hillside

Hill staffers worried about expenses turn to student loan benefit
Repayment program helps staffers keep costs down and remain on Hill

Congressional workers say the loan repayment program provides an opportunity for those trying to manage the cost of education while embarking on a Capitol Hill career. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kendra Horn was a recent law school graduate in 2004 when she took a job as press secretary to fellow Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson. Fourteen years before her own election to the House, she made the move from Oklahoma to Washington and almost immediately felt the pressures of a tight budget.

With a pile of student loans and a low starting salary, she tried to keep her expenses to a minimum. She kept her food costs low, scoping out the cheaper places to eat, and paid for groceries on her credit card. But with all of her budgeting, she wasn’t making enough to make payments on her student loans.

Get to know these new congressional caucuses
Agritourism not your bag? Try the Air Cargo Caucus!

Let’s hear it for the Agritourism Caucus! Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton hopes it will spur more visits to places like wineries in her district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are dozens of caucuses in Congress. Here’s a roundup of a few new ones formed this year.

Money generated by vineyards, orchards, breweries, distilleries and farm markets totaled $949 million in 2017, according to Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who formed this caucus to “strengthen the agritourism industry” and “highlight the positive impacts they have.” Wexton recently touted on Twitter a visit to a winery and farm in her suburban D.C. district. North Carolina Republican David Rouzer serves as caucus co-chair. 

The Supreme Court is ready for its close-up
Political Theater, episode 95

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her fellow Supreme Court justices are political issues themselves, a topic for discussion in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hot topics? The Supreme Court’s got ’em this term. LGBTQ rights. Guns. Immigration. Abortion. 

The first Monday in October marks the start of the high court’s term each year, providing the titles of a 1981 Walter Matthau-Jill Clayburgh feature film — “First Monday in October” — and a short-lived CBS television drama with James Garner and Joe Mantegna, “First Monday.”

There goes the neighborhood … to lobbyists and fundraisers
Residents say they fear their neighborhoods are morphing into a commercial district

Jamie Hogan, owner of the house at 224 C St. NE, poses in the doorway of the house on Sept. 19, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jamie Hogan and Amy Paul, partners in a Republican fundraising agency called HSP Direct, purchased a $1.5 million federal-style townhouse half a block from the Hart Senate Office Building back in January 2017. Now the residential property has become a subject of controversy.

Neighbors allege Hogan and Paul bought the home to serve as their Ashburn, Virginia, business’s Capitol Hill outpost — using the C Street Northeast pad to host fundraisers and other political or policy events.

Members’ Dining Room embraces 21st century — sort of
Recess time will be open to the public, via OpenTable

The House Members’ Dining Room in the Capitol is open to the public during recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Quite some time has passed since the Capitol’s Petinaud and Bennett rooms opened their doors as the Members’ Dining Room in 1858, but walking into the House-side restaurant, with its red carpet and 20th century chandeliers, you’d hardly notice — unless you booked a reservation on OpenTable.

And when Heard on the Hill found out the dining room was opening to the public this recess, that is exactly what we did. Once a haven of exclusivity, the eatery can now enjoy a global presence outside Congress with the reservation-booking app.

Sen. Rob Portman promotes Kevin Smith to chief of staff
Mark Isakowitz will be returning to the private sector

Kevin Smith, right, seen here with MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock, is being promoted to chief of staff to Sen. Rob Portman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rob Portman has a new chief of staff.

The Ohio Republican is elevating Kevin Smith, his deputy chief of staff and communications director, to the top job in his Senate office. Smith has worked for Portman for about three years and has been a familiar face on Capitol Hill, having previously served as communications director to Speaker John A. Boehner.

Any Given Tuesday: Cops and lawmakers suit up for charity football
Mean Machine, Guards compete for all the gridiron glory

The Guards' Chad Nieto, center, tries to catch a pass in the end zone as Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., left, and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., break it up during the Congressional Football Game at Gallaudet University in Washington in 2017. The game featured the Capitol Police team The Guards against the congressional team The Mean Machine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers will be looking for redemption when they, along with a few retired football pro friends, hit the gridiron against the Capitol Police in their biannual football game Tuesday.

The Congressional Football Game for Charity features the Mean Machine, a bipartisan team of members of Congress and former NFL players, against the Guards, a team made up of Capitol Police officers.

We sure hope the Rayburn &pizza has plenty of dough
House-side lunch spot &pizza will honor $3 pie promotion tied to Bryce Harper strikeouts

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts in the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 28. Local chain &pizza has a $3 pizza special tied to Harper's propensity to whiff. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Update Sept. 24 9:20 a.m. | Bryce Harper struck out twice Monday in the Nationals’ 7-2 win over the Phillies.

The &pizza inside the Rayburn House Office Building will sell $3 pies on Tuesday and Thursday in light of former Washington National-turned-Philadelphia Phillie Bryce Harper’s return to D.C. The catch? He has to strike out against his former home team  for staffers to get a piece of the pie.

Your Hill Horoscope: We just took a DNA test and we are 100 percent pizza
What to do in D.C. the week of Sept. 23-30

Pizza? Just wait for this week's Pizza FESTIVAL. (Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Heard it from a friend” that blast from the past is taking the stage Tuesday night at Warner Theater. If you’re feeling nostalgic, and looking for a good time, hop on board the REO Speedwagon. Show starts at 8 p.m.

But you know what doesn’t? Seeing Lizzo on Wednesday night at The Anthem. Show starts at 8 p.m.

When you get a tattoo while traveling with the boss ...
Staffer for South Dakota rep opted for ink on a recent recess trip back home

Hannah Kagey, a staffer for South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, got a tattoo while visiting a Sioux Falls constituent with her boss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was a “whirlwind” day, Hannah Kagey recalled.

The legislative assistant for Rep. Dusty Johnson trekked alongside her boss on a busy Monday during the August recess. The agenda for the day? Town halls and many a conversation with the South Dakota Republican’s constituents, or “bosses” as he refers to them, according to spokeswoman Jazmine Kemp.