Heard on the Hill

Are you cut out for the campaign trail?
How to tell if you’re a campaigner or meant for the Hill life

Jennifer Wexton campaign manager Ray Rieling points to CNN’s coverage of the Virginia 10th District race as Wexton’s staff and family watch election returns in the campaign’s war room on election night 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Half-eaten doughnuts. Late-night conference calls over multiple cups of coffee. The life of a campaigner can be hectic and unpredictable. It’s also more physical, whether it’s spending hours in a car driving from the Tallapoosa County Democratic Women’s luncheon or logging miles on Saturday morning door knocking in the summer heat.

It’s best suited for those with a high tolerance for chaos.

‘Sweden is going to walk out of this with a black eye’: Congressman on A$AP Rocky detention
Rep. Adriano Espaillat says race is a factor

ASAP Rocky performs onstage during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 at Fillmore Miami Beach on October 6, 2018, in Miami Beach, Florida. A U.S. State Department official is headed overseas to more closely monitor the rapper’s two-week detainment in Sweden. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

An official from the U.S. State Department is headed overseas to more closely monitor the detainment of American rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been held in a Swedish jail for more than two weeks, according to Rep. Adriano Espaillat.

The New York Democrat said the State Department has notified him that Carl Risch, assistant secretary of State of consular affairs, is currently en route to Sweden. He is expected to be there on the day of A$AP Rocky’s Friday hearing.

D.C. is over the moon about 50th anniversary of Apollo 11
The week’s events are out of this world

A collection of Barbie dolls celebrating the moon landing anniversary is on display on Wednesday at the “Barbie Pond on Avenue Q,” outside a house in Washington. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Fifty years ago, two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made history as the first people to ever step onto the surface of the moon (or onto a movie set, depending on which side of the conspiracy spectrum you fall on). This week our nation’s capital is siding with space and celebrating the lunar mission that took place in July 1969.

In honor of the milestone anniversary, the National Air and Space Museum is projecting a 363-foot image of Saturn V, the rocket that launched the Apollo 11 crew, onto the east side of the Washington Monument. On Friday and Saturday, the museum will host even more theatrics, recreating the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock on the National Mall. 

U.S., Sweden need to move ASAP on Rocky’s detention, Espaillat says
Rapper has been held since early July, and the Harlem congressman is getting involved

A$AP Rocky has been held in Sweden since early July. (Christopher Jue/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Adriano Espaillat is not satisfied with the U.S. government’s response to American rapper A$AP Rocky’s detention in a Swedish jail, and plans to “mobilize” ahead of the rapper’s Friday hearing.

Espaillat, who represents the Harlem neighborhood where the rapper was born, says he’s talked with officials at the State Department who have promised to monitor the situation.

Rep. Will Hurd ‘honored’ to shave constituent’s head
Lisa Sanders, who lost her daughter in 2007 to a brain tumor, ‘braved the shave’ for cancer research fundraiser

Rep. Will Hurd shaves Lisa Sanders' head at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Tuesday. (Courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Rep. Will Hurd helped a hometown hero “brave the shave” Tuesday at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research.

The Texas Republican shaved the head of Lisa Sanders from Helotes, Texas, at a “46 Mommas” event hosted by St. Baldrick's Foundation — a volunteer- and donor-powered charity focused on curing childhood cancer, according to its website.

Portrait of the artist, a C-SPAN watcher
You know you’ve truly made it in Washington when you get a McCutcheon sketch

Artist Michael McCutcheon has drawn countless members of Congress while watching C-SPAN, including Reps. Barbara Lee and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter. (Courtesy Michael McCutcheon)

How do you become a Washington fixture? A congressional pin or a reporter’s credential are among the ways. So is a penciled likeness from an early morning appearance on C-SPAN.

The artist who draws C-SPAN’s guests is Michael McCutcheon, a 79-year-old retiree living in his native Austin, Texas. He dutifully sketches the guests of the Washington Journal program every morning.

Why Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has hope for the GOP
Party becoming ‘more tolerant and more accepting,’ says former congresswoman and mom of transgender son

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she’s learned a lot from her son Rodrigo. (Courtesy Ileana Ros-Lehtinen)

“Oh, a leaf blower? I’m gonna be right there!” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen shouted cheerfully. She wasn’t hollering at her husband or a sales rep at Home Depot, but at her 3-year-old grandson Dustin, who sounded like he had something very important to show her.

I caught up with the former congresswoman Friday by phone while she was vacationing in the North Carolina mountains with her stepson, daughter-in-law, a handful of grandkids and, of course, the family dog. (By the sound of a bustling full house on the other end of the line, I doubt there would’ve been room for me in person anyway.)

Make your favorite mistake (but don’t inebriate the animals): Your Hill Horoscope
What to do in D.C. the week of July 15-21

It’s Brew at the Zoo on Thursday, but you’ll have to choose between that and Sheryl Crow. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Kastles kick off their season this week with matches against the Las Vegas Rollers, San Diego Aviators and Orange County Breakers. The team opens Monday in their brand-new venue at the top of Union Market. Special guests this season include Frances Tiafoe (July 15-17) and Venus Williams (July 25-26).

It’s Amazon Prime Day … or rather “days.” Burn a few extra holes in your pocket on Monday and Tuesday, because #deals and #whynot?

Photos of the Week: They’re back from recess
The week of July 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Ominous storm clouds pass over the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week
Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Sen. Angus King is the man who brought us the lobster emoji. But he was out of the lobster loop on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

Senators mount pressure on equal pay for World Cup champs
More lawmakers introduce measures pushing equal pay for U.S. women's soccer team

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are leading an effort in the Senate to make salaries for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitable. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the U.S. soccer women’s team embarks on a whirlwind victory lap from its recent World Cup domination, more lawmakers are joining the four-time champions in calling for pay equity.

A group of senators led by Robert Menendez, Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein introduced a resolution congratulating the team for winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and asking U.S. Soccer to provide the players with pay comparable to their counterparts on the men’s team.

Rep. Thomas Massie TBTs to his summer fling
Kentucky congressman won the internet on Thursday

A 19-year-old Thomas Massie, in white cap, embarked on a 10-day trip across the U.S. in a solar-powered  vehicle named "Galaxy." (Courtesy Rep. Thomas Massie via Twitter)

There are two kinds of TBTs: the kind that we pause to view ever so quickly, perhaps give it a double tap, and then continue the scroll through the rest of our feed. And then there’s the kind that stops us cold, takes hold of our vision and raise questions faster than we can raise our eyebrows.

This morning, Rep. Thomas Massie blessed us with the latter.

If I had a (Velvet) Hammer
Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy gets a drink named in her honor

"Murphy's Velvet Hammer" at the Hawk N Dove. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

Bourbon and Prosecco. Two things you wouldn’t expect to pair well together, much like woven tufted fabric and household hardware.

But that’s what you’ll get when you walk into D.C.’s Hawk N Dove and order a “Murphy’s Velvet Hammer,” the new drink named after Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

Editor's Note: Democrats on TV

Editor's Note: A July 11 story that described the number of times members of Congress have appeared on television in 2019 was incorrect and based on incomplete statistics.

The story relied on CQ’s Newsmaker transcripts from Jan. 3 through June 26, which include appearances on CNN, CNN International, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, PBS NewsHour, cable news town halls and the Sunday morning talk shows. The transcripts do not include every TV appearance by members of Congress.

Can the billion-dollar esports industry get some respect?
Members of Congress can help — or at least that’s what lobbyists are hoping

From left, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Florida Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy battle it out in a Rocket League tournament on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress fought to the (virtual) death Wednesday night while their staffers, drinking beer and scarfing down cheeseburger sliders, watched. Don’t worry: It was live-streamed.

The setting was a dimly lit reception room on Capitol Hill. The occasion was a video game tournament, put on by the Entertainment Software Association, that ran on the streaming site Twitch. As some huddled intently around screens to play their own side games, a battle for Florida or New York supremacy was unfolding — a Rocket League showdown between Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Hakeem Jeffries.