Heard on the Hill

Members Show School Spirit as Sweet 16 Games Begin
Manchin, Cortez Masto go head-to-head while other members are torn

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA March Madness starts today and members are showing their school spirit. And talking a little smack.

Sen. Joe Manchin III is the only member of Congress who is an alumnus of West Virginia University — he graduated with a business administration degree.

Word on the Hill: Staffers Give Back
Athletes and tweetstorms

Senate staffer Annie Humphrey donates blood with the Armed Services Blood Program on Monday. (Giovanni Rodriguez/Armed Services Blood Program)

More than 70 Senate staffers donated 56 units of blood in the first-ever Senate Armed Services Blood Program blood drive.

Staff members from the Armed Services Blood Bank Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, hosted a four-hour drive for Senate staffers on Monday.

Handicapped Protest Closes Rotunda
40-person protest kept lawmakers from entering

U.S. Capitol Police prepare flex cuffs to arrest members of ADAPT protesting in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday against the American Health Care Act of 2017 and cuts to Medicaid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Rotunda was closed for about an hour on Wednesday because of a protest of about 40 people, the majority of whom were in wheelchairs.

Members of the group ADAPT, which organizes disability rights activists, were protesting against the American Health Care Act currently being debated in Congress and proposed cuts to Medicaid.

Take Five: Al Lawson
Florida Democrat talks about his American Basketball Association career

Florida Rep. Al Lawson played basketball for Florida A&M University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Democratic freshman Rep. Al Lawson, 68, talks about his basketball career, March Madness predictions, and his love of landscaping.

[Roll Call's March Madness Bracket]

Word on the Hill: Lawmakers Ball Up
The ‘Egyptian Jon Stewart’ and staffer shuffle

Indiana Rep. André Carson greets California Rep. Jeff Denham before the 2013 Home Court charity basketball game at Trinity Washington University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Home Court charity basketball game when the Hill’s Angels, made up of members of Congress, take on Georgetown Law faculty and staff, a.k.a. the Hoya Lawyas, is tonight.

It’s the 30th annual matchup, which raises money for The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Tickets are $15.

Obama Vet Joins Push for Public Servants in Congress
David Heifetz is the chief communications officer at New Politics

New Politics backed Democrat Seth Moulton, left, of Massachusetts, and Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher in their congressional races last year. Both served in the Marine Corps. (Bill Clark/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

David Heifetz cleaned out his desk at the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in January and joined the effort to get public servants elected to office.

Heifetz, 28, who had written speeches for former President Barack Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett since August 2015, is now the chief communications officer of New Politics, a nonprofit that recruits and consults with candidates from public service backgrounds to run for public office.

Word on the Hill: Gorsuch on Snapchat
Albright, spottings, and grad school

Monday's snapchat filter from the NRSC. (Photo courtesy of the NRSC)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to have some fun with Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination hearings.

The NRSC launched a Snapchat filter series in support of Gorsuch, and a new filter will be unveiled each day that you can use if you’re in the area. The committee asks that you send your photographs with the filter to ‘TheNRSC’ on Snapchat.

Word on the Hill: Cherry Blossoms
Your social calendar for the week

The Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom last year. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The cherry blossoms that survived the cold weather last week were supposed to reach their peak yesterday.

Have you seen the trees in bloom yet?

Flashback Friday: Garland Heads to the Senate
One year later, a different nominee is up for confirmation

Garland, right, made his first visit with senators, including Reid, left, one year ago today. Republicans never granted the Supreme Court nominee a hearing. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On St. Patrick’s Day in 2016, Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick G. Garland made his first visit to the Senate. But the luck of the Irish wasn’t enough to move his nomination forward. One year later, a different judge is facing a confirmation hearing.

Garland, the chief judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, made his way to the Senate one year ago today, the day after President Barack Obama nominated him to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Bipartisan Road Trip Leads to Bipartisan Bills
O’Rourke and Hurd sign on to each other’s legislation they discussed in the car

Reps. Beto O'Rourke (left) and Will Hurd exchanged gifts at their Friday bill-signing. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Two days after their bipartisan road trip from Texas to D.C. Republican Rep. Will Hurd and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke put their names on the first practical thing to come out of all that time in the car together.

The two talked about what legislation each was working on during their two days together and what the other might be able to sign on to. 

Gay Pride Flag Outside Lowenthal’s Office Stomped on
Suspect appeared to have been a visitor to Cannon House Office Building

The rainbow flag was hung back up following the incident. (Courtesy of Lowenthal's office)

Capitol Police are investigating an incident Wednesday in which the Gay Pride flag that hangs outside of California Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal’s office was thrown to the ground and stomped on.

Staff was told by witnesses that the perpetrator was a man who appeared to have been a visitor to the Cannon House Office Building with what appeared to be his wife and young son. The incident occurred on Wednesday.

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

Word on the Hill: St. Patrick’s Day
Cherry Blossoms?

It's been a busy week. Blow off some steam by celebrating the holiday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Dubliner and Irish Times are two restaurants right in front of Union Station that are perfect places to celebrate the holiday.

Members See Green
How they’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney at a previous St. Patrick’s Day celebration. (Photo courtesy of Maloney’s office)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and plenty of members of Congress are celebrating their heritage.

On Thursday, many showed up at the office by wearing Irish flag ties, green blazers, dresses, and accessories.

Word on the Hill: D.C. and Guns
Save the date for Dine Out Day

Cherry blossoms were covered with ice on the East Front of the Capitol after snow and freezing rain fell over the region on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With gun sales on the decline in the U.S. since President Donald Trump took office, WalletHub conducted a study to find out which states were the most dependent on the gun industry.

The District of Columbia topped the list for highest average wages and benefits in the firearms industry at $348,325. That’s more than 10 times higher than New Mexico, which came in last at $34,232.