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HUFFPOST HILL - Dems Propose Equitable Tax Bill

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Don't worry Mitch McConnell, the scuttlebutt on the Hill is that it's perfectly normal to cry over Judd Gregg! Anyway, David Paterson took a break from forecasting New York's descent into a Mad Max-style dystopia and praised Eliot Spitzer's tastefully low-key approach to prostitutes. Scott Brown needs some time to scrutinize the DADT standalone bill -- which hasn't changed one iota since last week -- for, we dunno, the fonts or something. And on the heels of the Holbrooke walk back, we're scouring Wikileaks for a State Department cable clarifying that "Et Tu, Brute?" was actually just a sassy Julius Caesar giving Marcus Brutus a hard time about his Crocs. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, December 14th, 2010:

HOUSE DEMS PUSHING TAX CHANGES - House Democrats meet tonight to talk tax-cuts and David Wu plans to offer a resolution demanding that unemployment insurance be extended at least as long as the tax cuts for the wealthy. It's an awfully reasonable proposal, which makes it a hard sell in the U.S. Congress. A last-minute effort is also underway to have an increase in the debt ceiling included in the package under the reasoning: Why not? Dems are still angling to take a chunk out of the estate-tax cut portion of the deal. Would Republicans really blow the whole thing up over those changes?

Word comes to us that a tax cut vote probably won't happen tonight in the Senate due to complications on both sides...especially the Northeastern, socialist, uncoiffed, filibustering side.

TOWNS OUT AT OVERSIGHT - Dems are headed for an ugly fight for the ranking spot on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Ed Towns is announcing this evening that he'll step aside, leaving a fight between Carolyn Maloney, Elijah Cummings and Dennis Kucinich. Maloney is in line behind Towns, but CBC politics are clearly going to inject themselves into this one. Both Cummings and Maloney have previously said they're interested in the gig.

Bob Bennett, a top Republican on Senate approps, said today he'll back the omnibus.

TAX CUT PROBLEMS ON RIGHT FLANK Howard Fineman: "Not to be outdone by their liberal counterparts, conservatives are working themselves into a state of dismay over what they disparagingly call "The Obama Compromise" tax bill. Some key conservative activists and consultants claim that the bill could fail in the House because of growing grassroots opposition among Tea Party types - the mirror opposite of last week's Democratic concern about liberals torpedoing the same legislation. "The sand is shifting under this very fast," said Craig Shirley, a Washington consultant who advises the Tea Party Patriots among other groups. "If it doesn't get voted on soon, it could get voted down." That's probably an exaggeration. It's hard to imagine the GOP as a whole voting town a bill with close to $1 trillion in tax cuts. But it is growing more obvious by the minute that Republican leaders underestimated the internal political risks of the deal."

Gary Andres has been named the next chief of staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we're told. He's a Pretty Big Deal and quite a get for Fred Upton..

SENATE REPUBLICANS QUIETLY PUSHING FOR STEELE OUSTER - Tomorrow in Roll Call from David M. Drucker: "Senate Republicans unhappy with the leadership of the Republican National Committee are quietly pushing for change in the wake of Chairman Michael Steele's announcement that he will run for a second term. Although Congressional Republicans have little influence over the RNC leadership elections, two key Senate Republicans on Tuesday expressed what many in their Conference have been feeling throughout the RNC Chairman's controversial two-year tenure."

@hillhulse: Brendan Daly, longtime spokesman and adviser to Speaker Pelosi, leaving hill for private public relations firm. A vet of message wars.

HOUSE DEMS INTRODUCE DADT BILL - Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today announced that a standalone DADT repeal bill, to be introduced by lame duck Rep. Patrick Murphy, will come to the floor. Nancy Pelosi later tweeted that the bill will be voted on tomorrow. The repeal failed in the Senate as part of a defense authorization bill in part because gays and lesbians courageous enough to serve in the armed forces can't extend upper bracket tax cuts while they're taking enemy fire AND because Joe Manchin hasn't been told what to think about it yet...common enough problems. Hoyer says the bill is a carbon copy of the Lieberman-Collins version in the Senate and as such replicates the repeal language in the authorization bill. Scott Brown is nevertheless confused by the carbon-copy bill. When asked by reporters today whether he would support the standalone, he replied that he looks forward to studying it. OK!

CORKER: START NOT GETTING DUAL TRACKED - Bob Corker told reporters today that this is what he's been told about how the New START Treaty will get done: After tax cuts, it'll be debated on the floor for a few days. Instead of a vote, there'll be a colloquy between the two leaders during which they'll set a date in February to vote for it. Then the chamber will take up funding for he government.

Tom Harkin will be talking filibuster reform tomorrow morning at the National Press Club.

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR OUTGOING ETHICS CZAR - Happy Holidays! For our Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, the weather outside is frightful...and the scenery...and the people. That won't stop him from sending us his latest New Year's Resolution For Other People, however. On the fourth day of Christmas, PSLGOPLNYRFOP said to me: "Norm Eisen should come back to America. The job he pretended to start is nowhere near done (Daschle and Albright are printing money). And Vaclav Havel likes us anyway." And a partridge in a pair tree! Season's greetings, PSLGOPL! PS: Norm Eisen is supposed to be in Prague, but he never got there because obstructionist Republicans have held up his nomination.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - At first, Samara McAuliffe thought of her layoff earlier this year as a good thing. "I kind of saw the layoff as an opportunity to find a dream job," McAuliffe told HuffPost. "I didn't realize how long it would take to find a job." Now all she wants is a job, any job. She said she's applying for all kinds -- she used to do HR for a big bank -- and nobody's responding except Starbucks. "They were kind enough to send an email that I didn't meet their qualifications." McAuliffe said her husband is still working, but the family of four is still "feeling the pinch" because of her reduced income. "My son is four. He's at that age where Santa is a big deal," she said. "We did have a talk because he remembers Christmas last year. He can list almost every gift he received. I told him, 'Santa was cutting back in the North Pole this year, the focus was going to be more on family.' He doesn't understand, but I tried."

Number of times Mitch McConnell choked up during DADT repeal debate: 0

Number of times Mitch McConnell choked up during DREAM Act debate: 0

Number of times Mitch McConnell choked up during 9/11 responders health benefits debate: 0

Number of times Mitch McConnell choked up while bidding farewell to Judd Gregg: Like, 73.

Iowa AG to foreclosure fraudsters: GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL- The leader of a nationwide investigation of foreclosure fraud told homeowners Tuesday that the probe will have some serious consequences for bankers. "We will put people in jail," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said, according to homeowner advocates present at the meeting in Des Moines.

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POST-CHRISTMAS VOTES IN THE WORKS? - Proving once more that Washington is basically a walking, breathing, bacne-ridden version of Chutes and Ladders, Senate Democratic leaders are signaling that the chamber's procrastination might lead to a dreaded end-of-the-year session. "There's still Congress after Christmas," Reid told reporters this afternoon, "We're not through. Congress ends on January 4th." Harry Reid flack (and Washington's biggest fan of our purple urkle jokes) Jim Manley confirmed to the Journal that the Senate might reconvene AFTER Jesus' birthday, potentially moving DADT and DREAM Act votes to the week usually reserved for exchanging gifts, awkward reunions with high school chums and drinking away the pain of having to see one's family. A side-effect of the session would also force President Obama to end his vacation in Hawaii early. [WSJ]

@dcist_updates: Washington D.C.'s most Googled search in 2010: "jiffy lube live".

WHITE HOUSE COMPILING LIST OF POSSIBLE SUMMERS REPLACEMENTS - Reuters is reporting that the Obama administration is whittling away at its shortlist of possible successors to the ever-grouchy Lawrence Summers. It appears that the finalists are Yale President Richard Levin, i-banker Roger Altman and Geithner aide Gene Sperling. Both Levin and Altman have already met with President Obama, according to a White House official. While all three are smart, capable men, none really meet the curmudgeon-quota established by Larry, who actually elicited groans from the audience at his farewell speech yesterday when he quipped, "If I lived in Washington, I might still be a Phillies fan, too" in response to criticism that his sports allegiances change with his environs. If you see Andy Rooney, the ghost of Walter Matthau or Oscar the Grouch entering or exiting the West Wing, you'll know the shortlist didn't pass cranky muster. [Reuters]

PETER WELCH'S DEFLATING CASE STUDY OF WASHINGTON POLITICS - Declaring that the "die is cast," on the tax cut compromise, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch -- who just last week circulated a letter signed by 54 Democrats opposing the deal -- now accepts its passage as inevitable. "It is academic, OK. The bottom line is that it is a fast moving train and that has become clear and Washington is doing what it is finding easy to do," he said in and interview with The Hill. "Once the president entered into that agreement with the Senate Republicans even while talks with the House were supposedly under way, that set the tone for the weekend and now you got Americans excited about a trillion dollars that is going to be in effect given away." For what it's worth, Welch still bested Mary Landrieu whose principled stand against the bill only lasted the weekend after she briefly tag-teamed with Bernie Sanders during his 9-hour filibuster. [The Hill]

WHITE HOUSE DOWNPLAYS HOLBROOKE'S LAST WORDS - "At one point, the medical team said, 'You've got to relax,'" State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said today. "And Richard said, 'I can't relax, I'm worrying about Afghanistan and Pakistan.' After some additional exchanges ... finally [Holbrooke's surgeon] said, 'Tell you what, we'll try to fix this challenge while you're in surgery.' And [Holbrooke] said, 'Yeah, see if you can take care of that,' including ending the war." Also, Sidney Carton's statement that "it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known" was actually a reference to the Lunesta he just popped. [ Amanda Terkel]

ROGER SIMON HATES PEOPLE WHO HATE RICH PEOPLE - Financial success is kind of like going for seconds at the buffet, according to iiiPOLITICO!!! columnist Roger Simon: you can just "get some wealth for yourself." In his latest essay, Simon wages warfare on class warfare by waging class warfare. "Yes, the gap between rich and poor is growing in this country, and too small a percentage of the population owns too much of the wealth. Don't like the way wealth is distributed? Then you can join congressional Democrats and grump about it, or you can get some wealth for yourself." So listen up, single mother of two who has to work the night shift at the hospital to pay for her epilepsy medication (because her crappy insurance has about as much reach as Muggsy Bogues) and her oldest's parochial school fees (because the local public school blows) and will be lucky enough to incrementally advance her children's fortunes by eking out scholarships for them at a satellite campus of a middling state school: GET SOME!!!!!! [HuffPost]

Jonathan Cohn: "A new state survey conducted by the Urban Institute confirms what national surveys have already shown: Nearly everybody in Massachusetts now has health insurance. And the reason is the universal health plan that the state enacted in 2006 and implemented at the end of that year. That plan includes an individual mandate, under which residents who don't get insurance pay a fine except in very limited circumstances." [New Republic]


Yesterday we reported that David Paterson's more or less surmised that life is hopeless and that his state is destined to waste away in a never-ending cycle of legislative gridlock and fiscal impropriety. Today the outgoing New York governor struck a somewhat more conciliatory tone, praising his predecessor Eliot Spitzer for his leadership skills and ability to keep his thing for ladies of the night to himself. "I thought, and still do think, he was a remarkable talent who normally would probably be in another profession making a whole lot of money or being incredibly successful who at a certain point had chosen government," Paterson told Don Imus this morning. Asked by Nappy McHeadedHoes about the Client 9 scandal, Paterson -- who has known Spitzer since 1995 -- replied that he had no idea, adding: "If anything, I found him to be very professional, particularly when he worked with other women." Well how about that! [Daily News]

Jimmy Carter looks back: "I guess my biggest failure was not getting re-elected. And I learned two things; one is that you ought not to ever let American hostages be held for 444 days in a foreign country without extracting them. I did the best I could, but I failed." [HuffPost]

REHABILITATED: Disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff has finished his stint working at a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore and is now on probation. Abramoff was released from federal prison on June 8 but was on home confinement until his sentence for fraud, corruption and conspiracy ended this month. A halfway house hooked him up with the job at Tov Pizza, a modest kosher pizzeria is in a heavily Jewish section of northwest Baltimore." [AP]

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: From cold today, we proceed to really cold tonight. 23 looks to be our maximum. Bundle up. Tomorrow Cold and windy. Sound familiar? Thanks, JB!


- A web game that mixes Angry Birds with Monty Python. Sprinkle in some bacon and you've got yourself a recipe for the greatest thing ever []

- On that note, someone imagined Angry Birds if it were released in 1992 []

- Merry Christmas from Jabba the Hutt! []

- Nothing really tops "Goats in Trees" but the rest of the 10 best wall calendars are still pretty awesome and/or weird. []

- The year in film 2010 condensed into a six minute YouTube. []

- Next time you slap someone have the decency to bring a super-slow motion camera. []

- Two NASA scientists narrate a series of slow motion videos of shuttle launches. []

- A troupe of mummies with bells attached to their whoop-dee-doos performing "Carol of the Bells." Yep. []


@Benjy_Sarlin: Where's a decent auto-tuned Crying Boehner and Crying Boehner GIF already? Do I have to start invoking Internet Rules? HURRY UP EVERYONE

@Ktumulty: Looking for a really creepy Christmas present? Order soon. There's only one left.

@ThePlumLineGS If Lincoln doesn't go to dentist on day of DADT repeal vote, only 2 GOPers needed, right?


TONIGHT: Tom Udall speaks to Rachel Maddow. Sherrod Brown, Jeff Bingaman, Alan Grayson and Steve King appear on The Ed Show. Our very own Arianna Huffington is on Last Word tonight along with Ron Wyden.



4:30 pm - 7:00 pm: The National Farm Bureau hosts its "Taste of the States" holiday party. So if you're the type of person who likes to lick Delaware, this is your jam [Holiday Inn Capitol Hill, 550 C Street NW].

5:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Revolution Messaging hosts benefit for the D.C. Central Kitchen and Jail Guitar Doors at its "Revolt for a Cause" featuring Wayne Kramer [18th Street Lounge, 1212 18th Street NW].

6:00 pm: The Embassy of Italy hosts a panel that they're calling "What's Next In American Politics." Good question. Bill Schneider, Helene Cooper, Stephen Hayes and Richard Wolffe get their panel on [Embassy of Italy, 3000 Whitehaven Street NW].

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: The Telecommunication Industry Association's Holiday Reception features fiber optic fun (sorry) [Occidental Grill, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW].


5:30 pm - 8:30 pm: NEI has its holiday party at Charlie Palmer Steak.
Break some bread. Split some atoms. Have a great time [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW].

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Dow Lohnes Government Strategies celebrates all the work it does helping the little guy [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE].

6:00 pm - 10:00 pm: If the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association can't have a raging holiday party, no one can [The Source, 575 Pennsylvania Ave NW].


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Third Way's holiday party will feature good, moderate fun. Not too much one way or the other. Just a pleasant time [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: iConstituent, which provide communications services for Congress, provides a different kind of service with its open bar holiday soiree [L2
Lounge, 3315 Cadey's Alley NW].

6:30 pm - 9:30 pm: The Center for American Progress holds its annual holiday fete at the 9:30 Club. Word is no one dances until John Podesta dances. Words to live by [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

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