Heard on the Hill

‘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.

Word on the Hill: 'Jackie' Premiere
Reid praises Boxer, and it’s room lottery day

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. (Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Happy December!

Actress Natalie Portman is in town today for the D.C. premiere of her new movie “Jackie,” in which she plays former first lady Jackie Kennedy.

Staffers Turned Out to Hear Shaq Speak on Drunk Driving
NBA star and reserve officer teamed up with Responsibility.org

Shaquille O’’Neal arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill staffers came out in masses on Wednesday to hear about combating impaired driving, mainly because Shaquille O’Neal was in the room.

O’Neal’s legendary 19-year National Basketball Association career (and perhaps the free lunch) attracted people to the Hart Senate Office Building for the “Recognizing Law Enforcement’s Critical Role in the Fight Against Impaired Driving” event, held by the Foundation for the Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

Take Five: Retiring Rep. John Kline
Minnesota Republican recalls retirement advice from James Baker

Retiring Minnesota Rep. John Kline says his proudest accomplishment in Congress was helping pass the Every Student Succeeds Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Republican Rep. John Klineannounced his retirement in September last year. 

As his time in the House draws to a close, the chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee reflected on his time in office and this year’s elections, and shared some retirement advice he received from a former statesman.

Word on the Hill: Staffing Up
Cortez Masto taps Reid and Mikulski staffers

Nevada Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto announced seven senior staff hires. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Newly elected senators are slowly but surely staffing their Capitol Hill offices.

Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who is replacing retiring Sen. Harry Reid, announced seven senior staff hires this week.

Word on the Hill: Orientation Returns
A few events to attend this evening

Maryland Rep.-elect Anthony Brown arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel for orientation on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Newly elected House members are back in Washington for their second week of orientation.

Their only official event of the day, from 1 to 5 p.m., is another round of briefings in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium.

The Capitol Has Its Christmas Tree
84-foot-tall spruce makes the trip from Idaho

Workers from the Architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Forest Service unload the Capitol Christmas tree from Payette National Forest in Idaho on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Another tree has made the journey to grace the lawn of the United States Capitol. The traditional Capitol Christmas tree, all the way from the Payette National Forest in Idaho, has arrived.

Escorted by Capitol Police, the 84-foot-tall, 84-year-old Engelmann spruce rode on a big red truck labeled “From tree to shining tree.”

Are You on the List? HOH’s List of Holiday Parties
It’s party time as the year winds down

Dozens of Santa Clauses and holiday-themed characters pose for a group photo in front of the White House in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s holiday party season and Heard on the Hill has the scoop on which events to attend this year.

Be sure to check out our guide to holiday partying on Capitol Hill before you hit the town.

Word on the Hill: O Christmas Tree
’Tis the season for holiday parties

The 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is shown on the West Front. Last year's tree was a 74-foot-tall Lutz tree from the Chugach National Forest in Alaska. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is back and it’s officially holiday season.

At 10 a.m. today, the architect of the Capitol will accept the 2016 Capitol Christmas Tree, which comes from the Payette National Forest in Idaho.

A Hill Holiday Party How-To
HOH’s guide to navigating the next few weeks

This is a sign that it’s time for holiday parties. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Elections are over, lawmakers are finishing up this Congress and it’s getting chilly in Washington. It’s time for holiday party season.

Next to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the holidays are one of the biggest excuses for people in D.C. to dress up, network and party.

Word on the Hill: Turkey Pardon
Senate bean soup for Thanksgiving

A person in a turkey costume is interviewed outside the Capitol by Fox News in 2009. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Barack Obama marks another ‘last time’ event today: the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

At a ceremony in the White House’s Rose Garden at 2:40 p.m., Obama will take on his eighth ceremonial turkey pardoning in honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Obama Honors His Favorites in Last Medal of Freedom Ceremony
‘Everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, personal way,’ Obama says

President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who spent most of his career with Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls, on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama honored 21 people from the worlds of culture, sports, innovation, public service and business, and perhaps chose a few for his last Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony who are unlikely to receive such recognition under a Donald Trump presidency.

“This is what makes us the greatest nation of earth,” Obama said at the ceremony Tuesday in the White House’s East Room.