Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: It’s Recess
Your social calendar for the week

While members are back home, staffers are still in D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back from the long weekend and happy recess.

How has the 115th Congress affected you so far? We found out in a survey that staffers are sleepier than the were in the last one, and now we want to hear anecdotes about how 2017 is treating you.

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.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been one of the leading voices of the congressional effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

Word on the Hill: Muslim Group Advocacy Day Focuses on Refugees
Senate majority leader has birthday on Presidents Day

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern will address the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA before its advocacy day on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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 Refectory of the Senate was closed at noon on Thursday. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

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

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will receive a Trailblazer Award from the Congressional Black Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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, says his group is hoping to diversify its ranks with more women, people of color and Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Actor Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, prepares to testify during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Florida Rep. Brian Mast finds the lack of truth in emotions the hardest thing to get used to in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Chairman Bob Corker and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear testimony from a celebrity today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

There's something for everyone this Valentine's Day in D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

On Valentine’s Day 2005, California Sen. Barbara Boxer received about 4,000 roses in her Hart building office from supporters. Boxer donated the flowers to injured military members at Walter Reed Naval Hospital in Bethesda Maryland. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

From left, Lise Bruneau as Sara Muller, Lucy Breedlove as her daughter Babette, and Andrew Long as Kurt Muller arrive in the Washington suburbs from Germany, eager for good meals and living conditions, in the Arena Stage production of “Watch on the Rhine”. (C. Stanley Photography)

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?

Maria Marlowe poses with author Dr. Mark Hyman and his newest book last year. (Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images file photo)

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.