Heard on the Hill

‘Grab your popcorn if you’re watching C-SPAN’: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of May 20, 2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaves the Capitol for a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump. It didn’t go well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Buckle your seat belts, grab your popcorn if you’re out there watching C-SPAN,” Rep. Hank Johnson said during a rollercoaster week on the Hill.

From intern to ‘win’-tern: How to finish your Capitol Hill internship on top
Don’t sweat the small stuff while you’re sweating in the D.C. heat

This intern for Rep. Gregg Harper got stuck with sign-in duty in 2018. Approach every day like it’s your last one on the Hill, even if the tasks are menial, former interns say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congratulations! You are minutes away from finishing your summer internship on Capitol Hill. Not only have you woken up at ungodly hours after too many margs at Tortilla Coast, but you’ve managed to beat everyone to the office by 30 minutes. You’ve mastered the fastest route between the House and Senate office buildings, and you’ve crushed coffee orders like the barista you could’ve been if it weren’t for this internship.

So, what’s next, you ask? You mean... you don’t have it figured out?

Try a little fake blood with your Jazz in the Garden
If it looks, tastes and smells like meat, it might not be meat

Jazz in the Garden is a summer standby in Washington, but it’s not above a little meatless improv. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

Granite and concrete edifices aren’t the only art on display this summer at the Sculpture Garden. When you head to Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery on Friday, look for a trendy, glistening newcomer: the Impossible Burger.

It looks like meat and smells like meat. The middle is convincingly pink. Bring a bib: It bleeds a little.

‘Mr. President will correct the record:’ Trouble with names, speakers and Roman numerals — Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of May 12, 2019

Workers begin setting up the stage for the annual Memorial Day Concert on the West Front of the Capitol on May 16. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress was abuzz this week with flip phones, mispronunciations and confusion over who’s turn it was to speak.

Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix recalls her ‘most terrifying days’
Felix testifies on maternal health and mortality on Capitol Hill

Allyson Felix, U.S. track and field Olympic gold medalist, testifies Thursday during a House Ways and Means hearing in the Longworth Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field star in American history, was on Capitol Hill on Thursday — not to discuss the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, or preach about fitness, or boast about her gold medals, but to speak to the rising maternal mortality rate in the U.S.

The six-time Olympic gold medalist began her statement humbly: “I’m Camryn’s mom.” The testimony that followed was birthed from her own personal experience. When Felix was 32 weeks pregnant, a prenatal doctor’s appointment and common case of “swollen feet” led to bedrest and the discovery of preeclampsia, which put her and her unborn baby at risk. Doctors then scheduled an emergency C-section.

Watch: Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown advocates for LGBTQ adoption, teases political career

Karamo Brown, star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” advocates on Capitol Hill against LGBTQ discrimination in the foster care and adoption process. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Katie Porter receives the gift of poetry for Mother’s Day
Hallmark may have found its next card writer

California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter’s son honored his mom on Mother’s Day with a poem paying homage to her profession. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

These days, moms are lucky to get a text from their own offspring wishing them a “Happy Mother's Day!” If they’re really lucky, they’ll get a post on Instagram (that they may or may not see). If they’re REALLY lucky, a FaceTime (lookin’ at you, Mom).

Rep. Katie Porter received the gift of poetry.

Mother’s Day can be tough. Here’s how one woman copes
‘I never want to be bitter or jealous of what another friend has,’ says former Hill staffer Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik poses with her book “Longing for Motherhood” on Friday. Mother’s Day isn’t always easy, but this policy director has hope. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While a lot of us will spend Mother’s Day scrolling through Instagram and double-tapping our friends’ “First Mother’s Day! #blessed” posts, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, a former Hill staffer, will avoid it all.

“I never want to be bitter or jealous of what another friend has,” she says.

‘I’ll be sore tomorrow’: Solidcore, staring contests and scarfing some candy — Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of May 6, 2019

A Capitol tour guide demonstrates the whisper spot in Statuary Hall on Wednesday, May 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hey Congress, there’s an app for that!
Students swarm Capitol Hill, showcase computer science skills

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#HouseOfCode, a Computer Science Festival on Capitol Hill, welcomed 232 students from 129 congressional districts who all assembled in a packed room inside Rayburn. These high-tech middle and high schoolers wore their “congressional app challenge” cotton tees with pride, favoring computer applications over the typical D.C. attire. The task was to showcase their contributions to computer science and, once I showed up, explain “coding.”

“Coding ... is a language where you’re trying to write an application,” high school senior Ryan Lee began explaining before his galactic-themed game, “Space Exploration,” caught my attention. (I’m a sucker for space and, full disclosure, he lost me at “language.”)