team at the Congressional Football Game for Charity, which pits congressmen against police, in 2011. In the background is then-Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Have you ever wondered which current or former members of Congress would make the ideal fantasy football team? Well, we’ve got you covered.

For hardcore football fans, playing fantasy can be an exercise in cognitive dissonance. If you are a Baltimore Ravens fan who has Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, you have to pray the Steelers QB throws four TDs while the rest of the team plays like garbage. But there is no better feeling than agonizing over setting the perfect lineup and then watching your team light up your enemy, er, opponent. And for perhaps the ultimate in cognitive dissonance, Heard on the Hill presents the All-Congress fantasy football team.

Eastern Market can haz ‘Eat Brgz’
Concept burger shop stretches boundaries with custom menu

Eat Brgz owner Brandon Gaynor discusses with Heard on the Hill his take on burgers and milkshakes. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Brandon Gaynor didn’t completely know the “how” behind opening a restaurant, but he had a good feeling about the “when.”

The launch of his Eastern Market burger shop during August recess “allowed us a little bit of a ramp-up period,” the former investment analyst-turned-restaurateur told me as we sat down in his new joint at 250 7th Street SE.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rankles, entertains at student debt hearing
Congressional hearings can be dry but not today

Things got a little testy between Rep. Sean Duffy, seen here, and Hasan Minhaj at Tuesday's hearing. (CQ Roll Call Screenshot)

You may not think a hearing on solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis would provide many laughs, but comedian Hasan Minhaj racked up a few, to the annoyance of some Republicans, while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t short on tense exchanges, either, even from the jump.

Tuesday Bruceday: A day in the life of Roy Blunt’s bearded dragon
’He gets a lot of attention around the office,’ senator’s spokeswoman says

Bruce, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s bearded dragon, poses for a picture in the Russell Senate Office Building on Sept. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Inhabiting the back corner of Roy Blunt’s staff quarters in the Russell Senate Office Building is the cold-blooded staff favorite, Bruce.

Despite his scaly skin and long tail, he’s a fixture of the Missouri Republican’s team. That is also despite his preference to hang out in the background and mostly avoid the press (Heard on the Hill being the exception.) After all, the only scoops Bruce has to offer are those of worms and freeze-dried crickets — not the kind sought by Capitol Hill reporters.

‘Queer Eye,’ beer and the Washington Nationals: Your Hill Horoscope
What to do in D.C. the week of Sept. 9-16

Antoni Porowski of “Queer Eye” will share recipes from his new book “Antoni in the Kitchen” on Tuesday at the Lincoln Theatre. (Courtesy HMH Books)

Tuesday at the Lincoln Theatre, food and wine expert Antoni Porowski of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” will preview recipes from his new book “Antoni in the Kitchen.” The book is out Monday. Porowski will also take questions from the audience. We hope you like guac!

As part of DC Beer Week, Red Bear Brewing will host a discussion on Thursday featuring women shaping the D.C. craft beer scene. Yes, there will be beer.

If it’s possible to ‘win’ August recess, these members did
Just don’t call it a vacation

Iowa's senior senator celebrates touring all of Iowa’s 99 counties with a brain freeze. (Courtesy Sen. Chuck Grassley/Instagram)

August is traditionally the time when members of Congress take a monthlong break from D.C., escaping the sweaty, oppressively hot swamp for their individual states. Recess, a tradition that predates air conditioning, is now known as a “district work period” — because lawmakers HATE that you’re in any way implying that they’re on vacation.

While their constituents are judging members on how much “work” they did during their time in their districts this August, we’re judging them based on who looked like they had the most fun.

Kyrsten Sinema wraps up recess with casual half Ironman world championship competition
The Arizona senator will compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Saturday in France

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Saturday in France. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In less than 12 hours and halfway around the globe, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will take a stab at being the world’s fastest half Ironman athlete in this weekend's world championship in France.

Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, posted two photos to her Instagram story on Friday hinting at her participation in this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France. In one photo Sinema is surrounded by a group of females decked out in bright gear accompanied by the caption “Betty Squad” — a nod to her hot pink athletic couture designed by Betty Designs, an apparel company that makes “badasses feel beautiful,” according to Instagram. 

Perchance to dream: Some British cheek and scowl in Congress
Brexit debate showcases a slightly different way of debating public policy

The British House of Commons has been the scene of extraordinary debate over Brexit the last two days. It is quite a contrast to the way the United States Congress conducts itself. (House of Commons/PA Images/Getty Images)

What hath the Brexit debate wrought? Leaving aside the overall chaos in the United Kingdom, the last two days have given those of us who watch Congress for a living a chance to imagine what it would be like if there was just a smidge of British cheek in its deliberations.

Anyone who has ever watched the British Parliament’s Prime Minister’s Questions has surely dared to dream what would happen should their cousins across the pond adopt such a freewheeling political debate.

‘American Idol’ tryouts test patience of DC federal workers
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. Others think it’s ‘bulls---’

The American Idol bus parked outside the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

If you enjoy hearing people randomly shout-sing ballads and practice Mariah Carey-like vocal runs, then Wednesday morning at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington was your own personal heaven.

“American Idol,” now in its 18th (!) season, held open auditions at the federal building named after a president who knew a thing or two about performance.

Where Is Amelia Earhart? Not at the US Capitol
The famed aviator was supposed to arrive in Washington years ago. What happened?

So far, Amelia Earhart is a no-show on Capitol Hill. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Explorer Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic back in the day, but he can’t find Amelia Earhart. His search this month turned up nothing, unless you count some seaweed and a stray piece of metal. That means it’s back to the drawing board for fans of the missing pilot.

One place they won’t have to look is the U.S. Capitol, even though a statue of Earhart was supposed to be installed in the building two decades ago.

‘American Factory’ arrives in time fraught with U.S.-China troubles
Netflix documentary humanizes international trade, labor fights in Dayton

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, makes an appearance in the Netflix documentary “American Factory,” including making comments encouraging a union movement at the facility in question in the Dayton area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Timing is everything, and the Netflix documentary “American Factory” comes out in times tailor-made for its story of the rebirth of a former U.S. truck-making facility as a Chinese glass manufacturer in the heart of the Rust Belt. 

Dayton, Ohio, has been in the headlines lately for the horrific mass shooting earlier this month that killed 10 and injured 27. But the Gem City has a proud history as the home of the Wright brothers, the Dayton peace accords and an industrial hub. 

Chicken fight: Steve Scalise settles Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A debate

Yet another arbiter has spoken in the Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just when we thought the dispute between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A was cooling down, Steve Scalise added a little heat.

In the fowl feud heard round the internet, the restaurant chains have been at war over which has the better chicken sandwich. Popeyes, long known for its Louisiana-style chicken, only added the sandwich to their menu in August, announcing the news on social media and turning the internet into a feeding frenzy.