Heard on the Hill

‘Beckmesser’ earns Rep. Chris Pappas the spelling bee title
But competition at National Press Club also turned on spelling cocktails

New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas, left, holds the belt he won as the 2019 National Press Club Spelling Bee champion after defeating the press team’s champ, Eric Geller of Politico. (Herb Jackson/CQ Roll Call)

If you want to win the National Press Club’s Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee, here’s a tip: Drinking might help.

Not necessarily drinking during the competition, although that certainly happens in the audience (and got official pronouncer Jacques Bailly  more laughs for the “dad jokes” in the use-the-word-in-a-sentence part of the questioning). There’s also a bar at the VIP reception for contestants and sponsors before the competition, and it’s up to them whether to partake before going on stage.

Senate Moms group balances parenting and politics

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, here in April 2018 with her newborn baby, Maile, is just one of many moms working in the Senate. A staffer group Senate Moms meets every second Tuesday of the month to discuss parenting issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Tuesday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, nearly 30 women from various Senate offices gathered over lunch, and you’d hardly know they worked in opposing offices. Republican and Democratic policies weren’t necessarily among the topics of conversation, but “co-sleeping,” on the other hand, was.

That was part of the conversation in the most recent “Senate Moms” group which convenes on the second Tuesday of every month (with the exception of August) and while it sounds like a club exclusive to mothers, it’s far from maternal-only; Dads and expecting parents are welcome, too.

D.C. evokes spirit of 1776 in battle for statehood
‘We’re coming for what is due us,’ mayor proclaims

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser rides a bus with 51 military veterans to a Monday rally on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest ahead of this week’s House Oversight and Reform hearing on a bill that would make the District the 51st state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton evoked the Founding Fathers to plead their case for district statehood while riding in a statehood parade to the Capitol on Monday.

The two D.C. political leaders were joined in front of the John A. Wilson Building, the seat of the District government, by high-spirited U.S. veterans from D.C. waving American flags with 51 stars and chanting “Fif-ty-one! Fif-ty-one!” The delegation then climbed onto a double-decker statehood bus for an 11-block trek that included a stop in front of Trump International Hotel.

Your Hill Horoscope: brought to you by the letter ‘H’ (Street)
What to do in D.C. the week of Sept. 16-23

The H Street Festival, spanning 10 blocks of H Street Northeast, returns on Saturday. (Kate Patterson/Getty Images file photo)

One of D.C.’s favorite all-day block parties, the H Street Festival, returns on Saturday, Sept. 21. This year’s festivities will feature music of different genres, dance, an interactive children’s program, fashion and more. You can start making your merries at noon.

Planning a wedding? If so,“tie up loose ends before you tie the knot.” The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, located at 415 New Jersey Ave. NW, is hosting a wedding planning party on Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be makeovers, fashion, and our personal favorite: cake and cocktails.

Haaland recalls struggles as single mom, Thanksgiving and being homeless
“My daughter was like, ‘Mom, we were actually homeless’’

New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, center, says her struggles as a single mom continue to guide her as a lawmaker in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Americans typically celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with friends and family to cook and eat bountiful feasts. We tend to think of it as a day of abundance and sometimes overindulgence.

But Deb Haaland recalls one year when her experience was far from typical or joyful.

Photos of the Week: They’re Back!
The week of September 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Over the August recess, the Ohio Clock’s two arms were returned to full working order. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returned to Washington with just one working arm after breaking his shoulder at his home in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Winter athletes warn Senate Democrats: Climate change is ‘melting away’ our sports
Former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter among participants at Democratic panel’s hearing

Professional climber Tommy Caldwell greets Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet before a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats heard Thursday from winter sports athletes and adventurers about the consequences of a warming climate on their careers and lives.

“I climb a great deal of glaciers and ice, and there is no doubt increased temperatures are melting away both my sport and my livelihood,” Caroline Gleich, a ski mountaineer and adventurer, told a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Kyrsten Sinema finishes another race: Ironman 70.3 World Championship in France
The run for House and Senate isn't the only race where Sinema has crossed the finish line

Senator Kyrsten Sinema competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France on Saturday.

Kyrsten Sinema crossed the finish line like a boss at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France, this past weekend - and she has the triumphant photo to prove it.

The Democratic senator's Instagram post Thursday makes the rest of us mortals (i.e. me) exhausted just looking at it - she's throwing up a high-five after competing for seven hours. (The only thing I can do for seven hours is sleep.)

HOH presents: the ultimate congressional fantasy football juggernaut
Here are the current and former members of Congress who would dominate

Then-Rep. Jon Runyan, R- N.J. left, blocks for the “Mean Machine” team at the Congressional Football Game for Charity, which pits congressmen against police, in 2011. In the background is then-Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Have you ever wondered which current or former members of Congress would make the ideal fantasy football team? Well, we’ve got you covered.

For hardcore football fans, playing fantasy can be an exercise in cognitive dissonance. If you are a Baltimore Ravens fan who has Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, you have to pray the Steelers QB throws four TDs while the rest of the team plays like garbage. But there is no better feeling than agonizing over setting the perfect lineup and then watching your team light up your enemy, er, opponent. And for perhaps the ultimate in cognitive dissonance, Heard on the Hill presents the All-Congress fantasy football team.

Eastern Market can haz ‘Eat Brgz’
Concept burger shop stretches boundaries with custom menu

Eat Brgz owner Brandon Gaynor discusses with Heard on the Hill his take on burgers and milkshakes. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Brandon Gaynor didn’t completely know the “how” behind opening a restaurant, but he had a good feeling about the “when.”

The launch of his Eastern Market burger shop during August recess “allowed us a little bit of a ramp-up period,” the former investment analyst-turned-restaurateur told me as we sat down in his new joint at 250 7th Street SE.