Heard on the Hill

Marc Veasey, are you my Uber?
Texas Democrat favors a little Brooks & Dunn behind the wheel

Texas Rep. Marc Veasey, left, took a few spins as an Uber driver on Thursday back home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Above, Veasey poses with his last drop-off of the day. (Courtesy Twitter/Rep. Marc Veasey)

If you assume that all members of Congress get from Point A to Point B by way of large black SUVs hauled by well-dressed drivers in flat caps, pump the brakes.

Marc Veasey is here to prove that he can not only drive himself, he can also drive around residents of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Democratic congressman from Texas took a few spins around the Lone Star block as an Uber driver Thursday afternoon, and his trips were anything but lone.

Atheist prayers can be barred by House chaplain, appeals court says
D.C. Circuit Court cites interpretation of House rules that say prayers must be religious

Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives, prevailed in legislative prayer litigation on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House chaplain scored a legal victory on Good Friday, when a federal appeals court ruled he could not be ordered to allow a self-described atheist to offer a secular prayer to the House of Representatives.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, in his official capacity as the House chaplain, and the chamber itself in litigation brought by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a former minister. Barker alleged Conroy improperly rejected a request to have him serve as guest chaplain.

The Mueller report meme game has been strong on the internet
The internet quickly latched on to jokes related to redactions, and some poked fun at the report’s biggest players

Media films a few pages of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election which was printed out by staff in the House Judiciary Committee's hearing room on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The highly anticipated release of the Mueller report prompted a hefty dose of partisan debate, but it also flooded the internet with hilarious memes.

The internet quickly latched on to jokes related to extended information blackouts scattered throughout the report, and meme fabricators poked fun at high-profile individuals intimately involved in the investigation.

The Mueller report is exactly as long as Kim Kardashian’s coffee table book
The special counsel and the reality star both love the number 448. The similarities are uncanny

Kim Kardashian is studying to be a lawyer. (JP Yim/Getty Images)

With all of the heated discussion surrounding the release of today’s Mueller report (and I know what you’re thinking, “What Mueller report?”), I can’t help but notice one thing that’s been redacted (see what I did there?) from the conversation: the ungodly amount of pages in this thing.Now, I’d like to wishfully think that minimal paper has been wasted, since the report was delivered on a CD — because today is Thursday, after all, and apparently we’re throwing it back to 1997. But 448 pages? Random, right?

Not so much. It turns out Robert Mueller isn’t the only law enthusiast who’s penned a literary work (of sorts) at this length. 

What happened when I went to a baseball game instead of reading the Mueller report
Some in Washington scrambled. Others spent the day eating Dippin’ Dots

Something happened in Washington on Thursday: the Nats played the Giants. Above, fans pose for photos with George Washington in the stands at Nationals Park in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You didn’t have to venture far from the Capitol on Thursday to find a crowd of Washingtonians who weren’t overwhelmed by the Mueller report.

Patrick Corbin, the newest Nationals star starting pitcher, took the mound a little after 1 p.m., before key Democrats like House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler or Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner had even weighed in on the substance of the report.

One thing Barr didn’t redact: the f-bomb
The attorney general and his team blacked out many a word, but they let obscenities stand

President Donald Trump had some choice words for the special counsel’s Russia investigation, the redacted report reveals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The special counsel’s report may be groaning with redactions, but there’s one thing the Justice Department didn’t blot out — profanity.

That’s right, we’re talking f-bombs, bastards and your garden-variety bullshit.

And the award for most laconic Mueller tweet goes to …
Sean Duffy doesn’t have time for 280 characters, and neither does Bobby Rush

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy kept it simple Thursday on Twitter. He’d rather be podcasting, an aide said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you go on Twitter today (which we know you will), you’ll drown in the same tweets highlighting the same quotes from Attorney General William Barr’s press conference ahead of the highly anticipated release of the Mueller report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

You’ll of course also find several members of Congress weighing in on said events, with wordy testimonies within multiple threads — which they are at liberty to do, given the First Amendment and the large platform to First Amendment on. Yes, we just made that into a verb.

Johnny Cash is replacing one of the Capitol’s Civil War statues
The country music legend and civil rights leader Daisy Gatson Bates will replace controversial Civil War figures

A statue of Uriah Milton Rose of Arkansas is seen in the Capitol's Statuary Hall on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The times are changing, and so is the marble. Arkansas is leaving behind statues of the old guard and sending a few new faces to the U.S. Capitol.

Civil rights icon Daisy Gatson Bates and musician Johnny Cash will join the Statuary Hall collection in D.C., replacing 19th-century attorney Uriah Milton Rose and statesman James Paul Clarke. The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, made the plan official by signing a bill last week. 

Photos of the Week: Hot dishes, tulips and high fives
The week of April 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Tulips bloom on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is heading out of town for its two-week April recess, but members had an eventful week before they hit the road. 

Spring entered full bloom as Minnesota members enjoyed delicious hotdishes during their annual cooking competition, and Democrats pow-wowed in Leesburg, Virginia, for their retreat — with some celebrity guests.

With less Lululemon and less partisan sniping, campaign staffers adjust to the Hill
Some 2018 campaign staffers are working on the official side for the first time

Joshua Kelley, right, managed the winning Senate campaign of Indiana Republican Mike Braun, center. Kelley is now Braun’s chief of staff.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While some Hill aides flock to New Hampshire and Iowa to staff Democratic presidential teams, plenty of others have been making the opposite transition.

These staffers worked on 2018 House and Senate campaigns and now find themselves immersed in the official side in Congress. Cycling on and off the Hill every two years is common. But for those who have never held official-side jobs before, the first 100 days of the 116th Congress have been an interesting transition period.

Petworth gets juicy, twangy and not ‘too fancy’
Cinder BBQ hopes to become your new favorite hangout

Slaw, brussels sprouts and Gordy’s pickles round out a meal at Cinder. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

Two veterans of the Washington bar and lounge scene are teaming up with a pitmaster to bring barbecue to D.C.’s Petworth area, adding to what they call its “cool neighborhood vibe.” Cinder, which sits among Upshur Street anchors such as Timber Pizza Co. and Himitsu, will open its doors this Saturday, April 13. I caught up with the owners on the eve of the grand opening.Pitmaster Bill Coleman, a retired Marine who favors Doc Cochran from HBO’s “Deadwood,” down to the glasses perched on his nose, spent the last 16 years running a catering business before finally heeding advice from friends Matt Krimm and John Anderson that he needed his own brick-and-mortar restaurant to serve his Texas-style BBQ.

Krimm and Anderson already co-own cigar bars W. Curtis Draper and Civil Cigar Lounge and had been kicking around the idea of owning a restaurant for years. Krimm, shortly after moving to the Petworth neighborhood four years ago, even told his girlfriend that he would do it someday.

He’s killing the mic on Capitol Hill after 34 years
Ralph Vanni manned Congress’ audio board as popes and presidents came and went

Ralph Vanni retired this month after three decades as a senior audio technician at the Capitol. His congressional roots run deep; his father was a foreman in the Senate Cabinet Shop. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Ralph Vanni first took up his post in front of the mixing board, he barely knew his way around a microphone, let alone the finer points of Jefferson’s manual. But he had the best seat in the House to learn.

It was his job to make sure the voices of Congress rang out loud and clear.

Kendra Horn still worries about her student loans. She’s not the only one
When the Democrat worked as a Hill staffer, she deferred her loans, brought her dog to work and (yes) sometimes disagreed with her boss

UNITED STATES - MARCH 6: Reps. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., center, Andy Kim, D-N.J., and Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., are seen before a House Armed Services Committee hearing titled "Outside Perspectives on Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Posture," in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kendra Horn is the new lawmaker no one saw coming. An upset victory in Oklahoma sent her to Washington, but she’s actually been here before.

Back in 2004, between stints as a lawyer and a nonprofit executive, the Democrat briefly served as press secretary for Rep. Brad Carson.

Democrats and Republicans embrace MLK’s once-controversial diatribe against ‘moderation’
Doug Jones leads bipartisan group in reading ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’

Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones  arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of senators led by Alabama Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday took to the Senate floor to read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” commemorating the anniversary of the slain civil rights legend’s famous jeremiad, and showing just how far public opinion has shifted on the once-controversial civil rights icon.

King’s letter, written in April 1963 from his jail cell, is not a tirade against the guardians of segregation.

Congress has crowned a tater tot champion
Amy Klobuchar strikes out at annual hotdish competition, but comfort food wins

From left, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., react as they uncover hotdish entries on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The tater tots were steaming, the cheddar cheese was bubbling, and Rep. Betty McCollum wasn’t there to breathe it in.

In the end, it didn’t matter. The St. Paul Democrat won the Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition from afar on Tuesday, even as she chaired a meeting of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee a few blocks away.