Heard on the Hill

Union Pub is like the ‘Matthew McConaughey of Capitol Hill’
Through renovations and name changes, beery refuge on the Senate side keeps staying the same

Patrons gather in the dining room of Union Pub on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Settled on the Senate side, a couple of blocks northeast of the Capitol, and nearly centered between the Hart Building and Union Station, sits a beery refuge that seems miles away.

“We’re in the business of hospitality and having a good time. We’re not in the business of trying to extend any kind of political discourse or our political feelings,” says Union Pub owner Matt Weiss.

New rules for Airbnb could squeeze intern housing options
New D.C. law tightening home-sharing rules could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill

A sign advertises an apartment for rent in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A new D.C. law tightening rules on home sharing services could increase sticker shock for students looking to intern on Capitol Hill.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Home-sharing services like Airbnb are facing a crackdown by D.C. lawmakers who want to stop real estate investors from using buildings as de facto hotels. But what impact will a potential crunch on short-term housing have for interns looking for rentals in the District?

It can be daunting for interns seeking a place to stay in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. The initial excitement of landing that dream internship can quickly turn into panic, especially for students who need housing on short notice.

Remembering Democrats’ convention credentialing mastermind
Former House administrative assistant oversaw DNC credentials for two decades

Jackie Falk is surrounded by gifts of flowers at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. (Courtesy the Falk family)

Jackie Falk might not be a household name, unless you were trying to get credentials for the Democratic National Convention for two decades.

Because of the limited capacity of the venues for national political conventions, there is fierce competition for limited floor passes and seats, even among party luminaries.

How to kill time on the Hill
Because sometimes there’s more people than work

An intern for Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen pets a dog in 2012. Take it from us: Killing time on the Hill is even easier than it looks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

First off, congratulations! Landing an internship is a big deal — whether you’re here because you applied through a rigorous selection process with essays and interviews, or because your donor father, while teeing up his ball on the ninth hole, casually mentioned to your home-state senator that you’d like to “try out” D.C.

Everyone says the Hill is busy, busy, busy, but here’s the dirty little secret: Most days are filled with LOTS of mind-numbing drudgery and boredom. There are only so many angry phone calls you can take. There are only so many four-page constituent letters ending with 10 exclamation points you can respond to. Eventually, you need a mental break. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re taking one now (or you’re bored).

When McGovern interned for McGovern (no relation)
Massachusetts Democrat’s internship in the 1970s led to staff position and eventual election to the House

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern on how George McGovern influenced him: “Politics should be about principles and conviction, not solely about political calculation.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jim McGovern’s career has been profoundly shaped by another (unrelated) McGovern: George.

As a 12-year-old middle schooler, Jim McGovern, inspired by the candidate he shared a last name with, joined his teachers to hand out leaflets and bumper stickers for the elder McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign.

How to dine like a boss on a tight budget in D.C.
Hill reception circuit offers a lifeline for cash-strapped interns

People grab food provided at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week Reception on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Receptions are the lifeblood of the broke Capitol Hill intern’s diet. Besides being a great place for meeting people (ABN: always be networking) they provide a bounty of free food and drinks, and usually the spreads are halfway decent. I once went a whole week without paying a dime for dinner. And honestly, with enough dedication, I could have stretched that to a month.

Besides not wearing your intern badge on your lapel, the earliest lesson you learn working on the Hill is that almost every industry has an association in D.C. to represent it. Whether it’s cement, hydrogen energy or guns, if somebody has an interest before Congress, you can bet it has a lobby organized to influence lawmakers.

From intern to ‘win’-tern: How to finish your Capitol Hill internship on top
Don’t sweat the small stuff while you’re sweating in the D.C. heat

This intern for Rep. Gregg Harper got stuck with sign-in duty in 2018. Approach every day like it’s your last one on the Hill, even if the tasks are menial, former interns say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congratulations! You are minutes away from finishing your summer internship on Capitol Hill. Not only have you woken up at ungodly hours after too many margs at Tortilla Coast, but you’ve managed to beat everyone to the office by 30 minutes. You’ve mastered the fastest route between the House and Senate office buildings, and you’ve crushed coffee orders like the barista you could’ve been if it weren’t for this internship.

So, what’s next, you ask? You mean... you don’t have it figured out?

Rapper T.I. wants to form the ‘Avengers’ of black investment
He honors Nipsey Hussle by turning tragedy into opportunity

Rapper, actor and entrepreneur Clifford “T.I” Harris speaks at a Wednesday press conference at the Capitol. He joined the Congressional Black Caucus in calling for more investment in black communities. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“It was an incredible loss.”

That’s how Clifford “T.I.” Harris describes the tragic murder of fellow rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was gunned down outside his own Los Angeles clothing store in March.

Try a little fake blood with your Jazz in the Garden
If it looks, tastes and smells like meat, it might not be meat

Jazz in the Garden is a summer standby in Washington, but it’s not above a little meatless improv. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

Granite and concrete edifices aren’t the only art on display this summer at the Sculpture Garden. When you head to Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery on Friday, look for a trendy, glistening newcomer: the Impossible Burger.

It looks like meat and smells like meat. The middle is convincingly pink. Bring a bib: It bleeds a little.

‘Inconvenient Truth’ producer tackles climate change again — just without saying it
The romance of farm life clashes with environmental reality in Laurie David’s latest project, ‘The Biggest Little Farm’

Laurie David’s latest project has less Al Gore, more oinking pigs. (Elissa Federoff/NEON)

Rising at dawn to milk the cows. Watching pigs root around in dirt. Listening to cute baby goats bleating while they munch on grass. Grabbing a shotgun to dispose of the coyotes terrorizing your chicken coop. Yes, farming can be romantic, but the reality of creating your own complex, self-sustaining ecosystem is not.

That’s the closest thing to myth-busting you’ll get from “The Biggest Little Farm,” the latest project from producer Laurie David. Thirteen years ago, she gave us “An Inconvenient Truth,” with its flow charts and heavy-handed appeals to science. The nasal intonations of former Vice President Al Gore were the righteous cherry on top.

Adios, La Loma: Requiem for a Senate-side institution
Mitch McConnell calls it ‘the shutdown we all oppose!!’

La Loma, a popular Mexican restaurant at 316 Massachusetts Avenue NE, has closed. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether it was the convenient location a short walk from the Capitol, the bustling street-side patio or the tanker-sized margaritas, La Loma carved out a place in the life of Capitol Hill. And just like that, its 21-year Senate-side run on Massachusetts Avenue Northeast was over. 

If any place proved the real estate maxim of location, location, location, it was La Loma. Southwestern natives grumbled about the quality and execution of the fare, but it didn’t matter. Even the rain or cold wasn’t enough sometimes to keep people away from the patio, festooned with its green awning and multihued umbrellas, particularly during happy hour. And when the sun was out, it made for a mad dash to lunch, particularly on the Senate’s semi-workdays, Monday and Friday — and especially during recess. 

Bend it like Bacon
Members face off in the 7th annual soccer match

Democrats have owned the pitch in recent years, but Don Bacon has been practicing hard.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m no soccer expert (believe it or not), but I know enough to know that when someone in the United States gets excited about “football,” it’s rarely over a little leather black-and-white ball getting kicked around.

So when I saw the announcement for this year’s Congressional Soccer Match, I felt bad. Bad because I had forgotten there was a congressional “soccer” game — which, by the way, has its very own Wikipedia page.

The Bachelorette and football: Your Hill horoscope
What’s happening around D.C. the week of May 20-26

The rosé will be flowing at Stoney’s “Bachelorette” watch party. (CQ Roll Call)

Photos of the Week: Protests, celebrities and even some cute ducklings
The week of May 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A protester with the group By The People is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police in the Cannon House Office Building rotunda on Tuesday. About 20 protesters gathered to occupy the rotunda to call for the House to initiate Impeachment hearings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican players are low, but camaraderie is high ahead of Congressional Softball Game
Lawmakers and press corps unite to fight against breast cancer

Florida Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor waits for her pitch at last year’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game. This year’s game is scheduled for June 19. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The official list of players in this year’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game is OUT! (to be read in an umpire’s voice) and we have just over a month before members of Congress and the D.C. press corps face each other on the field again.

The members team, which is historically composed of a bipartisan bunch of female lawmakers, has seen a decreasing number of Republican players over the years, one of them being last year’s MVP, former Rep. Mia Love. This year Sens. Joni Ernst and Shelley Moore Capito, Res. Cmmsr. Jenniffer González-Colón and Rep. Martha Roby make up less than a third of the team.