Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
How Gaetz dodged Cohen, getting sassy with #SassywithMassie, and Duckworth on Senate floor breastfeeding

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Former DC Interns Share How They Got Their Feet in the Door
Meet four interns who entered the political world through programs

Vashti Hinton applied to 30 Hill offices before landing a full-time position working for Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill interns are often assumed to be college students with a natural political network. They’ve got an “in” in D.C. or they have — a word most people hate — “connections.”

But for the thousands of interns who flock to the Hill and Washington over the summer, who you know isn’t the only path to the nation’s capital. There are a number of programs that help them get a foot in the political door.

How to Eat Like an Intern
This reporter tried to eat, and do activities, for free over a week on the Hill and it wasn’t easy

Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., eats a corn dog during the American Meat Institute’s annual Hot Dog Lunch in the Rayburn courtyard on July 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Full disclosure: I’ve never interned on the Hill. But I have been an unpaid intern, and most people you meet in Washington have too.

Without a chunk of money in the bank, how do interns get by? 

Clarke Knows the ‘Tricks of the Trade’ From Her Internship
New York Democrat interned in the mid-1980s for her predecessor

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., got to work on trade issues affecting the Caribbean region during her Hill internship. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former New York Rep. Major R. Owens may not have known he had an intern who was going places when he assigned college student Yvette D. Clarke to work on trade legislation in the mid-1980s.

Clarke was studying government and public policy at Oberlin College and was eager to learn more about the mechanics of Congress. About two decades later, she ended up challenging Owens in a 2004 Democratic primary — and lost. When Owens retired two years later, Clarke ran again — and won.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — Summer Edition
Our favorite visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy @FloorCharts, Screenshot/C-SPAN)

Cheesin’ photos, safety precautions and tiny charts — watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it  worthwhile.

Lawmakers like these oversize and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Staffers on What They Wish They Had Done as Interns
Getting paid was the most common response

Staffers who were former staffers were asked what they would do differently if they got a do-over. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call file photo)

Grab your Jefferson’s Manual and break our your thank you cards. It’s time to talk regrets. 

Lots of D.C. interns finish out the summer wishing they’d done more. 

Survey: Family Paid Rent for a Third of Former Interns
Roll Call surveyed congressional staffers about their cost of living when they were interns

The high cost of living in D.C. causes many Capitol Hill interns to find other ways to make ends meet — like taking a part-time job or going into debt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When a new batch of interns descends on D.C., they land in the middle of the city’s housing market. And to borrow a line from a perennial candidate from New York: The rent is too damn high.

Roll Call surveyed congressional staffers to ask about the logistics of being an intern. The high cost of living in D.C. caused many interns to find other ways to make ends meet — like taking a part-time job or going into debt.

TBT: 10 Things Dan Coats Will Miss Now That He’s Banned From Russia
Current Intelligence director made a top ten list after being sanctioned by Moscow in 2014

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was sanctioned by Russia while serving as a senator in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats served as a Republican senator from Indiana, he was one of several officials sanctioned by Russia.

At the time, Coats borrowed a tradition from fellow Hoosier, comedian David Letterman, in offering up a top ten list of things he would miss after President Vladimir Putin banned him from Russia, as Heard on the Hill featured when it happened in May 2014.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Get on your bike and ride, a new caucus makes itself known and Warren in the Big Easy

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Stressed About Your Job After Midterms? There’s a Book for That
Staffers’ mystery novel, ‘K Street Killing,’ tackles life in a vulnerable member’s office

Colleen Shogan signs copies of her new novel at a launch event in D.C. on July 10. (Courtesy of Shogan)

As congressional aides with vulnerable bosses wonder if they’ll still have a job come 2019, a former Capitol Hill staffer wrote a novel about just that.

The Library of Congress’ Colleen Shogan decided to set the fourth installment of her Washington Whodunit series, “K Street Killing,” in the middle of a tense midterm election. 

‘The Hawk’ Boosts Celebration of Baseball Integration Anniversary
Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, members honor players who broke the color barrier

From left, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, and Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., talk before a news conference Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Baseball legend Andre Dawson was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, helping to get an early start on marking the 75th anniversary of the integration of Major League Baseball. 

He joined lawmakers at a news conference to talk about legislation that would create a commemorative coin in the shape of a baseball home plate depicting baseball pioneers Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby. 

When Pig Selfies Fly: Pig Book Provides Ritual Railing Against Pork
Pigs give professed pig castrator Sen. Joni Ernst plenty of space

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with a pig Wednesday at the 2018 Congressional Pig Book launch event hosted by Citizens Against Government Waste . (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake was at it again Wednesday, taking selfies with a potbellied pig.

Each year, the Arizona Republican attempts to snap photos with costumed pig characters, as well as Faye, the potbellied pig that serves as the mascot for the annual “Pig Book” release by watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Hot dogs or lobster rolls for lunch, rising stars, and prehistoric past lesson

(CQ Roll Call file photo)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Shelby: Appropriations’ First-Ever Female Staff Director Is ‘Tough, Absolutely’
Shannon Hines says she hasn’t had much time to think about her breakthrough role

Shannon Hines, left, and Sen. Richard C. Shelby at the June 28 full committee markup. (Courtesy of the Appropriations Committee)

For the first time ever, a female staff director has the reins of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Shannon Hines took the job after her longtime boss, Sen. Richard C. Shelby, became chairman in April.

Capitol-Cannon Tunnel Floods, Surprising Very Few
Rain-caused waterfalls not a rare occurrence in aging buildings

Capitol Police officers direct traffic away from the flooded Cannon tunnel (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Tuesday’s extreme weather touched down on the Hill when tourists, lawmakers, staff and press were all turned away from the tunnel connecting the Capitol to the Cannon House Office Building after water flooded the pedestrian passageway.

Capitol Police officers keeping people away from the area were not surprised.