No one seems to agree with us that Bill Daley resembles Pat Leahy after an injection of the Steve Urkel/Stefan Urquelle "Cool Juice." Oh well. In other news, "Do the Chuck Schumer!" is no longer just something we yell on the dance floor. The House demonstrated that sanitizing Mark Twain isn't the only way to rewrite America's messed up treatment of black people. And
Representatives Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick demonstrated that the key to success is to fake it until you make it...or until you completely derail your party's agenda. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 6th, 2011:
WTF, dontcha know: @SarahPalinUSA RT @Herminator: Fan Fiction: A Day In The Life Of Your Standard Manic Pixie Dream Girl http://bit.ly/e4lx4k
SERIOUSLY, TWO REPUBLICANS ACCIDENTALLY NOT SWORN IN, TOO BUSY ATTENDING FUNDRAISER - Whoops! Pete Sessions and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick missed their swearing in yesterday because they were at a previously scheduled fundraiser, making it quite a lucrative amateur hour. Still, they later went about their congressional business today, voting and attending committee meetings. And we don't mean a John-Roberts-word-fumbling not swearing in, we mean a full-fledged non-codification of their membership in the 112th Congress. Though they participated in the swearing in from the Capitol Visitors Center via video uplink, there is no provision in the Constitution for a remote swearing-in. David Dreier, chairman of the Rules Committee, had to adjourn a meeting of the panel after he learned of Sessions' oopsie. Adding to the glorious awkwardness that is this story, Fitzpatrick was one of the members who read the Constitution from the dais today. [HuffPost]
FLUB JEOPARDIZES HCR REPEAL - The parliamentarians are still sorting this one out, but if Republicans need unanimous consent to fix the fact that non-members of Congress voted on the House floor, that means one ornery Democrat could make them redo their entire rules package, etc, and significantly delay the health care reform vote. So will Democrats grant these illegal -- or, if you prefer, undocumented -- members of Congress amnesty?
Harry Reid today on the GOP repeal effort: "They should get a new -- new lease on life and talk about something else."
The Bucks County Courier Times was at the fundraiser with Fitzpatrick when he missed the swearing-in, and their report includes this accidentally delicious paragraph: "Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the congressman's wife of 21 years, said the difference between her husband's first swearing in six years ago and his second one Wednesday was 'huge.'" [BUCKS COUNTY COURIER TIMES]
Oh, and, of course, it's TOTALLY ILLEGAL to hold a fundraiser in the Capitol, even for not-yet-sworn-in nonmembers of Congress. Here's the fundraising invite to "Mike Fitzpatrick's Swearing In Celebration"
Fitzpatrick could try to claim that the campaign contribution gets you on the bus and the event is free. We're not elections attorneys, but that sounds like what Boehner might call chickendirt. This is included on the invite: "Federal Law requires us to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 in an election cycle." So he collected campaign contributions. For an event at the Capitol.
OBAMA TAPS DALEY AS NEXT CHIEF OF STAFF - The White House announced today that former Clinton commerce secretary, JP Morgan executive and real favorite among Daily Kos commenters Bill Daley will be President Obama's next chief-of-staff. Daley will replace interim Chief-of-Staff Pete Rouse, who will become a senior counselor to the president. Said President Obama in his East Room announcement: "Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill Daley brings to this job." [HuffPost]
Our Senior Political Editor Howard Fineman has some background on Daley
Jesse Jackson talks to HuffPost's Peter Goodman about Daley: "He's the Wall Street link...And Wall Street's the street that wrecked the other streets, and yet it keeps on getting reinforcements."
Really cementing Daley's status as a liberal lion, Chamber of Commerce top dog Tom Donahue echoes the Business Roundtable in releasing this pleased-as-punch statement: "Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations, and global affairs. He's an accomplished manager and strong leader. We look forward to working with him to accelerate our recovery, grow the economy, create jobs, and tackle America's global challenges."
Ben Smith reminds us that this might just be the teachable moment to end all teachable moments
Amanda Terkel caught up with Tom Harkin and asked the Iowa senator about Daley: "He can make the trains run on time. I don't even know what his philosophy is in terms of liberal, conservative, or whatever it is. ... He does know how to get things done."
EVERYONE KEEPS SAYING DALEY CAN 'GET THINGS DONE' - We can "get things done," too! As a public service, here's a random sampling of some "things" that we have successfully "done" recently: Read a book. Got out of bed. Made a sandwich. Took a nap. Bought jeans at the Gap. Ate cheese. Scratched left arm. Watched Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch. Small-talked about the weather. Petted a dog. Came to realization that "getting things done" is not synonymous with "realizing party's agenda." Got a haircut. Scratched right arm. Changed a diaper. Entered several stages of rapid eye movement sleep. Called mother. Briefly considered taking guitar lessons. Wore sweater. Peeled orange. Made bed. Assembled self-righteous object lesson demonstrating that "getting things done" is not synonymous with "realizing party's agenda." Felt pretty good about self. Ate more cheese.
GENE SPERLING BACKED PRIVATE RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS DURING SOCIAL SECURITY FIGHT - Back in January 2005, when Democrats were united to fend off Bush's Social Security privatization plan, Gene Sperling jumped out to give the idea of private accounts his progressive blessing. "The president and progressives could both protect Social Security's guaranteed benefit and promote ownership with a new Universal 401(k) that offers all Americans a private retirement account on top of Social Security, and uses government funds to match contributions made by middle income and lower-income workers." And Sperling's the progressive guy. [READ IT AND WEEP]
Brian Williams' interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner (weird!) runs tonight. This happened:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Name a program right now that we could do without.
JOHN BOEHNER: I don't think I have one off the top of my head.
Then this happened:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: When you go home next, is there a sidewalk, a place, a person that's kind of a talisman to grab onto? Again, talkin' about strength and the new job?
JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I get strength every day just uh, going to my Facebook site.
K STREET KA-CHING: REID WANTS TAX REFORM - Cue the K-Street -is-gearing-up stories. Harry Reid was asked today if tax reform is on the agenda: "Yes, I do believe that the country is ripe for tax reform. Chairman Baucus has this as one of his first priorities. And he's going to hold hearings on that starting very, very soon. So in answer to your question, yes a hundred times. This is -- our tax system is broken and needs to be fixed."
Reid, after taking the first several questions from reporters to his left: "I'm tired of the left. Let's go to the right."
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Identity Theft Resource Center says Ty Powell is a victim of identity theft. Freddie Mac says he's a deadbeat who hasn't paid his mortgage since January 2009. The local paper says he's just plain dead. Powell says: "I don't know what to say." He's afraid to leave his Casa Grande, Ariz. house because Freddie Mac, which has already foreclosed, will send someone to break in and change the locks. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick told Freddie Mac in an October letter that the "home mortgage loan was secured without his consent along with various credit cards, and student loans." Freddie Mac just doesn't buy it: "We believe the foreclosure was legitimate because the loan secured by the property was in default," a spokesman told HuffPost on Thursday. Adding to the confusion: The Casa Grande Dispatch reported this summer that Powell "died on July 12, 2010, at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center of heart problems." The managing editor told HuffPost there was nothing to corroborate the one-sentence death notice and that there's no record of the email sent to the paper alleging Powell's passing. Chase, servicer of the allegedly phony mortgage, declined to comment because of "ongoing litigation" it refused to describe. Powell said he didn't know anything about that. "I don't even know what to say," he said. "I've exhausted all of my resources to try to remedy this."
Diane Sawyer landed an interview with Donald Rumsfeld, set to air on "World News" February 7th. Rumsfeld, if you recall, is most famous for his controversial stint on the FCC's High Definition Television Advisory Committee.
Elise Foley checks in: "A funny moment waiting outside for Sen. Bob Menendez today at a press conference for the Equal Rights Amendment. Menendez was running late, it was cold, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney was clearly irked: 'I started once without a senator, and I paid for it. There's too many monuments around here, and a lot of senators think they're one of them.' Then she backtracked: 'But not our senator!'"
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THE HOUSE READ THE CONSTITUTION OUT LOUD TODAY WHILE TWO REPUBLICANS STRAIGHT UP VIOLATED IT - House Republicans had this great idea to read the Constitution to C-SPAN viewers because people intrigued by the minute-to-minute happenings of our nation's government typically aren't familiar with its founding document. Just...genius stuff. Seeing as how your HuffPost Hill writers were all raised on communal socialist fruit farms and spent the entirety of our high school years reading Latin translations of Iskra and crafting likenesses of Emma Goldman out of tempeh, we figured we'd check it out. Plus the novelization probably won't happen for another few years. With the major drama exhausted after the GOP decided to scrub the 3/5ths compromise from the reading, there wasn't much to report from the reading itself. A birther interrupted the proceedings during the "natural born citizen" part of the presidential eligibility section, yelling, "Except Obama, except Obama!! Help us Jesus!!" Then there was the touching moment when civil rights hero John Lewis read the 13th Amendment (buy this if you haven't already). The whole chamber stood and applauded Lewis after he finished. Even though Taco Bell patrons probably do the same when he finishes ordering a Gordita Supreme, it was moving nonetheless.
CBO: HEALTH CARE REFORM WOULD SWELL DEFICIT BY $230 BILLION - The Congressional Budget Office today sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (weird!) informing him of their findings. "As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012-2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion," it read. "Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes." Deficit hawk or not, can you really put a price tag on preserving freedom and liberating our people from the clutches of socialism? Amanda Terkel: [HuffPost]
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel doth protest and doth gives us a preview of Republican talking points in the weeks ahead: "As Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has noted, the CBO score excludes the $115 billion needed to implement the law. It double-counts $521 billion in Social Security payroll taxes, CLASS Act premiums, and Medicare cuts. It strips a costly doc-fix provision that was included in initial score. It measures 10 years of revenues to offset 6 years of new spending. Even the Administration's own actuaries have said it won't reduce the deficit."
BOEHNER: DEBT CEILING CAN BE RAISED BUT... - Speaker of the House John Boehner (weird!) totally went rogue today and deviated from his party's platform that America should regress into the 18th century rather than increasing the nation's debt limit. While it would be cool to live in a country where seven of the eight richest citizens are yeoman farmers, Boehner seems to think otherwise. He did qualify his position -- made after the Obama administration notified lawmakers that the government will reach the current limit of $14.3 trillion this year -- that he would support the increase so long as it is accompanied by "meaningful action by the President and Congress to cut spending and end the job-killing spending binge in Washington."
REID TO BOEHNER: ACT LIKE AN ADULT "I would agree with the new speaker, and this is his quote," said Reid, reviving Boehner's insistence his party man up. "'We're going to have to deal with it as adults' -- talking about the debt limit -- 'Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.' That's a direct quote from Boehner."
HOUSE VOTES TO CUT OPERATING BUDGET - The House overwhelmingly voted today to cut its own budget by five percent. The cuts are expected to produce $35 million in savings but that won't greatly offset total congressional expenditures which have risen by 14 percent since 2008. At the very least, senior staff will now have an excuse not to throw farewell parties for the interns whose names they never learned in the first place. [AP]
The lower chamber then started to do what it will do best over the next two years: debating measures that have no hope of being enacted into law. Vote on health care repeal next Wednesday.
EVERYONE, QUICK: START ACTING LIKE CHUCK SCHUMER - No we don't mean that you should start bristling at requests to adhere to FAA regulations or acting tremendously out of place at gay pride events. Harry Reid and his de facto second-in-command Chuck Schumer are urging their caucus colleagues to mimic the senior New York senator's media strategy, Manu Raju reported today. At the heart of this new approach is a focus on "hot-button" issues that are particularly irksome to voters. Schumer, the political what's-the-deal-with-airline-food equivalent of Jerry Seinfeld, has made a career out of railing against society's most reviled peccadilloes, most recently setting his sights on caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Four Loko. Expect the world's greatest deliberative body to devolve into a legislative Angie's List where Debbie Stabenow complains about parents who let their kids run on the beach and Jeff Merkley stands aghast at the wait times for Verizon technical support. [Politico]
BEN NELSON GETS A CHALLENGER - Republican Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who had formed an exploratory committee roughly 4.3 seconds after the polls closed on November 2nd, today announced that he will seek to unseat Senator Ben Nelson. "I filed paperwork with FEC today making my candidacy for U.S. Senate official. We're in! Formal announcement will follow in a few weeks," Bruning tweeted this morning. This is as good a time as any to remind you just how off the flippin' reservation Ben Nelson will go this Congress now that he actually is in a reelection cycle. [The Hill]
Helen Thomas, who was last seen suggesting Israelis get in touch with their diasporic roots, has landed a job in NoVa. The veteran journalist will begin reporting for the Falls Church News-Press. Those of you hoping to read Helen's thoughts on the newest Cheesecake Factory in Ballston will be disappointed: she will be publishing a weekly political column. [ARL Now]
Why can't a bunch of guys in trench coats and fedoras take an axe to a barrel of the stuff like they did in prohibition? "Truckloads of Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol and other products after federal authorities told manufacturers the beverages were dangerous and caused users to become 'wide-awake drunk.'" Won't the cars be "wide-awake drunk" now? [HuffPost]
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Clear and cold, but a good chance of snow showers late evening into the overnight hours. Tomorrow: Snow will taper off by mid-morning, and accumulation should be negligible. It will be a bit worse than if you were in, say New York, which is expected to get a half-foot during the day tomorrow. Are you ready this time, NYC Department of Sanitation? Thanks, JB!
- Taco-me Elmo [http://bit.ly/g9KYbi]
- This guy's website is designed like the old DOS operating system. [http://bit.ly/9GM1XG]
- Because you haven't seen enough anatomical drawings of Japanese mythical animals today. [http://bit.ly/Ctu3s]
- Never again will your stints atop an isolated mountain go burrito-less [http://thrl.st/hyIsuQ]
- A muscular robot that dispenses ketchup doesn't always succeed in its mission [http://bit.ly/bOfJN]
- This cat has a drinking problem. Not the AA kind...the Airplane! kind. [http://bit.ly/gq7e1q]
- Polar bear says 'hello' to some Norwegians. Norwegians say 'Hello! Please enjoy these open face sandwiches,' back. [http://bit.ly/fhjX7w]
@pourmecoffee: Good news for Michele Bachmann. She has been cleared to read from her own Pop-Up Constitution.
@brianbeutler: One of the lesser known sections contains warning "Bin Laden determined to strike U.S." No biggie. #constitution
@matthewstoller: Can't the Federal Reserve just print more birds? #aflockalypse
6:00 pm: UN Dispatch holds a gathering for transnational wonks at JoJo's. Technically it's a "Blogger/Conflict Blogger/Foreign Policy Blogger Happy Hour" but we're sure friends of "Aid Bloggers/Conflict Bloggers/Foreign Policy Bloggers" are welcome, too [JoJo's, 1518 U Street NW].
R.I.P. Four Loko
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