HUFFPOST HILL - Senate FAIL
Barack Obama's love affair with the left pretty much fizzled today, right about the time a congressman muttered "F--- the president" at a caucus meeting. It was a rocky day for the Senate, too. After failing to provide assistance to 9/11 responders and possibly killing the DREAM Act, the minority exerted its right to torpedo legislation by denying a minority the right to serve its country. Cheer up, lefties: President Obama may not be able to say no to Republicans but at least he can say no to a cigarette! This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 9th, 2010:
SENATE FAILS TO OVERCOME DADT FILIBUSTER, STAND ALONE BILL INTRODUCED - "We're here! We're queer!.... Oh wait, now we're not here." A repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was blocked on Thursday 57-40 by Senate Republicans after negotiations over a deal to pass the bill failed. A number of moderate Republicans who said they supported a repeal, including Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski, voted instead to filibuster. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was the only Democrat to vote against moving forward with the defense authorization bill, which contains the DADT repeal. When it became clear that the vote would fail, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) cast a meaningless vote in favor of breaking the filibuster. Her vote came after she angrily roamed the Senate floor, rolling up text of the legislation and waving it around, smacking it on Sen. Dick Durbin's desk and hitting him on the arm with it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday offered Collins everything that she's been demanding in order to move forward with a DADT repeal. But Collins told Reid on the floor that she would reject the offer, refusing to take Reid's word that he would follow through with the 10 amendments promised to Republicans.
Manchin's flack tells us he's not aware of President Obama reaching out to his boss to lobby him on the repeal vote.
Lieberman said after the vote that he'd introduce stand-alone legislation with Susan Collins, cosponsored by Harry Reid, who promised to give it a vote during the lame duck. If it fails, Obama could simply not appeal the decision calling it unconstitutional or issue an executive order suspending enforcement.
Manchin basically tells Obama to just go ahead and repeal it: "Furthermore, while I may disagree with a repeal of DADT at this time, some believe that President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, if he so chooses, has the authority to suspend discharges under DADT, if he deems it a matter of national security. In fact, I asked this question during the second day of hearings on the repeal of DADT. If this is correct, and the President was to make such an order, while I may disagree with it, I would respect his authority as President to do so."
Manchin: "While I believe the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy will be repealed someday, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I do not support its repeal at this time. I truly understand that my position will anger those who believe repeal should happen now and for that I sincerely apologize. While I am very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal, as a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia."
HUFFPOST HICCUP/DREAM ACT UPDATE - We blew one bad yesterday, by incorrectly saying that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House leadership "wanted to spare the caucus a tough vote" on the DREAM Act and wanted the Senate to vote first. In fact, the House wanted to go first. Hoyer himself urged Reid to delay the vote multiple times over several days so that the House could pass the bill first. The bill had little margin for error and leadership was afraid it wouldn't pass if the Senate failed to beat back a filibuster first. The Senate ultimately shelved the bill, after the House passed it, but will likely bring it up again after the tax-cut debate is over.
HOUSE REJECTS TAX COMPROMISE, SORT OF - In a closed-door meeting this morning (they're very thin doors), the Democratic House caucus voted not to adopt President Obama's tax cut deal. Sam Stein: "The motion had been put forward by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) and was seconded, informally, by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.). 'It was an indication of disapproval and a rejection of the deal as currently written,' said one House Democratic aide. The vote, which was conducted with something less than a full caucus present, was as much a repudiation of the substance of the deal as the White House's handling of it. According to sources, several members spoke out about the provision that deals with the estate tax, calling it too generous to the wealthy in its current incarnation. But there was also evident frustration with the administration for essentially cutting House Democrats out of the negotiations." [HuffPost]
HOYER UNIMPRESSED BY RESOLUTION AGAINST TAX DEAL - Steny Hoyer, who controls the floor schedule, said that the caucus vote today doesn't move the debate. "I don't think there's been any move. There's been an expression, which has not been secret, that many members of the House are not pleased with the package," he told reporters as he left the meeting. "I don't think that's a surprise to anybody so I don't think there's been any move in that sense."
America's congressmen, comin' straight from the underground: "One unidentified lawmaker went so far as to mutter 'f--- the president' while Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) was defending the package the president negotiated with Republicans. Berkley confirmed the incident, although she declined to name the specific lawmaker. 'It wasn't loud,' Berkley said. 'It was just expressing frustration from a very frustrated Member.' Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) was also overheard saying, 'We can't trust him' not to cave to Republicans and extend the tax cuts again in two years, according to a Democratic source. The anger aimed at the bill was widespread. As Democrats moved to block the bill from coming up on the floor, chants of 'Just say NO!' could be heard by reporters outside the room." Nadler aides confirmed to Sam Stein that Nadler did say this repeatedly.[Roll Call's Afternoon-Winning Anna Palmer]
Van Hollen: GOP shocked to get estate tax deal - A Dem source in the caucus room these past few days reports Chris Van Hollen said that he's heard from multiple House Republicans that they were absolutely shocked that to get the estate tax deal from Obama. "It was his sense that it wasn't a make or break thing. The White House went further than was necessary." Go fig.
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE: DAY 1 - 'Tis the season for our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist to wand carolers with a metal detector and make New Year's Resolutions For Other People. On the first day of Christmas, PSLGOPLNYRFOP said to me: "MSNBC should stop patting themselves on their backs for being so open-minded and hire a black person (or hispanic person) to host a show. Somewhere. Anywhere." And a partridge in a pear tree! Season's Greetings, PSLGOPL! PS: Tamron Hall hosts "NewsNation," which airs weekdays from 2-3 p.m. on MSNBC. But yeah, the primetime lineup is pretty monochromatic.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Karen Good lost her job at a nonprofit in Florida almost exactly two years ago and just last month finished her 99th week of unemployment benefits. Job search: hopeless. "I'm strong and healthy but nobody wants to hire somebody my age," said Good, who will be 62 in two weeks. "I applied to demonstrate products at Costco -- $8.50 an hour. I was in there four hours, had to take all these tests, I never heard back from them." Good said she'll coast on savings from a depleted IRA until she starts drawing early Social Security payments worth $1,113 in three months. She said Congress should quit giving the president a hard time and reauthorize extended unemployment benefits so other laid off people can have as much help as she had. "I'm not a super political person but I've sort of become one because I need the government now more than I ever have in my life," she said. "I'm like angry with the whole of government. It's become such a little pissing match."
FORMER HOUSE MEMBER THROWN OFF SENATE FLOOR - Robin Hayes, a former GOP representative from North Carolina ousted in 2008, was on the Senate floor for about half of the DADT vote today. Hayes was spotted by a veteran reporter from the gallery and a second old hack alerted gallery staff of his presence, asking if former members have floor privileges. They do not. (If they did, good Lord, the floor would be packed with lobbyists.) Within barely a minute or two of Hayes being narced out, a floor staffer walked on to the floor and hustled Hayes out, but not before he glad-handed and back slapped every Senator he saw walking in. (Hayes is not a registered lobbyist.)
Remember when Robin Hayes said that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God?" And then denied he said it? And then the tape surfaced? [We do.]
The Brennan Center is out today with a report on abuse of the filibuster. Enjoy: http://bit.ly/dEr9pM
YEEEEER OUT: JIM BUNNING'S TUMBLEWEED-Y FAREWELL SPEECH - Harry Reid set aside a couple of hours today so outgoing senators could deliver their farewell addresses to the upper chamber. Bob Bennett drew laughs when he recalled the time he took advice from Orrin Hatch and then used that knowledge to vote against him. Byron Dorgan received a healthy applause after thanking his colleagues and staff. Kent Conrad praised Dorgan by concocting a flimsy metaphor about a trillion-year sequence of recurring Big Bangs (seriously). And then Jim Bunning, God bless him, took the floor. The Kentucky senator reflected on his family, his career as a MLB pitcher and his time in the House and Senate. He wrapped up his speech by defending his lone-wolf legislative style. And then....Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Crickets. We're sure all the unemployed folks who subsisted on Chef Boyardee pot lucks -- while Bunning ignored just about everyone and held up unemployment benefits extensions -- thought it was a nice speech. (Except for that jobless guy in Philadelphia who pleaded guilty to threatening Bunning for blocking the benefits in February and now faces jail time. BUNNING SPEECH MAKE ANGRY!)
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SENATE GOP VOTES DOWN 9/11 RESPONDERS BILL - Because the "Bald Eagles Are Delicious Consumer Freedom Act" wasn't on the legislative calendar, the Senate today thought it'd be fun to screw individuals who were the first on the scene to the nation's greatest domestic tragedy since Pearl Harbor. Thanks to Republican opposition, the chamber failed 57-42 to overcome a filibuster on a bill that would have provided increased health benefits and other assistance to 9/11 responders. Seeing as how Republicans have never received any assistance from 9/11, this makes perfect sense. "The attacks of 9/11 were attacks on America," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement, "and we have a collective responsibility to care for the heroes - from all 50 states - who answered the call of duty, saved lives, and helped our nation recover." The New York delegation is pushing to include it as part of the tax-cut bill.
INCOMING APPROPS CHAIR A BIG FAN OF APPROPS-ING - Unless the nonprofit also weens Cheetahs off of their addiction to glue-sniffing, this couldn't get any better: "Rep. Hal Rogers may have sworn off earmarks as he lobbied his way into the powerful House Appropriations Committee chairmanship, but there's a reason he's earned the nickname 'Prince of Pork.' Over the past two years, Rogers has requested $175,613,300 in earmarks, including funding for a cheetah protection nonprofit that his daughter works for. That earmark figure, compiled by the LegiStorm database, counts only the 98 earmarks for which Rogers was the sole sponsor and not the 37 that he co-sponsored with other members. All told, the longtime appropriator has requested $246 million in earmarks over the past two years. On Wednesday, House Republicans formally granted Rogers the Appropriations chairmanship." [Politico]
Sandy Levin fought off a challenge from Richie Neal and will remain the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.
RON PAUL LANDS TOP SPOT ON FED OVERSIGHT PANEL - The spouse of Firedoglake's bandwidth provider is getting really nice Christmas present next year. "Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, on Thursday approved Paul's bid to lead the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee...Paul was poised to take the subcommittee gavel after serving as the ranking minority member during the current Congress. The announcement quashes rumors that Republican leadership might try to prevent Paul from leading the subcommittee, which is sure to take on an aggressive and vocal role under Paul's leadership. Paul vowed in an interview with The Hill last month that as chairman he would shine a light on the Fed's policies, which he called opaque and destructive. If necessary, he would be willing to subpoena Fed officials to come testify before his panel, he said." [The Hill]
PALIN PLANNING FOREIGN TRIP, FUELING 'FUELING 2012 BID' STORIES - Shushannah Walshe: "Sarah Palin will be traveling overseas in the new year. At the top of the list: Israel and England, both countries she has said she wanted to travel to in the past. The schedule and itinerary is still fluid, but an overseas trip in 2011 will boost her foreign policy credentials, something she can turn to in a potential 2012 presidential run." [Daily Beast]
LEAKED FOX E-MAIL DETAILS EFFORT TO RENAME 'PUBLIC OPTION' - Media Matters: "At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase 'public option.' Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts...October 27, Sammon sent an email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters and producers at the network. The subject line read: 'friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the public option.'" [Media Matters]
Did we say glass ceiling? We meant double-reinforced, military grade, aluminium oxynitride bulletproof glass ceiling. "USA Today points out that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
-- who will become chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January -- is the only woman to chair a House committee. Democrats only had a handful of women in chairs as well, including New York Dem Louise Slaughter, who led the influential Rules Committee, NY Dem Nydia Velazquez, chair of the Small Business Committee and California Dem Zoe Lofgren, who heads up the ethics committee." [Miami Herald]
To be fair, Senate Republicans did agree to give the president a Marlboro in exchange for a five-year temporary freeze in EPA funding: "At today's White House briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he has 'not seen or witnessed evidence of the president smoking in nine months.'...It's been difficult for the president, Gibbs suggested, especially during recent political fights over the tax cut compromise and the START nuclear disarmament treaty, 'when he might he might have found comfort in' a cigarette, he 'pushed it away.'" Thanks, Jake Tapper! [ABC News]
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: The cold streak is about to snap. But first, it'll be rather chilly, mostly because that's what happens at night. Tomorrow: Welcome back into the 40s! We'll have to deal with gray skies, but as long I'm able to walk outside, I'll take it! Thanks, JB!
- In case you're interested in reading an 8,000 word piece on the fonts of the NYC Subway system, here you go: [http://bit.ly/AR2yi]
- Making music out of wine glasses. It's not just great make out music. It's also cool! [http://bit.ly/gFJTRY]
- When future historians chronicle our empire's demise, the moment when a professional golfer tried to hit a ball faster than a Lamborghini might be a good place to start. [http://bit.ly/eDe2JI]
- Guy creates a new kind of steadycam by attaching a camera to a chicken's head. Hey, at least it's not lunch. [http://bit.ly/gSa5an]
- National Geographic lists the ten weirdest animal discoveries of 2010 [http://bit.ly/gZY2AB]
- We hope you're handling the cold. Here are some creative snowmen [http://bit.ly/ejDncb]
- How to make an omelet inside an egg shell [http://bit.ly/hD27FL]
@lizzieohreally: Are you going to spam me again today? RT @PressSec: It's that time again - what do you want to know? #1q
@delrayser: Final vote in Senate today: 57 aye, 40 no homo.
@amandahess: When members of the Westboro Baptist Church die, does the church picket their funerals? They're dead. God must hate them.
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm: In what may be the most meta fundraiser of the year, the Sunlight Foundation passes the hat at its "Indecent Exposure" holiday party. You should give a buck, or a hundred [Madam's Organ, 2461 18th Street NW].
5:30 pm- 7:30 pm: Business Executives for National Security which is our favorite Green Party advocacy organization, too, hosts its annual holiday fete [1030 15th Street NW, #200 East].
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm: The Center for a New American Security supports sober, practical responses to the globe's shifting security threats. Its holiday bonanza will feature no such sobriety [1301 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 403].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: The Chamber of Commerce celebrates Santa's ruthless labor practices at its holiday reception [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H St NW].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Nothing says cocaine and body shots quite like The American Society of International Law. Join the broheims of the ASIL for their Christmas reception [Tillar House, 2223 Massachusetts Avenue NW].
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