Heard on the Hill

Who Won Recess?

Lawmakers make the scene back home

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., appeared on Bill Maher’s show in August to promote his new book, “A Giant in the Senate,” after canceling an earlier scheduled spot in protest. (Courtesy Janet VanHam/HBO).

One lawmaker played teacher but ended up learning from kids. Another gave hugs to those who care for the youngest opioid addicts. Many donned their eclipse glasses and looked skyward.

And one became the Python Hunter of the Everglades.

Members hit the state and county fairs, were recognized back home with awards and honors, and visited with hometown teams as football season kicked off.

Here are the winners of the August recess:

Francis Rooney, python hunter

(Courtesy Rooney's twitter)
(Rep. Francis Rooney via Twitter)

Rep. Francis Rooney hunted pythons in the Everglades and helped catch and kill five of the invasive snakes on Aug. 10. The Florida Republican and his posse killed two pythons that were about 8 feet long, two medium-sized ones, and one small snake.

Picking ’em up and putting ’em down

(Courtesy Murphy's twitter)
(Sen. Christoper S. Murphy via Twitter)

It wasn’t the first time Sen. Christopher S. Murphy completed the 110-mile walk across his home state, and it won’t be the last.

The Connecticut Democrat completed the five-day trek on Aug. 17. He said constituents talked mainly about health care, education and taxes.

Help for the tiniest opioid victims

(Courtesy Turner via Premier Health)
(Rep. Michael R. Turner via Premier Health)

Volunteers at Ohio’s Miami Valley Hospital cuddle with infants going through opiate withdrawal to help ease their pain. Republican Rep. Michael R. Turner visited the hospital over recess to thank them.

Senatorial send-off

Larry Fitzgerald, Sen. John McCain., Carson Palmer and president Michael Bidwill pose for a photo at the Arizona Cardinals’ training camp
(Courtesy azcardinals.com)

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida  dropped in on home state teams before the NFL season begins this month. McCain visited the final day of the Arizona Cardinals’ training camp. Rubio was seen at a Miami Dolphins’ practice on Aug. 28.

Forgive and forget

Sen. Al Franken had a makeup date with comedian Bill Maher when he appeared on Aug. 18 as his top-of-show interview guest. The Minnesota Democrat was supposed to appear on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in June, but canceled after Maher used the term “house n-----” while Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse was a guest. Maher later apologized.

Staring at the sun 

(Courtesy Graham's twitter)
(Sen. Lindsey Graham via Twitter)

Certain parts of the country got a full solar eclipse on Aug. 21, including parts of South Carolina. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham kicked back on the patio and took in the show.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson spent the day showing students on a globe what happens during a solar eclipse, and how big of a deal the event was.

In with the cool crew

(Courtesy Cárdenas on twitter)
(Rep. Tony Cárdenas via Twitter)

Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda and California Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas hosted a town hall together on Aug. 17. Miranda was invited to talk with high school students in Los Angeles after his hit musical opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Cárdenas talked about civil engagement and both took questions from students.

Teacher becomes the student

(Courtesy Kennedy's office)
(Courtesy office of Sen. John Kennedy)

Republican Sen. John Kennedy was a substitute teacher for an eighth grade class on Aug. 18 and taught a lesson plan on Louisiana’s wetlands and their destruction and restoration. But he said he ended up learning about the difficulties of being a teacher and a kid in the meantime.

A new marriage, and an enduring one

Rep. Elise Stefanik via Instagram

New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik was married on Aug. 19 to Matthew Manda, communications and marketing director for the Media Group of America, which owns the news outlet Independent Journal Review. The ceremony took place in Saratoga Springs, New York. The couple met in 2012 at a party Stefanik hosted in D.C.

Four days later, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley and his wife Barbara celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Courage under fire

(Sen. Jeff Flake via Twitter)

On the same day that President Donald Trump was bashing him at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake was honored in Tucson by the Arizona Sheriff’s Association for helping those wounded at the Republicans’ Congressional Baseball Game practice in June.

That makes sense

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin knows how tight the battle for the House might be next year. The Maine Republican’s explanation for ignoring and dodging the media was recorded and leaked on Aug. 25.

“The reason is because [Republicans] need our seat,” he says on the recording. “It would be stupid for me to engage the national media.” Poliquin was speaking at an event in Bangor hosted by the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

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