Alex Gangitano

Capitol Hill Staff Is Sleepier Than Last Year, So Far
Survey shows staffers are working longer hours in the 115th Congress

Late nights are part of working on Capitol Hill, especially in the 115th Congress.

Heard on the Hill This Week: Ashton Kutcher and Valentine Puppies

The week of Valentine’s Day on the Hill saw senators gushing over actor Ashton Kutcher as he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as lawmakers playing with puppies and kittens up for adoption in Rayburn House Office Building. Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill reporter Alex Gangitano has more in her recap of the week in Washington....
Word on the Hill: Muslim Group Advocacy Day Focuses on Refugees
Senate majority leader has birthday on Presidents Day

The seventh annual “Day on the Hill” for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA today will highlight its “True Islam” campaign and “#MuslimAlly” hashtag.

The group maintains it is the oldest Muslim organization in America, and 75 chapters from across the country are expected to meet with hundreds of congressional offices. Its focus this year is on discussing threats to homeland security and refugee processing.

‘Day Without Immigrants’ Has an Impact on the Capitol
Workers moved over to Dirksen due to shortage

The Capitol complex was affected only slightly by “A Day Without Immigrants” protests on Thursday, but enough to serve as a reminder of how many Latinos work on the Hill.

The cafeteria in the Dirksen Senate Office Building had a fair amount of predominantly Latino employees call in sick Thursday, according to multiple employees in the Capitol.

Word on the Hill: Trailblazer Awards
Astronaut is testifying in the House

This Black History Month, the Congressional Black Associates will honor five people for their contributions to the community in their annual Trailblazer Awards ceremony.

This year’s awardees are Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, and Hill veterans Michael McQuerry, Jaqueline Ellis (posthumously) and Jennifer DeCasper.

LGBT Staff Association Strives for More Diversity
New president Todd Sloves said the association has taken steps for Republicans to be comfortable

Todd Sloves, the new president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, said only in a group like his would adding Republicans be considered part of a diversity effort.

“We are now starting to get into a time when LGBT folks come to work on the Hill — [they] are Republicans, are working for Republicans, and don’t feel like they have to keep that a secret,” said Sloves, 31. “Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis but I think that’s a sign of the fact that we no longer put out this impression that we are a Democrats-only group.”

Ashton Kutcher’s Lovefest With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Actor speaks on his organization’s efforts to stop human trafficking

Everyone agreed on two things in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Human trafficking should be stopped and Ashton Kutcher should be swooned over.

The actor, co-founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, an organization that works to combat human trafficking, testified at the committee’s Ending Modern Slavery: Building on Success hearing on Wednesday.

Take Five: Brian Mast
Florida Republican recalls waking up in Walter Reed after losing his legs

Freshman Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, 36, talks to HOH about how he lost his legs, why he decided to fight with the Israeli military, and advice he received from his father.

Q: Tell me about the day you got injured.

Word on the Hill: Ashton Kutcher Meets Bob Corker
Save the date for black history in D.C.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will welcome actor Ashton Kutcher to Capitol Hill today to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. efforts to end modern slavery.

The “That ’70s Show” star is a co-founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, an organization that works to combat human trafficking. The hearing precedes the END IT Movement’s fifth annual “Shine a Light on Slavery” day on Feb. 23.

HOH’s Valentine to You: Puppy Love 
 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hosted their annual “Paws for Love” Valentine’s Day adoption event, which was attended by hundreds of Capitol Hill staffers on Tuesday. In the Rayburn Foyer, dozens of puppies and a few kittens were brought in by six animal rescue groups to play with attendees. ASPCA’s fifth annual event was extremely popular – “puppies!” was routinely exclaimed throughout the halls of Rayburn during the day.

Valentine’s Day in D.C. Celebrated in Many Different Ways
Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell has to celebrate long-distance this year

Valentine’s Day will never be as fun as it was in lower school when everyone in the class gave you a Valentine.

It’s another session day this year, and for many members of Congress that means time away from their loved ones.

Word on the Hill: Love Is in the Air
Puppies and friends of national service

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Snap a photograph and tweet @HeardontheHill or email HOH@rollcall.com if you see anyone around Capitol Hill receiving a Valentine’s Day gift.

Different Era of Refugees Takes Stage in Washington
Arena Stage’s ‘Watch on the Rhine’ is a profound reflection of modern times

The immigration debate from another era couldn’t escape parallels with the current one during a special performance of “Watch on the Rhine” on Thursday night at Arena Stage.

The play takes place while America is on the brink of World War II and Fanny Farrelly, a wealthy woman played by four-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason, and her lawyer son, David Farrelly, take two refugee families into their home just outside Washington, D.C.

Word on the Hill: It’s a Healthy Day
What's happening this week?

It’s the first day of national Health and Wellness Coach Week and to kick it off, Ivanka Trump’s former health coach is coming to Capitol Hill.

Maria Marlowe writes a monthly food column and is the founder of an integrative nutrition health coaching practice in New York. She will be joined by other health leaders for a congressional briefing at noon in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room 201AB.

Heard on the Hill This Week: Smithsonian’s Obama Documentary and a Super Bowl Wager
 

Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill reporter Alex Gangitano attended a screening of Smithsonian Channel’s new Barack Obama documentary at the National Museum of American History. Watch for a brief look at the film, as well as tidbits about Rep. John Lewis’ losing Super Bowl bet, and Sen. John McCain’s mom’s 105th birthday.

Word on the Hill: Chocolate Time
D.C. wants to be resilient and a new record in the Senate

Happy Friday, finally. And it’s time to buy some chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday and chocolate is what Americans want most for the holiday, according to a survey by the National Confectioners Association.

What’s in a Strange Name?
There’s been another Strange in Congress, and a couple of other Luthers

Luther Strange of Alabama, who is replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate, is the second Sen. Strange in history.

Robert Strange of North Carolina served from 1836 to 1840. He was a Jacksonian Democrat and was the chairman of the Committee on Patents and Patent Office.

D.C. Mardi Gras Gives Louisiana Delegation a Taste of Home
‘It’s a good chance to mix pleasure and business,’ says Sen. John Kennedy

D.C. Mardi Gras is one of the Louisiana delegation’s favorite traditions, and a chance to do a little work.

The annual Louisiana ALIVE celebration, which showcases the state’s culture, takes place Thursday at the Washington Hilton. That’s followed by Friday’s Festival dinner, and Saturday’s Mardi Gras Ball, a black-tie event.

Word on the Hill: The New City That Never Sleeps?
Twitter trolling

Senators seem to never go home these days, and you can find people walking around the Capitol at all hours of the night.

Senate Carryout and the Refectory have opened earlier and remain open later than usual. Capitol Police and workers around the complex have had extended shifts.

Obama’s Power of Words Shines in New Documentary
Smithsonian Channel’s ‘Obama Years’ is history lesson on six of his most moving speeches

Eighteen days after Barack Obama handed over the presidency of the United States to his successor, a film about his craft debuted.

Is that too soon? Not if you start with the words of an Illinois state senator in 2004.