Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: Harry Reid Gets His Portrait
Home-brewed beer and fond farewells

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, right, shown here with his successor Sen. Charles E. Schumer, will forever be a part of the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will be a part of the Capitol even after retirement.

Reid’s portrait will be unveiled at a ceremony at 3 p.m. today in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are expected to attend. 

Sen. Tom Cotton Welcomes Second Child
Arkansas Republican now has two sons

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is now a father of two. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Republican family just got a little bit bigger.

Tom Cotton of Arkansas welcomed his second child Wednesday night, a boy.

Supreme Court Had No Choice But Get Into Christmas Spirit
Camels, sheep and a donkey made up the Capitol Hill live Nativity scene

A camel chews on the furry hood of Dianne Mackey while posing for photos with her granddaughter before the start of the Faith & Action in the Nation's Capital annual “Live Nativity on Capitol Hill.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two camels, two sheep, one donkey and a ton of small children hung out behind the Supreme Court to prepare for a live Nativity scene.

The Faith & Action in the Nation's Capitol annual "Live Nativity on Capitol Hill" on Wednesday brought animals and actors walking from behind the Supreme Court to the front, where it conducts a short program.

Ted Cruz is Really, Really Passionate About Cheese
Queso is a ‘visceral, emotional, powerful family bond’

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, right, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sample Arkansas cheese dip and Texas queso during a contest in the Capitol between the two states. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When it comes Texas queso, Sen. Ted Cruz will go to great lengths to defend his state.

“Queso is made to be scooped up with tortilla chips, dribbling down your chin,” he said in his passionate plea to prove in a press scrum that Texas queso is better than Arkansas cheese dip. “It just tastes good, it speaks to the soul. Good queso relaxes you.”

The Sisterhood of the Capitol Hill Staffers
Women’s Congressional Staff Association wants more women in higher positions

Eliza Ramirez, from the office of Massachusetts Rep. Michael E. Capuano, is president of the Women’s Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Word on the Hill: Watch Out For Live Animals
McConnell pays tribute to retiring Republicans

David Bunting, from Ocean View, Delaware, playing one of the wise men carrying myrrh, walks during Faith and Action Christian Outreach's live Nativity procession in front of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill last year. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may see a sheep, a donkey and camels walking around Capitol Hill today.

The annual live Nativity procession starts at 11 a.m. behind the Supreme Court, featuring animals, and actors dressed as the Holy Family and the three wise men, as well as shepherds and a little drummer boy.

Take Five: Retiring Rep. Charlie Rangel
‘For the first time in my life, I wasn’t thinking about legislation and politics and getting re-elected’

New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel said getting a staph infection made him think differently about his priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

New York Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, 86, is retiring this month after completing 23 terms in Congress. He talked to HOH about Harlem, his retirement plans and writing to his congressman.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in Congress?

Retiring Members Make Room for Their Replacements
Rayburn basement just got more crowded

Painters repaint the office of outgoing North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers in the Longworth building last week in preparation for a new tenant. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Departing House members are having their last hurrah together in the Rayburn House Office Building basement until their final day in Congress.

They were moved to the Members Service Center, where each member has a cubicles with a computer, two chairs and a phone to share with their decreased staffs.

Word on the Hill: Capitol Christmas Tree Gets Lit
Holiday parties today

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Payette National Forest in Idaho was unloaded on the West Front of the Capitol on Nov. 28. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Christmas Tree will light up at a ceremony this evening with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers and the Idaho congressional delegation, because the tree comes from Idaho.

“We extend our gratitude to the countless individuals who made this a reality, particularly the Idaho students who hand-decorated thousands of Christmas ornaments, and the Payette National Forest officials who selected this year’s tree and ensured its safe arrival in Washington,” Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Michael D. Crapo said in a joint statement.

Word on the Hill: Busy Social Week
Hamburgers and shuffling staffer

Ben Bergstrom, from North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven’s office puts a Santa hat on a mountain lion on loan from North Dakota's Kenner Simmental Ranch while decorating for Christmas in their Russell building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hopefully, you got some rest this weekend because the week’s social calendar is jampacked.

Since there is a lot going on and a lot of holiday parties, HOH weeded through the list to give you the best options each day.

Rep.-elect Kihuen Goes Office Hunting
HoH tags along with incoming Nevada Democrat as members of the Class of 2016 choose their offices

Massachusetts Rep. William Keating gives Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen of Nevada a tour of his office on Thursday. The office used to be John F. Kennedy’s when he was first elected to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nevada Democrat Ruben Kihuen pulled the middle-of-the-road No. 30 chip, making him the 30th of the 56 new House members to choose a new office.

Kihuen picked 313 Cannon, for the next two years at least, on Thursday afternoon.

‘Jackie’ Shows Human Side of a Mourning First Lady
Movie creators share insights during panel disussion following D.C. premiere

Natalie Portman plays the title role in “Jackie,” which tells the former first lady’s story in the days following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

For 100 minutes, actress Natalie Portman is on the screen portraying not only the famously sophisticated widow of a president, but the complex and fundamental historical character in the new movie “Jackie.”

The film’s director, Pablo Larraín, explained in a panel discussion at the D.C. premiere at the Newseum on Thursday night that he cut the scenes without Jackie Kennedy in them from the screenwriter Noah Oppenheim’s script.

Word on the Hill: Happy Birthday, Harry Reid
‘Oh, I’m sorry — I thought you were finished’

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid turns 77 Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Birthday to Democratic Party favorite Harry Reid.

The retiring Senate Minority Leader turns 77 today.

Rep.-Elect Lou Correa Gets Lucky No. 1 in Office Lottery Draw
Incoming House freshmen experience traditional room selection process

California Rep.-elect Lou Correa reacts after drawing the No. 1 chip during the new member orientation room lottery draw for office space at the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The mood was lively Thursday in the House Appropriations hearing room in the Rayburn building. Freshman members with last names beginning with ‘C’ were being called.

Rep.-elect Lou Correa crossed himself as he walked up to the table in the front. The California Democrat drew a number from the well-stirred box of chips. The odds had improved since his Texas Republican colleague-to-be Jodey Arrington drew first, selecting No. 14 from the 56-chip pool.

A Voice for LGBT Staffers
Clinton’s Michigan communications director returns to the Hill and LGBT staffer group

Mitchell Rivard, the president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, is Dan Kildee‘s deputy chief of staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mitchell Rivard, the LGBT Congressional Staff Association’s president, says LGBT staffers will need a voice with Donald Trump in the White House.

“With a new administration and with new positions that the president-elect may take, including on LGBT issues, it may become especially important for people who are LGBT, who work on the Hill and are members of our organization, to speak up and make sure that their rights are being protected,” said Rivard, who just returned to Capitol Hill after working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.