Heard on the Hill

Marilyn Monroe, Ritchie Valens highlight post office namings
1950s star power on display, along with regular cast featuring war heroes, political titans

California Rep. Tony Cárdenas sponsored measures to rename post offices after Marilyn Monroe and Ritchie Valens. (Tom William/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday was a good day for post office namings, with references to some 1950s pop glitz gracing the House floor alongside the more typical war heroes and political titans. 

Sure, it’s not unusual to see your occasional celebrity post office designation. But when both Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe and crooner Ritchie Valens are in a vote series along with the late lawmakers Jeannette Rankin of Montana — the first woman elected to the House — and Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, well, HOH likes to make note of it.

LeBron James comments intensify debate over freedom, trade
Hawley joins chorus criticizing basketball superstar during NBA-China controversy

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri had harsh words for LeBron James. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Basketball megastar LeBron James has finally leaped into the NBA’s ongoing controversy over Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Chinese protesters. Some critics, including Sen. Josh Hawley, find James’s stance sorely lacking. And the full House is also on record, passing a trio of bills Tuesday aimed at helping Hong Kong democracy activists in their fight to preserve political freedoms from encroachment by mainland China.

“I don’t want to get into a ...  feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James told reporters Monday ahead of a preseason game with the Golden State Warriors. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

Get to know these new congressional caucuses
Agritourism not your bag? Try the Air Cargo Caucus!

Let’s hear it for the Agritourism Caucus! Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton hopes it will spur more visits to places like wineries in her district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are dozens of caucuses in Congress. Here’s a roundup of a few new ones formed this year.

Money generated by vineyards, orchards, breweries, distilleries and farm markets totaled $949 million in 2017, according to Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who formed this caucus to “strengthen the agritourism industry” and “highlight the positive impacts they have.” Wexton recently touted on Twitter a visit to a winery and farm in her suburban D.C. district. North Carolina Republican David Rouzer serves as caucus co-chair. 

When you need something non-impeachment to do
What to do in DC this week

One cannot survive on impeachment alone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Photos of the Week: Not really recess week
The week of Oct. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Alison Malone, right, and Marco Ruiz dance while waiting in line to enter the Supreme Court on first day of the new session of the court on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Intelligence Committee in focus on C-SPAN and the big screen this fall
Don’t mess with the intel panel

Annette Bening plays former Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein in the upcoming political thriller “The Report.” (Courtesy MovieStillsDB)

It’s going to be a big couple of months for the Senate Intelligence Committee, both on Capitol Hill and at the box office.

Chairman Richard M. Burr and ranking Democrat Mark Warner find themselves once again at the epicenter of the biggest political story in Washington, tasked with leading the Senate’s review of President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine that seem all but certain to result in impeachment by the House.

Yep, that’s a giant joint on the lawn of the Capitol
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton joined pro-cannabis activists at a Tuesday rally

Marijuana activists hold up a 51-foot inflatable joint during a rally at the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress pass cannabis reform legislation on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans accuse NBA of cowardice in flare-up with China
Senators call on the NBA to demonstrate same approach to domestic issues

Sen. Marco Rubio is among the Republican senators criticizing the NBA for its recent cave on China. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Basketball Association is coming under fire from three Republican senators accusing the league of moral cowardice and capitulation to Chinese officials after a Houston Rockets executive expressed support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley are condemning the league and the Rockets for silencing team general manager Daryl Morey, who recently tweeted “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” in response to ongoing protests, before deleting the message.

Free Fallin’ ... with Thom Tillis
North Carolina senator goes a skydiving

Sen. Thom Tillis tandem skydives Thursday somewhere above Fayetteville, N. C. (Screenshot via Sen. Thom Tillis/YouTube)

House vote likely on creation of women’s history museum
‘If every woman gave a $1, we’d have this built in no time,’ Carolyn Maloney says

Members of the American Equal Rights Association pose for a photograph at their executive committee meeting. Advocates for a national women’s history museum see 2020 — the 100th anniversary of the the ratification of the 19th Amendment — as a rallying point for its creation. (Courtesy Library of Congress)

For 20 years, proponents in and out of Congress have sought the creation of a national museum devoted to women’s history, and a new bipartisan push will likely get the matter a vote in the House this fall.

Last month, a bill to establish such a museum crossed the 290 co-sponsorship threshold that allows for fast-track floor consideration under what is known as the consensus calendar. The measure could be scheduled for a vote by November.

Rappers not named Kanye defend Trump with #MAGAChallenge
You never thought that hip hop would take it this far

Making it rain at Trump Tower (Courtesy @dvs7_0 / Twitter)

President Donald Trump’s relationship with the rap industry is actually more complicated than you might think. Trump’s been named-checked in rap lyrics for decades. As a professionally famous rich person, his ostentatious displays of wealth were aspirational among MCs who similarly brag about success and their hustler mentalities.

But of course, that changed once Trump ran for president by using racially divisive rhetoric and attacking Barack Obama, another president popular with rappers.

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

Ride, McSally, Ride
Arizona Republican celebrates women being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally shared a video of her driving a car in Saudi Arabia (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Martha McSally on Wednesday shared a video on Twitter of her driving a car in Saudi Arabia. The Arizona Republican recently returned from a congressional delegation trip to the Middle East with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

It was McSally’s first time in the kingdom in nearly two decades, according to her tweet.

Members’ Dining Room embraces 21st century — sort of
Recess time will be open to the public, via OpenTable

The House Members’ Dining Room in the Capitol is open to the public during recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Quite some time has passed since the Capitol’s Petinaud and Bennett rooms opened their doors as the Members’ Dining Room in 1858, but walking into the House-side restaurant, with its red carpet and 20th century chandeliers, you’d hardly notice — unless you booked a reservation on OpenTable.

And when Heard on the Hill found out the dining room was opening to the public this recess, that is exactly what we did. Once a haven of exclusivity, the eatery can now enjoy a global presence outside Congress with the reservation-booking app.

#MAGAWood comes to Trump’s defense as impeachment talk ramps up
Randy Quaid has some thoughts on Adam Schiff

Actor Randy Quaid having a great time (Courtesy @RandyRRQuaid/Twitter)

As impeachment talk accelerates in Washington, it should be no surprise that some Hollywood celebrities are weighing in as well. The entertainment capital of the world sometimes gets a rap as liberal and anti-Trump, but there’s still love for the president in Tinseltown.

President Donald Trump is facing mounting scrutiny from congressional Democrats, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who Trump said should be “questioned at the highest level for Fraud and Treason.”