Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: International Day of Peace
Historical Society event tickets on sale

Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. and Meridian Witt, an 8th grader from Capitol Hill Cluster School, prepare to ring the World Harmony Bell on the Capitol Lawn, a day before the 2007 International Day of Peace. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Today is the International Day of Peace, a day established by the United Nations as an annual commemoration of world peace.

To mark the occasion, the United States Institute of Peace is encouraging people to take the Peace Day Challenge. Some ways make the world around you more peaceful? A promotional video from the institute suggests talking to someone who doesn’t look like you, volunteering for a cause you care about or speaking up when you see someone being intolerant. Post on social media how you observed the day, using the hashtag #PeaceDayChallenge.

Beyer on the Words That Made His Spelling Bee Career
Virginia Democrat tries to win back his National Press Club Spelling Bee title

Members of the politicians’ team after the National Press Club Spelling Bee in 2015. From left, Rep. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, the winner Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. of Virginia, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota. (Courtesy Noel St. John/National Press Club)

In one of Washington’s most beloved nerdfests, members of Congress will take on members of the D.C. media in the National Press Club Spelling Bee on Tuesday.

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who won for the politicians’ team in 2015, has redemption on his mind.

‘Native Gardens’ Explores Race and Class Divides
Takes jabs at political climate

From left, Steve Hendrickson as Frank Butley, Jacqueline Correa as Tania Del Valle, Dan Domingues as Pablo Del Valle and Sally Wingert as Virginia Butley in Native Gardens, running September 15-October 22, 2017 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. (Courtesy Dan Norman/Guthrie Theater)

As questions about immigration and identity surrounding who gets to be “American” continue to roil political debates, the play “Native Gardens” explores the divides of race, class and how they intertwine on a local level.

The play, showing at the Arena Stage, chronicles Pablo and Tania Del Valle, played by Dan Domingues and Jacqueline Correa, as they buy a fixer-upper home in a high-end Washington, D.C., neighborhood next to Frank and Virginia Butley.

Take Five: Tom O’Halleran
Arizona Democrat worked on homicide cases before coming to Congress

Arizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran was both an undercover narcotics detective and a homicide police officer before heading to the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Rep. Tom O’Halleran, 71, a Democrat from Arizona, talked about his days working homicide cases, lessons learned from being a police officer, and college basketball.

Q: What has surprised you about Congress so far?

Word on the Hill: Let’s Talk Washington Dysfunction
First historical society lecture

Former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar is participating in a discussion with Issue One and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former lawmakers are taking a stab at figuring out the dysfunction in Washington.

Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus and the Center for Strategic and International Studies are hosting a news conference today that is scheduled to feature former Reps. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Constance A. Morella, R-Md., Porter J. Goss, R-Fla., and Lee H. Hamilton, R-Ind., along with former Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind.

Full-Body Scanners Appear Outside House Chamber’s Gallery
Capitol Police are tightening security measures

Two security points on the third floor of the Capitol now feature full-body scanners like the one above at the Capitol Visitor Center in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Capitol Police is working on increasing Hill security, and one obvious addition includes two new, large body scanners on the third floor of the Capitol.

The third floor is usually occupied by tourists, journalists, Capitol Police officers, and the occasional member of Congress escorting tourists. There are a few security points on both the House and Senate sides from where tourists can enter the respective chamber’s gallery but must walk through metal detectors. 

Word on the Hill: Drawing a Line on Good Taste
Opioid discussion, one week until the Press Club’s spelling bee

From left, Steve Hendrickson as Frank Butley, Jacqueline Correa as Tania Del Valle, Dan Domingues as Pablo Del Valle, and Sally Wingert as Virginia Butley in “Native Gardens,” running through Oct. 22 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. (Courtesy Dan Norman/Guthrie Theater)

Native Gardens” opened at the Mead Center for American Theater on Friday. The play runs until Oct. 22 at the center’s Arena Stage.

The comedy features actors Jacqueline Correa and Dan Domingues as Tania and Pablo Del Valle, a couple who move to Washington, D.C., next door to Frank and Virginia Butley, played by Steve Hendrickson and Sally Wingert. Pablo is a young lawyer and Tania is a pregnant Ph.D. candidate while the Butleys are a deeply rooted D.C. couple.

Pence Gets New Communications Team From the Capitol
Farah, Mandreucci start at the beginning of October

Vice President Mike Pence is bringing on communications staffers with experience on both sides of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence has poached the Capitol for a new communications team.

The departure of Pence’s longtime spokesman Marc Lotter from the White House, which was announced last week, created an opening for two communicators from Capitol Hill to move in.

Word on the Hill: Clinton’s Book Tour Hits D.C.
Your social calendar for the week

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in Washington on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in D.C. tonight for her book tour.

The former secretary of State, senator and first lady is traveling the country to talk about “What Happened,” her account of the 2016 election.

The Triplet Caucus: Members Talk About Raising Kids in Threes
McCaul, Payne and Rohrabacher’s children run in threes

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, seen here in 2011, with his 6-year-old triplets, from left, Christian, Annika, and Tristen, in his Rayburn Building office. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Michael McCaul, Donald M. Payne Jr. and Dana Rohrabacher count things in threes.

The congressmen are all fathers of triplets. McCaul and Rohrabacher’s sets are two girls and a boy; Payne has two boys and a girl. HOH asked two of them about life with their trios. 

Word on the Hill: POW/MIA Recognition Day
Bottomless rosé wines, and the future of health care

Arizona Sen. John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which honors missing service members and their families.

Currently in Congress, there are two lawmakers who endured time as prisoners of war during the Vietnam War: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

Word on the Hill: Hill 2 Houston
Intelligence conference, and save the date for basketball

hill2houston

Today is the Hill 2 Houston Kickin’ It For a Cause Charity Kickball Tournament organized by the Congressional Black Associates to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery.

McCain, Kerry, Hagel Co-Star at Burns’ ‘Vietnam’ Screening
Clips from new 18-hour documentary shown at the Kennedy Center

From left, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “The Vietnam War” co-director Lynn Novick, Sen. John McCain, “The Vietnam War” co-director Ken Burns, Anne Finucane and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, and former Secretary of State John Kerry pose for a photo Tuesday night at the screening of Burns’ and Novick’s epic Vietnam War documentary. (Courtesy Bank of America)

Public servants who lived through the Vietnam War attended the Washington screening Tuesday of the upcoming PBS documentary on the conflict by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. 

Before the preview screening of “The Vietnam War,” Burns asked Vietnam veterans in the Kennedy Center auditorium to stand up. Dozens did. After the crowd applauded the veterans, Burns asked people who protested the war at the time to stand up.

Take Five: Mike Johnson
Louisiana Republican designed his own campaign logo

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson says he has no idea how his children got their musical talent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Rep. Mike Johnson, 45, a Louisiana Republican, talks about civility in his class, graphic design, and his children’s musical talents.

Q: What has surprised you about Congress so far?

Word on the Hill: Kaine and Alexander’s Bipartisan Jam
Free fries, and kickball for Harvey recovery

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander have a concert on Friday. (Courtesy bristolrhythm.com)

Music lovers can catch Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on the harmonica and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on the piano this Friday night.

Their band The Amateurs are performing at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival this weekend in Bristol, a community that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee state line. The dynamic duo goes on stage at 5 p.m.