Just two days after being sworn in, Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) made his first freshman mistake — violating a House rule and then promptly getting called out publicly for it on Twitter.
The newbie was given the chance to preside over the House on Thursday, and in all the excitement he whipped out his iPhone to capture the memory. He then tweeted two shots of the empty House chamber, calling it the “temple of democracy.” Photography on the chamber floor is a big no-no.
Bishop was informed of the rules on Twitter by NBC reporter Frank Thorp V. Bishop tweeted back, “got it, thanks,” and deleted the photo tweets.
But the Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops database captures politicians’ deleted tweets. So Bishop’s mistake is preserved for all time. (Bishop has since blocked the guy who leads Politwoops.)
Bishop’s spokeswoman, Kelli Ford, told the Loop that the congressman was just excited.
“In a moment of awe he made an honest mistake, and he won’t do it again,” she said.
Too bad for Bishop he didn’t take his photos in the hours last Tuesday when there weren’t any rules on the House floor. At that time, before the new Congress voted on its own protocols, lawmakers were taking selfies and posing for photos, according to CQ Roll Call, which described the scene as “the wild, Wild West in terms of decorum.”
To be the Republican who sponsors the bill that dismantles a key pillar of Obamacare is worth powerful bragging rights in some circles. So it’s no wonder there would be a little competition to have that honor.
A staffer for Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) tried to lay claim, sending an e-mail Thursday night to an internal list of GOP staffers that she would be introducing a bill to repeal the health-care law’s mandate that requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance. He hoped their bosses would sign on as co-sponsors.
But the next morning, GOP staffers received an e-mail from the office of Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), letting them know that, lest there be any confusion, he would be introducing the legislation to repeal the employer mandate, as he had the previous two Congresses.
“Given that Congressman Boustany sits on [Ways and Means], which has jurisdiction over this issue, has been a long time champion of this issue, and has already built a coalition of interested stakeholders, we look forward to having your boss join as a cosponsor this Congress,” the Boustany staffer wrote.
That’s passive-aggressive Hill-speak for “Hands off my bill, Ellmers.”
Ellmers has no intention of backing down, though. Her spokeswoman told the Loop that she could be introducing her bill as soon as this week. (The GOP-controlled House already jumped at the chance to start chipping away at the law last week.) Her staff has been in communication with Boustany’s to figure out how to add components to her bill that would “distinguish it from his.”
Now, now, guys. There will be plenty of opportunities to take your shot at hatcheting Obamacare. Of course, if successful, the White House would promptly veto.
But it’s the thought that counts.
Tuesday was supposed to be a big day on Capitol Hill for former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. He was scheduled to be the opening witness to testify at the inaugural hearings of the GOP-run Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee.
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) had scheduled Kissinger for a talk titled “The National Interest: Articulating the Case for American Leadership in the World.”
Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) had him teed up Tuesday afternoon “to provide a perspective on global challenges to national security.”
But it was not to be.
A notice from Corker’s office Monday morning said that, “Due to a fractured shoulder” the 91-year-old Kissinger “had to postpone his appearance before the committee.”
A spokesman for the Senate Armed Services Committee said that there will be a hearing Tuesday afternoon and that the panel was working on a revised agenda given Kissinger’s injured-reserve status.
Kissinger’s office told us that the nonagenarian broke his shoulder on Dec. 28 and that he had been hospitalized for five days. His appearances may be rescheduled for the end of January, we were told.
Kissinger declined to talk about how he had injured himself, his office said.
Maybe it was a bear hug from good pal and Dallas Cowboys fan Chris Christie? That, after all, was the Sunday when Dallas creamed Washington.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) may have kept the support of his Republican colleagues after news surfaced that he gave a 2002 speech to a white-supremacist group, but others are not so eager to let it go.
So when Scalise greets donors at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday afternoon, he’ll also be met with protests.
The Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, a movement created after the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, has organized a protest to gather outside the GOP meeting spot where Scalise will hold an event to introduce supporters to his congressional team.
The group’s Facebook invite is titled “Is This Your GOP? Are You Willing to Confront Racism in Your Own Party?” It asks that people gather at the Capitol Hill Club at 3 p.m. to “demand accountability for [Scalise’s] actions, and removal from his leadership role.”
Despite the pile-on from Democrats, including the White House, House Republicans are keeping Scalise on as majority whip. And while some have called for his resignation or removal, other civil rights groups and black leaders are instead pressing for a meeting with him to ask more questions.
Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, wrote Sunday that Scalise had not yet responded.
Many things can go awry during travel abroad, even if you’re the secretary of state.
John Kerry’s motorcade was heading to the airport in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday after an international investor conference when his Toyota SUV was hit by the car behind him.
The accident was caused, we hear, by a driver farther up in the motorcade braking suddenly for a puppy on the road. The rear door to Kerry’s vehicle was crushed in what was described by a State Department official as “a minor traffic accident resulting in some damage to both cars.”
Kerry “sustained no injuries, nor did any staff or personnel,” the official said. “One vehicle was switched out, and the motorcade proceeded to the airport without further incident.”
The secretary of state’s SUV may well have been armed, which could explain why it sustained only minor damage. The car that hit Kerry’s appears to have been involved in more than a fender bender. That’s why it was “switched out.”
Twitter: @KamenInTheLoop, @ColbyItkowitz