Heard on the Hill

King of the road trip: Maine senator treks home after canceled flight
Angus King went to bed while you were waking up

Maine Sen. Angus King , center, and his fellow road-trippers. (Courtesy Office of Sen. Angus King)

Angus King stayed up way past your bedtime Thursday night. He wasn’t out partying (though he’ll tell you he had a great time) — he was road tripping from D.C. to Maine. The nearly nine-hour trek was a result of storms in Portland and a canceled flight out of Washington.

After sitting on the runway at Reagan National Airport for at least an hour waiting for skies to clear, the plane’s captain came over the intercom to give already annoyed passengers even worse news: They’d have to find another way home.

Is Tim Kaine a Swiftie? Senator signs musician’s petition to pass Equality Act
Tim Kaine is the latest lawmaker to sign her Change.org petition

Former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at an economic roundtable with veterans at Infinity Technology in Fairfax, Va.. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tim Kaine is the latest politician to hop on board the Taylor train which, I might add, is moving quite swiftly.

The Democratic senator joined his colleagues (and presidential candidates) Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in signing Taylor Swift’s Change.org petition, which urges the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act. The bill, passed in the House last month, would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Photos of the Week: Biden in DC, Trudeau at the Capitol and victory for the Bad News Babes
The week of June 17 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Democratic candidate Joe Biden speaks during the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress forum for presidential candidates at Trinity Washington University on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This week, Hope Hicks testified behind closed doors, the Canadian prime minister visited the Capitol Building to collect on his bet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Bad News Babes won the annual Congressional Softball Game.

All that and more below. Here’s the entire week in photos:

Meet Beto O’Rourke’s director of women’s messaging
Anna Pacilio comes from the office of another Texan, Rep. Marc Veasey

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is staffing up his presidential campaign. Anna Pacilio joined in June as director of women’s messaging. (Courtesy Anna Pacilio)

Anna Pacilio, a native Californian, is starting her second career with a Texas politician. Her latest role? Director of women’s messaging for presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Early last year Pacilio walked into Rep. Marc Veasey’s office in D.C. with no connection to the Lone Star State. She researched his district, gave herself a “crash course” in Texas politics, and landed the job of communications director.

Republicans look to avenge last year’s baseball rout
GOP team hopes new blood will reverse recent fortune in the Congressional Baseball Game

Capitol Hill staffer Zack Barth, right — here with his boss, Texas Rep. Roger Williams, at a GOP practice last year — is feeling optimistic about the Republicans’ chances in next week’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans hope that roster additions and A-list advisers can help their team avenge last year’s blowout loss in the Congressional Baseball Game.

“Any outcome is going to be better than last year,” says Zack Barth, a staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams, who’s been involved with team practices. That’s when Republicans got routed 21-5 behind a complete-game pitching effort from Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond. Former New York Rep. Joseph Crowley called it “more of a football game.”

Ghirardelli chocolate and Napa Valley wine: Pelosi pays off Warriors-Raptors bet to Trudeau
Consolation prize: Canadian prime minister gives speaker a Raptors championship t-shirt

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exchange gifts as they settle a wager over the NBA basketball championship series between her Golden State Warriors and his victorious Toronto Raptors on. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

If there wasn’t enough salt in Nancy Pelosi’s wounds after the Toronto Raptors defeated her Golden State Warriors for this year’s NBA championship, she can just steal some from the pistachios she gifted Justin Trudeau. Oh wait, never mind — those are salt-free.

The Speaker held up her end of a “friendly” wager with the Canadian prime minister Thursday when she gave him the basket of all baskets, chock-full of some of California’s finest:

What’s in a vote? In the Senate, it’s in the eye, or ear, of the clerk
A look at the more common voting gestures seen on the chamber floor

In the Senate, there are a lot of ways to register your vote. The classic thumbs-up, seen here, is one way to vote no. But that is just the beginning. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

How do I vote thee? Let me count the ways. 

Unlike the House, where the utilitarian electronic voting card does all the work, senators have so, so many ways to say “yes” or “no.”

Bad News Babes defeat Congress for fourth year in a row
Charity game sets record by raising $365,000 for breast cancer charity

Lawmakers high-five members of the media at the congressional women’s softball game Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The forecast that called for rain Wednesday evening cleared out to make way for another, much fiercer storm: the D.C. press team.

The Bad News Babes crushed the members’ team for the fourth year in a row at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game. It was a 10-3 blowout.

There’s no crying in baseball … or congressional softball
Congressional women’s game pays homage to ‘A League of Their Own’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., warms up for the congressional softball game at the Watkins Recreation Center in Washington on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

It was a blast from the past at Wednesday’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game as the teams paid all kinds of tribute to one of America’s classic sports comedies, “A League of Their Own.”

Players sported red hats with the letter “R” in a nod to the Rockford Peaches, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team started during World War II. A fictionalized version of the Peaches featured in the 1992 movie starring Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. Director Penny Marshall, also famous for her role in the sitcom “Laverne and Shirley,” died late last year.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wants you to stop laughing about reparations
Writer takes aim at reparation critics like Mitch McConnell

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies about reparations for the descendants of slaves during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Dave Chappelle has a sketch imagining a future in which African Americans are awarded reparative damages due from centuries of American slavery and discrimination. The routine features newly rich black people “blowing” their payments on rims, menthol cigarettes and rap record labels. The sketch is a smorgasbord of stereotypes conveying the message that the concept of reparations is so preposterous that it’s OK to make fun of it.

But fewer people are laughing now. And that’s largely because of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and his 2014 landmark essay “The Case for Reparations.” The 15,000-word article, published in The Atlantic, didn’t just deal with chattel slavery; it focused on housing discrimination and predatory lending practices that robbed many black Americans of their wealth. According to reparations proponents, that legacy is largely responsible for the ongoing racial wealth gap, wherein the typical white family owns 10 times the assets of the typical black family.

Have the flood Gaetz been opened?
Hannity offers Florida congressman an opportunity to host his show

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night he would gladly fill in for the conservative talk show host. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If being a member of Congress wasn’t enough of a platform to voice ardent opinions and loyalties, Rep. Matt Gaetz might get an hourlong window of opportunity on America’s most-watched cable network — that is, when Sean Hannity takes a night off.

The conservative talk show host offered the congressman an invitation to “fill in” after the Florida Republican joked that he was “the only one on the show not getting paid” during an appearance on Hannity’s Tuesday show where he discussed President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign relaunch in Orlando. Hannity jabbed at the representative’s decision to appear on “fake news CNN,” where, the television host claimed, nobody watches Gaetz and is a waste of time and energy. Gaetz agreed.

One congressman’s lonely quest to defund hobo festivities
Rep. Ralph Norman’s efforts have thus far met with little success

South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman wants to prohibit federal funding for Hobo Day. Above, South Dakota State University broke out the banjos and makeup in 2014. (YouTube screenshot)

Rep. Ralph Norman is determined to put a stop, once and for all, to government funding for celebrations of hobos and hobo-related activity.

Earlier this month, the South Carolina Republican filed an amendment to an appropriations package that would prohibit a certain type of federal funding “to any school to celebrate Hobo Day,” which raises an obvious question: Is there a scourge of government-funded hobo bacchanalias?

With ‘Kamala’s Corner,’ Harris wants to speak directly to black women
The Democratic candidate gets her own column in Essence Magazine

Sen. Kamala Harris is polling fourth in South Carolina, an early primary state where black voters make up about 60 percent of the Democratic electorate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kamala Harris hopes to reach a key Democratic voting bloc with her new column in Essence Magazine, a periodical geared toward African American women and a staple in black households for almost 50 years.

For Harris, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, “Kamala’s Corner” gives her an opportunity to speak directly to a black female party base that might not yet be familiar with the political newcomer. Black women make up a significant portion of Democratic primary voters and also play an important role as party organizers.

Susan Collins casts her 7,000th consecutive Senate vote
Republican senator from Maine hit another milestone with the first floor vote Tuesday

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrives for a committee hearing on Tuesday. She has never missed a vote — even after breaking her ankle over Christmas in 2016.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:39 p.m. | Neither snow nor rain nor broken ankles can stop Susan Collins from making it to work.

Tuesday brings a new milestone: The first roll call vote of the day was the 7,000th in a row for the Republican from Maine, who takes pride in having never missed a vote since arriving in the Senate back in 1997.

This senator lost one son, but gained another
Death and murder shook his family, but Father’s Day is still a time of joy for Kevin Cramer

Kevin and Kris Cramer, center, pose for a family photo. Son Isaac, far right, died last year. (Courtesy Kevin Cramer)

Father’s Day at Kevin Cramer’s house is “wonderfully chaotic,” as the senator puts it, even with grief still fresh. It’s not much different from any other weekend: Four kids and five rambunctious grandchildren running around, plus a big piece of meat on the grill — maybe a burger, maybe moose.

“You can eat moose?” I ask skeptically.