Heard on the Hill

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.

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.