Heard on the Hill

Congress tries to walk the climate crisis talk
Amid debate on Green New Deal, Democrats are treading lightly in their daily lives

Staffers are aiming to lead by example, by creating workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers working for environmentally minded lawmakers are trying to walk the talk on climate change by taking small personal actions while their bosses call for big-picture policy shifts.

Around Capitol Hill, several aides are aiming to create workplace cultures where being “green” is a priority and holding colleagues accountable is the norm.

Lori Trahan got the band back together as she staffed up her office
Freshman Democrat was once a Hill aide herself

When Rep. Lori Trahan was a scheduler, she tried to be the first one at the office, if only for a little quiet time. Now that she’s the boss, she doesn’t want her staffers to burn the candle at both ends. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lori Trahan knows a thing or two about transferable skills. After climbing the Hill ranks from scheduler to chief of staff, she decamped to the male-dominated world of tech, where her congressional experience came in handy.

Now that she’s back as a freshman Democrat — in the same seat once held by her former boss, Massachusetts Rep. Marty Meehan — she’s trying to think like a consultant. That means being willing to say, “Wait a second, that’s crazy.”

Will members of Congress ever drug-test themselves? They’ve certainly tried
From the Gingrich era to the present, lawmakers have toyed with peeing in a cup

Last year Rep. Clay Higgins became the latest member to call on Congress to drug-test itself. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress has a long history of trying to drug-test itself. But has it ever succeeded?

Back in 1997, House Republicans got close. They changed the rules to let the speaker develop a sweeping program to test members and staff.

Frostpaw still can’t bear climate change
That’s why this gigantic polar bear roams around Washington

Bill Snape dons his Frostpaw outfit in Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If you see a 7-foot polar bear around D.C., don’t panic. It’s probably just Frostpaw.

“It’s akin to hot yoga,” said Bill Snape, who’s been donning the iconic costume for several years. “Whenever I first put it on, I have these five minutes of claustrophobia and discomfort, and then I just relax and find my breathing pattern and get into this love trance.”

Trump makes Space Force official. There’s already a Netflix parody
The president also gets request from governor of ‘Space Coast’ to place Space Force HQ in his state

President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing the Space Policy Directive 4, during a ceremony in the Oval Office on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made Space Force official, but that might have been hard to tell at first from Tuesday in the Oval Office, as the chief executive held court on several satellite issues. 

“During my administration, we’re doing so much in space. We need it,” Trump said, surrounded by military brass as he signed a directive establishing Space Force within the Air Force.

Photos of the week: Shutdown averted, national emergency declared
The week of Feb. 11 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., walks across the Capitol from the House side Monday for a meeting with other appropriators to try to revive spending talks and avert a second government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It appears Congress and the president have averted another partial government shutdown. On Thursday, both chambers adopted a conference report on a seven-bill spending package to fund the remainder of the government for the rest of fiscal 2019.

On Friday, President Donald Trump addressed the nation to declare a national emergency aimed at securing additional funding for a wall on the southern border. 

House members want official office supply store to stock tampons
Three House lawmakers seeking clear guidance on using office funds for feminine hygiene products

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is among the members who want clarity on using official funds for feminine hygiene purchases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three House lawmakers are asking the new leadership of the House Administration panel to clarify if tampons and other feminine hygiene products can be purchased with official office allowances.

It’s the latest development in a saga that started last summer when Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a New York Democrat, was denied permission to buy tampons for his office using his Members’ Representational Allowance.

It’s still the year of the woman, if this pizza chef has her way
Every week Ruth Gresser will offer up a cheesy, saucy concoction inspired by female politicians

Ruth Gresser, right, is bringing back her pizza promotion celebrating women who lead. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

After last year’s elections swept a record number of women into office, they’re finally getting some dough. Literally.

“I’m sure there would be many people who would say that there shouldn’t be any politics in pizza,” said chef Ruth Gresser, who owns D.C. mainstay Pizzeria Paradiso. But that hasn’t stopped her from creating a yearlong homage to women who lead.

17 images that defined the State of the Union 2019
Roll Call’s photojournalists share their favorite images from the State of the Union

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., right, walks with her State of the Union guest Ana Maria Archila to the House chamber for the State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State of the Union night on Capitol Hill has come and gone with much pomp, a long speech and a great deal of white suits

Here’s the entire day in photos as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists:

Spotted: Donald Trump Jr. mistakenly heading toward Pelosi’s office in search of McCarthy
President’s son might have followed familiar path from when Republicans controlled the House

Donald Trump Jr. walks through Statuary Hall toward Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office before realizing his mistake and turning around. Trump Jr. intended to pay a visit to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the Capitol before his father’s State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump Jr. entered Statuary Hall for his father’s State of the Union address on Tuesday headed for a friendly office but ended up in enemy territory.

The president’s son intended to pay a visit to the office of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy but was headed to that of Speaker Nancy Pelosi before he reversed course.

This California congressman wants you to play State of the Union bingo
Mark Takano releases his own ‘official’ game

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address in 2018. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Drinking games are a proud (or not-so-proud) State of the Union tradition. One congressman is going the wholesome route with a classic game of bingo.

Mark Takano, a California Democrat, tweeted out his version of good old-fashioned fun.

House Democrats break out their white suits for State of the Union
The party selected the color to harken back to suffragists

First row from left, Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Alma Adams, D-N.C., pose for a group photo Tuesday of House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center. They say they are wearing “suffragette white” to the State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats appeared at the Capitol on Tuesday wearing white suits and dresses ahead of the State of the Union. 

The color was selected as a nod to the suffragist movement, according to Rep. Lois Frankel, chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group.

Chuck Grassley has no problem with corn syrup in beer (but he doesn’t drink it)
Senate Finance chairman responds to the Bud Light Super Bowl ads

Sen. Charles E. Grassley does not drink beer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee were a beer drinker, he would not be a fan of Bud Light.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley took a moment out of a call with reporters Tuesday morning to thank brewers who use corn syrup, in response to a Super Bowl advertising campaign by Anheuser-Busch InBev that trashed competitors for including the ingredient.

Wearing white to the State of the Union isn’t what it used to be
Democrats go for a more positive fashion statement than the one they made in 2017

Democratic women wore white to President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2017. They’re bringing back the color for his State of the Union this year to highlight their new majority’s economic agenda for women. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic women plan to break out their white suits and dresses Tuesday for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union. The color may be the same, but the reason has changed.

“This is really going to be sending a message — especially to all the women and their families in the country that put us into the majority with all these new women [members] — that a big part of our agenda is going to be promoting the economic security of women and their families,” Rep. Lois Frankel, chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said in an interview. 

Photos of the Week: Powerful women take over powerful committees, Barr interviews and museums reopen
Roll Call’s photographers take from this week in the Capitol

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits for William Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, to arrive in his office for their meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)