Heard on the Hill

The Best of HOH in 2017

It was a year of congressional highs and lows

Republican fans watch the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was a year of high political drama, but 2017 was also big on Capitol Hill culture and wonky fun.

From cacti and CrossFit to road trips and angry art “vigilantes,” HOH had it all.

Here are the stories we loved writing as much as we hope you loved reading them.

January: Lewandowski Stopped From Joining Trump at Inauguration

President Donald Trump’s inauguration was a chaotic day in Washington, not least for Corey Lewandowski. Trump’s onetime campaign manager had a little trouble getting into the event, and we had our cameras ready.

February: Murkowski Accidentally Called Trump’s Direct Line  

Communication between Congress and Trump can be nothing short of awkward. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was shocked when she called a number for the president without realizing it was his direct line.

March: Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes

A rental car journey went viral when a Democrat and a Republican drove from Texas to D.C. Reps. Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd completed the now infamous bipartisan road trip, and HOH followed every mile.

April: Controversy Lingers Over Capitol Art Competition

GOP lawmakers kicked off 2017 by ripping a high schooler’s painting from the walls of the Cannon Building, citing its portrayal of police officers as pigs. The debate continued into April.

May: Capitol Hill Remembers ‘Original Godfather for Congressional Staffers’

HOH has always been a place for staffer stories. One former Senate chief of staff, Ed Greelegs, died at the age of 66, and his standing-room-only memorial service was a tribute to his legacy.

June: Democrats Take Down Republicans, Both Tone Down the Rhetoric

Following the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice, the Congressional Baseball Game felt different. Lawmakers put partisan hostility on hold and made a point to get along.

July: Capitol Police Officer Paints to Heal

Capitol Police officers keep the community safe every day, and when the heroic story of one came to HOH’s attention, we had to explore. Federico A. Ruiz paints as a way to cope with his memories from 9/11.

August: Walz Walks for Wellness

Members of Congress do a lot of walking. HOH tagged along with Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, who might just win the award for most steps, as he took us on errands around the Capitol.

September: Members Lose Charity Basketball Game, but Honor Teammate Scalise

Lawmakers took time out of this year’s congressional basketball classic to honor Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot while practicing for the baseball game.

October: Taylor: Politics and CrossFit Are Both ‘Masochistic’

A Navy SEAL came to Congress in 2017, and HOH got a glimpse of his workout routine. We joined Republican Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia for a morning CrossFit session.

November: Cups to Remain in Russell

Staffers held their breath after HOH broke the news that Cups & Company was in limbo. But they exhaled when we got word that the beloved coffee shop was here to stay.

December: Revealed: An Exclusive Ways and Means Secret Tradition

Personalities aren’t the only prickly things in Congress. A cactus has floated around for 25 years, passed down from one Ways and Means member to another. A green thumb isn’t required — all you need is a name that starts with the letter “P.” 

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