Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: Rooney to Hunt Pythons

Grassley challenges reporter to pushup contest

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney is going python hunting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So far, it appears Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., will be the lawmaker with the best story to tell about what he did during the August recess.

The freshman congressman announced Monday that he is going to hunt pythons in Florida on Aug. 10, part of “Python Elimination Program,” which targets the invasive Burmese python.

Rooney will go hunting in the Big Cypress Swamp, a national preserve in south Florida. The event is hosted by the South Florida Water Management District.

“I am looking forward to hunting these devastating and invasive snakes,” Rooney said in a news release. “The python is a predator impacting the delicate balance of the ecosystem across the Everglades and the State of Florida.”

Himes mixes Congress and White House briefings

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., has introduced a bill that would require the president to provide frequent press briefings to the White House press corps.

The “Free Press Act” would require a minimum of two press briefings weekly to be video recorded. The last on-camera briefing from a White House spokesman was on June 27.

Staffer shuffle

RickiEshman is the new press secretary for Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. She replaces Meira Bernstein, whose last day was Friday. Eshman was previously deputy press secretary and also worked in Hassan’s press office when she was New Hampshire governor. 

Keren Dongo is leading the 2018 re-election campaign for Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., the senator announced Monday. She previously worked as his deputy state director and legislative assistant. Other campaign hires include Jenny Nadicksbernd as finance director, Ian Sams as communications director, Megan Apper as research director and Jessalyn Reid as digital director.

Pushup contest: Grassley vs. reporter

Bloomberg reporter Kevin Cirilli posted on Twitter that Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, challenged him to a pushup contest after their interview Monday.

Meet the Capitol Police painter

Capitol Police officer Federico A. Ruiz is an artist when he comes home and his garage is his studio. Painting is a way from him to cope with his memories from the Pentagon on 9/11. Read more.

Overheard

“Where’s the fire?”

— President Donald Trump, while sitting in a Wisconsin-manufactured firetruck during a “Made In America” event on the White House’s South Lawn as Vice President Mike Pence held open the door.

What’s going on?

Have any tips, announcements or Hill happenings? Send them to AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com.

John T. Bennett contributed to this report.

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