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Word on the Hill: Spelling vs. Basketball

O’Rourke’s birthday surprise, Moulton’s wedding, and Jackson Lee’s partnership

Reps. Derek Kilmer of Washington, left, and Ted Deutch of Florida talk to the co-champions of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jairam Hathwar, second from left, and Nihar Janga, before last year’s National Press Club Spelling Bee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Reps. Derek Kilmer of Washington, left, and Ted Deutch of Florida talk to the co-champions of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jairam Hathwar, second from left, and Nihar Janga, before last year’s National Press Club Spelling Bee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two longtime congressional competitions are taking place this evening: the National Press Club Spelling Bee, and the Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game. Which one will you attend?

The spelling bee, which pits members of the media against lawmakers, is at 7:15 p.m. at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW). Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is a late addition to the members’ team. Meanwhile, lawmakers take on lobbyists in the basketball game, starting at 7:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Smith Center (600 22nd St. NW). The game follows a matchup between congressional staffers and lobbyists.

Both competitions are bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats on the same team.

Have no fear, HOH will have coverage of both events.

Also happening today …

The CARE Global Leaders Network Congressional Awards will honor Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and Reps. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The reception is at Jones Day (300 New Jersey Ave. NW) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. RSVP:

The Data Transparency Summit will feature speakers from the White House, among others. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel (999 Ninth St. NW). Register here.

The Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions will recognize their 2017 Clean Energy Champions today. Honorees include Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Reps. Mia Love, R-Utah, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. 5 to 7 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club (300 First St. SE). Register here.

Wyden gives advocates pizza

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., helped distribute pizza Monday to advocates for ADAPT, a disability rights group, before the Senate Finance hearing on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Malala on the Hill

Malala, the famous Pakistani activist for female education and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., on Monday. (Courtesy Lowey's office)
Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, met with New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey on Monday. (Courtesy Lowey’s office)

Malala Yousafzai, the famed Pakistani activist for female education, was on Capitol Hill on Monday for a meeting with Reps. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., the chairman and ranking member on the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, respectively. The discussion was focused on U.S. support for girls’ education, both at the primary and secondary levels, and U.S. support for the Global Partnership for Education. Yousafzai’s father was also present at the meeting. 

Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize two years later. 

Meet Franks’ scheduler

Erica Kasraie, personal assistant and scheduler for Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., came to the country as a refugee, she told the Washington Examiner.

“We fled Iran during the Islamic Revolution. My father’s family was Baha’i, and my mom’s family was Muslim. So, my father’s family had to leave the country, and they came to the United States to start a life for us here,” said Kasraie, a longtime Iranian human rights activist. 

O’Rourke’s birthday surprise

In a fundraising email for his Senate campaign, supporters of Rep. Bet O’Rourke, D-Texas, were asked to contribute $3 on Monday so the congressman can cancel call time on Tuesday, his 45th birthday. O’Rourke has “two big blocks” on his calendar for it, the email reads. “Our campaign doesn’t take a dime from PACs or special interest groups, so making calls to contributors is critical if we want to reach our fundraising goals.”

The donate page is called “Give Beto a Better Birthday.” The campaign said this is a surprise and the congressman didn’t know about the special push.

Murkowski and pink bear

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, tweeted photographs from her visit to the Anchorage Museum, which recently unveiled a new wing. The highlight: her photograph with a pink bear.

ICYMI: Moulton ties the knot

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., got married Friday to Liz Boardman in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported. Guests spotted included Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. The couple’s reception was at the Eastern Yacht Club, where a teenaged Moulton worked as a busboy.

The Massachusetts Democrat proposed to Boardman, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry Sports, on the Speaker’s balcony on June 23.

The congresswoman and The Entertainer

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, worked with nonprofits and comedian Cedric the Entertainer in Houston this weekend to bring donations to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s CW 39 reported. They also distributed information about recovery efforts.

Catching up: Hinojosa’s routine hasn’t changed

Former Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, who retired in January, hasn’t changed his routine. He still wakes up at 6 a.m. and reads the daily newspapers. In August, he developed a written plan for Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week, or HESTEC, which will be held at the University of Texas River Grande Valley, beginning Oct. 1. Hinojosa co-founded HESTEC 16 years ago, along with Miguel Nevarez, former president of the University of Texas-Pan American. Read more in this profile from The (McAllen) Monitor.

Overheard on the Hill

“Mitch is not, polling-wise, the most popular guy in this country.”

— President Donald Trump, talking about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Alabama radio program “The Rick and Bubba Show.”


John McCain can do whatever the damn he wants to, and he’s earned that right.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham on his Republican Senate colleague at CNN’s health care debate.

Happy birthday to …

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, 45.

What’s going on?

Have any tips, announcements or Hill happenings? Send them to

Eric Garcia contributed to this report.

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