Heard on the Hill

Sewell Staffer Says Ways and Means Void Has Been Filled
Sashrina Thomas also worked for Stephanie Tubbs Jones, last African-American woman on panel

Shashrina Thomas has worked for Rep. Terri A. Sewell since 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Shashrina Thomas is the bridge between the first and second African-American women to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee.

It had been nine years since an African-American woman served on the panel until Alabama Democrat Terri A. Sewell joined this year with the help of Thomas, her chief of staff.

Word on the Hill: National Wine Day
Dusty Baker on the Hill and Dana Rohrabacher in a sling

Celebrate National Wine Day before the weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may be pleasantly surprised to hear about a very special, perhaps unknown, holiday. Today is National Wine Day.

It’s nearly Friday, which means it’s almost recess, so pick up a bottle of wine on your way home from work to celebrate.

Uh-oh — Paul Ryan Has Discovered GIFs
House speaker describes a new interest: ‘It’s just kind of fun to watch their reaction’

Paul D. Ryan has made history — as the first Speaker of the House to use GIFs.

The Wisconsin Republican has been known to text members of the Republican Party and has added often funny images to up his messaging game.

Blue Beats Red in Congressional Soccer Game
Democrats win, 5-3, with second-half outburst

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen scored a goal and had two assists for the Democrats in Tuesday’s rainy Congressional Soccer Game. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

On a rainy Tuesday evening in Washington, Democrats won the Congressional Soccer Game but Republicans won the cheering section.

The men and women in blue, with four members of Congress on their team, took home the trophy at the fifth annual Capitol Soccer Classic’s congressional game, 5-3.

Word on the Hill: Embassy Chef Competition
Wreath-laying for women in the military

Belgium is one of the countries represented in the Embassy Chef Challenge this evening. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Decide for yourself which embassy has the best cuisine.

Thirty-nine chefs from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are competing in Events DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge at 6 p.m. today. Last year’s winner was the chef from the Embassy of the Philippines, and in 2015, the Embassy of Barbados took home the trophy.

Take Five: Andy Biggs
Arizona Republican did music and sound for video game

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs worked on the music and sound for a nationally distributed computer game before coming to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Rep. Andy Biggs, 58, an Arizona Republican, talks about his love of music, old movies, and friendships in the Freedom Caucus. 

Q: What has surprised you about being in Congress so far?

Kihuen’s Soccer Injury Led to Politics
Nevada Democrat recalls moment of career-ending injury before professional tryout

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen learned to play soccer growing up in Mexico. (Courtesy Kihuen’s office)

While Ruben Kihuen was running for the Nevada state Senate in 2010, he held a World Cup watch party and saw his former training partner walking out onto the field.

“When he walked in, I was like, ‘You know what? It was the first Nevadan to play in the World Cup and I’m glad it’s Herculez,’” Kihuen said of professional soccer player turned ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez. “Destiny is destiny. For me, I wasn’t destined to be a professional soccer player.”

Word on the Hill: Sinema and Curbelo Work for the Future
Congressional Soccer Game tonight

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo will co-chair the Congressional Future Caucus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Future Caucus, a bipartisan group for members under 45, has two new co-chairmen: Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

The caucus will also have vice chairmen for the first time: Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.

Congressional Day Care Wait List Up to ‘Several’ Years
266 children waiting for the call

Staffers pay anywhere from around $1,000 to $1,400 a month for child care on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By ALEX GANGITANO and KATHERINE TULLY-MCMANUS

If you’re a House staffer and thinking about having a baby in three years, you probably should get on the congressional day care wait list now.

Word on the Hill: Calm Before the Recess
Your social calendar for the week

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, center, GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks, left, and other officials review production of the fiscal 2018 budget at the Government Publishing Office's plant on North Capitol Street on Friday. The budget will be released this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the last week before the Memorial Day recess.

There are a few things going on to get you through until the long weekend and four-day break.

Swalwell Welcomes First Child
California Democrat announces baby on Twitter

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., reported his first child and his wife Brittany were both healthy after son Nelson’s birth Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Eric Swalwell and wife, Brittany, had their first child on Thursday night.

Swalwell, 36, announced on Twitter that his son, Nelson, was born in California.

Word on the Hill: Staffers Got Talent
Armed Forces Day tomorrow

Geoff Browning pursues his musical career on the side. (Courtesy Nicholas Fitanides/ Geoff Browning)

Geoff Browning, legislative assistant for Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., has a pretty serious music career on the side of his Capitol Hill job. 

His band, Of Tomorrow, is playing tonight at the 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) with other musicians, including Karl Denson of the Rolling Stones, Melvin Seals of the wider Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Band family and Alan Evans of Soulive.

Carole King Appears in the Capitol For Land Protection
Singer supporting Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s bill

Singer-songwriter Carole King , center, sang a ditty in 2007 that she composed in support of a bill sponsored by then- Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., left, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.,  aimed at protecting the Rocky Mountains. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By ALEX GANGITANO and TOM CURRY

Songwriter and singer Carole King was in the Capitol Thursday lobbying on behalf of a bill sponsored by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney that would designate certain public lands in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming as wilderness.

Word on the Hill: Staffers and Self-Esteem
Get your bikes ready for Friday

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner talks with an aide during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers can learn about the positive effects of self-esteem on performance today.

As part of the Employee Assistance Program’s webinar series, this class will “outline ways to rewire our brains in order to be more optimistic and increase self-confidence,” the invitation reads. Staffers can also “discuss ways to build self-esteem and control negative thoughts.”

Capitol Hill Remembers 'Original Godfather for Congressional Staffers'
Durbin hosts memorial service for late chief of staff Ed Greelegs

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., speaks at Ed Greelegs' memorial service on Wednesday. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

At the standing room only memorial service for former Senate chief of staff Ed Greelegs, a colleague asked if other chiefs could raise their hands. More than 20 were present.

Vermont Democrat Patrick J. Leahy’s former chief of staff Luke Albee then repeated a lesson Greelegs had taught him: “You’re a much better human being, and you go through life more fulfilled if no one’s invisible.”