Heard on the Hill

Schumer’s press secretary: ‘I did not work for the Fyre Festival’
Congressional aide Angelo Roefaro was caught on camera with Billy McFarland, but insists they were ‘friends’

Billy McFarland, right, pleaded guilty of defrauding investors. (“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Was”/Netflix)

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s press secretary says he was friends with convicted Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland, but denies he had any involvement with the doomed music event and company.

Angelo Roefaro appears near the end of a new Netflix documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” with McFarland, who pleaded guilty to defrauding investors and other charges, causing more than $26 million in losses.

With ‘RBG’ and ‘Vice,’ Ginsburg and Cheney are officially Oscar bait
Cinematic stories of SCOTUS justice, ex-veep make case that politics does not always have to be un-entertaining

With the Oscar nod for "RBG," the pop culture status of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems set. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Academy Award nominations now in hand, the movies “RBG” and “Vice” provide some faint hope that political stories coming out of Washington aren’t all a drag. 

Early on Day 32 of the shutdown, with seemingly no end in sight to that standoff, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its slate of 2019 nominations. Among them were eight, including Best Picture, for the somewhat experimental studio biopic about former Vice President Dick Cheney “Vice,” and two for a documentary feature on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “RBG.”

Does the Capitol Dome have a leak? Not quite
Yellow buckets in Rotunda collect dripping water

The Capitol Rotunda was dripping Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On day 32 of the longest government shutdown in modern history, it looked like an iconic symbol of American democracy had sprung a leak.

The Capitol Dome, which reaches 287 feet tall, recently underwent a $60 million restoration. But something was amiss Tuesday morning. 

D.C. gets its ‘voting card back’ (well, sort of)
Now that Democrats are in charge, the rules have changed

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton hasn’t voted in the House chamber in a while. That changed this week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Now that Democrats are in charge again, Eleanor Holmes Norton got her “voting card back finally,” she joked.

It was a big week in Congress for the delegate from D.C. Her perennial bid to win statehood for the District pulled in a record number of co-sponsors. And for the first time in more than eight years, she got to vote in the House chamber.

Photos of the week: Snow and a bus ride to nowhere as the shutdown continues
The week of Jan. 14 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., takes questions from constituents during his town hall meeting on the government shutdown at the Largo-Kettering Branch Library in the Washington suburbs on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The shutdown is approaching its fifth week, seemingly with no end in sight. Lawmakers are planning to be in session next week, despite the typical annual recess following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

The past week saw several town halls on the shutdown, a good deal of snow for the capital area and escalating tensions between the president and the speaker. 

The queen of the online clapback imparts wisdom to her elders
Seasoned Democrats sure are trying, but some things can’t be taught

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took some time on Thursday to tweet about teaching a class about tweeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may have noticed that freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Very Online — which isn’t uncommon behavior for us millennials.

At 29, the Bronx freshman is on the younger end of the cohort, which ranges from ages 23 to 38. (For a handy distinction, think of Old Millennials as internet savvy people who had to log into Facebook from their dorm rooms. Young Millennials have always tweeted from their smartphones.)

New Democrats hand D.C. statehood a milestone
‘Painstaking’ process may finally be paying off, says Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, here with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2017, has been pushing for statehood since 1991. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since coming to the House in 1991, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has tried time and time again to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. It’s been an uphill climb.

In her first term, her statehood bill got zero co-sponsors. In the next Congress, it got 81 co-sponsors — but ultimately flopped, 153-277, when it came to the floor in 1993. 

Overheard: At least one Capitol Police officer is no fan of Cheney
Members of the force also weighed in on Trump’s Big Mac feast

— A Capitol Police officer, shortly after the No. 3 House Republican called on Rep. Steve King to resign, exposing a rift among GOP leaders

Sledders cheer up Capitol Hill while shutdown stalemate continues

Children cut the rancorous mood in Washington and flew down Capitol Hill on sleds.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When up to a foot of snow walloped Washington over the weekend, it gave joyful kids a reason to play, sledding down Capitol Hill and cutting the rancorous mood over the partial government shutdown. 

Furloughed federal workers have been stuck at home for weeks, and those required to work are going without paychecks. But many found that sledding down the massive slope on the West Front under the Capitol Dome is a great way to blow off steam. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

We’ve peered into the void of Beto’s mouth. Now what?
Hell hath no fury like a bunch of reporters scorned

Beto O’Rourke bared all (of his mouth) this week. The media wasn’t happy. But were they the only ones to care? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What do Beto O’Rourke and I have in common besides the hot Irish blood running through our veins? We both spent Thursday morning at the dentist. While my hygienist knows this about me, thousands (millions?) know this about O’Rourke, thanks to Instagram.

The former congressman turned failed Senate candidate from Texas, now reportedly eyeing the presidency, took to Instagram Live to broadcast his dental cleaning and speak with his supporters. You know, just Regular Guy stuff.

Photos of the week: Shutdown approaches fourth week in Washington
The week of Jan. 7 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., who has opposed the shutdown from the start, speaks during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The shutdown is in its 21st day, and with talks stalled and Congress gone through Monday, its likely to continue through the weekend. 

Here’s the entire shutdown week in photos:

Harry Reid pushing for more UFO research
Wants a key senator to listen to stories from service members who claim sightings

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is continuing to advocate for UFO research. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is lobbying his former colleagues to do more to study unidentified flying objects.

“I personally don’t know if there exists little green men other places, I kind of doubt that, but I do believe that the information we have indicates we should do a lot more study,” the Nevada Democrat said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of people that have seen the same thing — something in the sky, it moves a certain way.”

Another baby ‘M’ for Rep. Brian Mast
Florida Republican and his wife keep the alliteration going with the birth of their fourth child

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., already has three kids beginning with “M.” With the addition of baby Major, make that four. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brian Mast is barely a week into the new Congress, but he’s already added another title — fourth-time dad.

The Floridan Republican missed House votes this week, and on Thursday he revealed why. Baby Major arrived at 9.3 pounds, 20.5 inches, he tweeted.

Overheard: Pat Leahy on the acting director of OMB
Heard on the Hill hears all

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., on Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought.

‘You’re such a smartass’: Kellyanne Conway, Jim Acosta clash outside West Wing
Outburst came after the CNN reporter alleged Conway has an ‘alternative facts problem’

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, sits at the outdoor patio at BLT Steak restaurant in Washington, D.C. April 10, 2017. (Photo by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

The Trump White House and CNN did battle again on Tuesday, with Kellyanne Conway calling reporter Jim Acosta “a smartass” during a sharp exchange outside the West Wing.

The exchange began when the network’s chief White House correspondent asked the longtime confidant and adviser to Donald Trump if the president intends to “tell the truth” during a prime-time address Tuesday night from the Oval Office.