HUFFINGTON POST
03/15/2011 06:37 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - House GOP Targeting Click And Clack


The ferocity with which House Republicans are pushing for a ban on NPR funding has us worried that Peter King will soon hold hearings on radicalization in Lake Wobegon. One New Hampshire lawmaker wants to send defective Americans to Siberia, rerouting them from the United States Congress, their typical destination. And the House passed another stopgap spending measure, which should fund the government just long enough to prepare for a government shutdown. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 15th, 2011:

HOUSE GOP TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING ON NPR FUNDING - Benjy Sarlin is reporting that the Rules Committee will hold an emergency session tomorrow to consider legislation stripping National Public Radio of its government funding. HR 1076, which would technically bar the government from providing the public radio service or its affiliate stations with cash. Yeah, American troops are deployed across the globe, the job market isn't recovering fast enough from the recession, Japan is choking on radiation, the Middle East is on the brink of widespread civil conflict and there's a chance that America's economy might tank if Congress can't find a way to pass a budget. But you know what? Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! continues to quiz its C-list celebrity contestants about which country this week outlawed smoking in public places AND THAT CANNOT STAND. [TPM]

HOUSE PASSES THREE-WEEK BUDGET CR - The House today passed ANOTHER continuing resolution to fund the government, this one for three weeks, 271-158. Fifty-four Republicans opposed the bill, meaning Democratic support was needed to pass the measure. The bill contains $6 billion in cuts ceded by the White House and congressional Democrats. [HuffPost's Elise Foley]

Freshman Republican Michael Grimm says the response to his criticism of conservative opposition to a stopgap spending bill has been overwhelmingly positive. "Almost across the board it was: thank you, I feel the same way," Grimm told Roll Call's Jessica Brady for an article being published tonight.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER

FHA COMISH DAVID STEVENS TO OFFICIALLY WORK WITH MORTGAGE BANKERS - Wow. WaPo's Dina Elboghdady: "Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David H. Stevens will head the Mortgage Bankers Association after he leaves his current post, sources familiar with the matter said. Stevens, a former mortgage banker, announced last week that he planned to leave FHA by late April to return to the private sector. At the time, he said he had not accepted any job offers. Stevens has since signed on as president and chief executive of the mortgage banking group, a position currently held by John Courson...He joins the MBA at a critical time for the association's members, who have come under attack for their foreclosure-related practices and for bungling the handling of loan modifications." We wonder how that FHA peek into servicer fraud will turn out? Ed Walker makes a good point: If true, he should be fired for accepting the job while still heading FHA, not that he'd mind. [FDL]

Andrew Golis is leaving the Yahoo! blog thing he started -- yes, that still exists -- to be Director of Digital Media/Senior Editor for Frontline. Golis is following media reporter Michael Calderone, who's now at HuffPost, out the door.

The Treasury Department today issued fresh sanctions on a Libyan official and a number of government-controlled enterprises. The sanctions will prohibit U.S. business from conducting with Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa and a number of companies in the country's oil, aviation and financial services sectors. [AP]

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OBAMA LOOKING TO CIRCUMVENT CONGRESS ON GUN CONTROL - Sam Stein: "Faced with a Congress hostile to even slight restrictions of Second Amendment rights, the Obama administration is exploring potential changes to gun laws that can be secured strictly through executive action, administration officials say. The Department of Justice held the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings on Tuesday afternoon with a group of stakeholders in the ongoing gun-policy debates. Before the meeting, officials said part of the discussion was expected to center around the White House's options for shaping policy on its own or through its adjoining agencies and departments -- on issues ranging from beefing up background checks to encouraging better data-sharing. Administration officials said talk of executive orders or agency action are among a host of options that President Barack Obama and his advisers are considering." [HuffPost]

LEADING DEMS GATHER FOR GABRIELLE GIFFORDS FUNDRAISER - A coterie of marquee Democrats are assembling right now at a campaign fundraiser benefiting the Arizona congresswoman's reelection. Jim Clyburn, John Larson, Joseph Crowley, Mike Ross, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel and Xavier Becerra are scheduled to attend the function at the offices of The International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In February, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sent an invitation to supporters. "As we all know, Gabby suffered serious injuries in the January 8th shooting in Tucson, AZ," their letter reads. "We are so proud of her as she continues to make incredible strides in her recovery. We look forward to seeing her again soon and to the day that she will rejoin us in the halls of Congress...With that in mind we have joined together to support Gabby, and we hope that we can count on you to join us!" [Sunlight Foundation]

The question mark headline we've always wanted to write

COMMUNITY BANKS STILL DRINKING THE WALL STREET KOOL-AID ON SWIPE FEES Zach Carter: "Last year's financial reform legislation cracks down on the swipe fees that banks charge retailers to process debit cards. The bill is expected to save consumers billions, most of it at Wall Street's expense -- 10 banks score $8 billion a year from swipe fees. Community banks are explicitly excluded from the new rules. To reiterate: the bill has no effect on community banks, only their larger competitors. But at a meeting of the American Bankers Association at the Renaissance Hotel today, top ABA lobbyists coached a packed ballroom of willing community bankers on how to help overturn last year's law. A sucker every minute, and so forth. Community bankers have preserved some dignity, however, by opting out of attacks on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is set to hit their Wall Street competitors and scuzzy payday lenders, while generally leaving small banks alone."

Yes, Wall Street is jacking up gas prices Well, probably. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton gave a speech today noting that the number of speculative bets on energy is up 64 percent from June 2008 levels-- the last time oil prices went totally nuts. Also, this is starving people.

From Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's pen-and-pad today - Hoyer: The [#]winners-- Reporter: You just quoted Charlie Sheen...by accident or on purpose? Hoyer: Certainly not on purpose. Let me retract that. Heaven forbid that I quote Charlie Sheen.

HOUSE ENERGY PANEL DOUBLES DOWNS ON GLOBAL WARMING SKEPTICISM - The Energy and Commerce committee today approved a bill stripping the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gasses. It also voted down amendments to that would have officially acknowledged the existence of global warming, the human activity that produces it and that the phenomenon has a negative effect on the environment. Ranking member Henry Waxman offered an amendment to the original bill, which strips the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gasses, that would have accepted the veracity of the EPA's global warming findings. Diana DeGette introduced an amendment stating that humans are partially responsible for the warming. Republicans voted both down unanimously. "My good friend from California tries to make it clear that the science is settled. I would say it's not settled," Joe Barton said of Waxman's amendment. We hear Barton then left to attend his annual "Aerosol Spray-Off and Disposable Water Bottle Chug-Off" fundraiser. [The Hill]

@repblumenauer: Outrageous -PJ Crowley leaving State Department for saying the truth about treatment of Bradley Manning. Obama needs to fix this.

DEAN HELLER ANNOUNCES SENATE CANDIDACY - The Republican Nevada congressman became the first major contender to enter the race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by John Ensign. In an e-mail to supporters, Heller, who entered the House after the 2006 midterms, touted his voting history as a fiscal hawk, specifically citing his opposition to TARP. "We cannot ignore our nation's very serious fiscal problems and continue to allow Obama's big government job killing agenda to continue," he wrote. HuffPost Hill thinks Heller should put his money where his mouth is and base his Vegas headquarters somewhere on the city's outskirts in a foreclosed McMansion.....We very fond of theatrics. [WaPo]

Former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner today took another step towards launching a 2012 challenge to Bill Nelson. The erstwhile state lawmaker announced the formation of an exploratory committee, all but guaranteeing that he will enter the race. Senate President Mike Haridopolos has already launched his campaign and former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is expected to enter the contest. We're hoping our proposal to replace the scrapped high-speed rail project with a massive extension of the Disney World Monorail or a statewide network of airboats will become a centerpiece of Hasner's campaign. [St. Petersburg Times]

If given the chance, Ohio voters would take a mulligan on Governor John Kasich. A Public Policy Polling survey out today has Ted Strickland defeating Kasich in a hypothetical rematch 55 percent to 40 percent. Much of this discontent arises from Kasich's support for S.B. 5, which weakens the state's collective bargaining framework. Sixty-three percent of voters say they support collective bargaining, according to the poll. [PPP]

CANDIDATES EMERGING IN SEARCH FOR NEW FBI DIRECTOR - With Director Robert Mueller's 10-year term ending in September, the White House's search for a new top dog at the FBI -- led by Joe Biden -- is picking up. We're pretty disappointed that our choice, Maru the Cat, isn't getting any attention from vetters (his ability to investigate things, namely boxes, is unmatched). Jerry Markon: "In a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the FBI Agents Association recommended Michael A. Mason, a longtime FBI agent and supervisor who is now security chief for Verizon Communications. Mason, a former assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office, would be the FBI's first African American director. Law enforcement sources said other possible candidates include Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago who investigated the leak of the identity of former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson; New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and John S. Pistole, administrator for the Transportation Security Administration and Mueller's former deputy. All three declined to comment Monday, as did Mason." [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Stubborn Rabbit is stubborn.

At least in Siberia you don't have to deal with state-controlled liquor sales: "New Hampshire's Martin Harty, a freshman state legislator who turns 92 this month, has resigned from office after saying he wished 'defective people' could be exiled and left to die in Siberia." [Daily Caller]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Wedged in between an occluded front to the west, and a stalled front to the south, the major interest to the region is rain. More specifically, a northbound rain mass headed for the area. No real worry of heavy rain or winds, but just some moisture can put outdoor activities on hold. Tomorrow: There's a small chance for some wind shear (meaning light gusts) if the stalled front moves, but otherwise, the issue is morning rain. After that, it should clear up and warm up to the mid- to upper- 60s. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Most Western video footage of North Korea is taken from officially sanctioned tours. This guy didn't tell the authorities that his camera also takes video. [http://gizmo.do/gvjMBx]

- Recreations of famous movie scenes featuring LEGO figurines [http://bit.ly/hdv3tY]

- A back-in-the-day advertisement for the Sega Genesis Activator, a motion-sensor game controller, is both prescient and completely ridiculous. [http://bit.ly/hX5ieK]

- A Wisconsin movie theater owner having some fun with his marquee at Scott Walker's expense. [http://bit.ly/gEPUxZ]

- We fly regularly enough that we're used to having to stow our tray tables in the upright and locked position. We're not used to a penguin walking down the aisle. [http://bit.ly/feymN8]

- In thirty years when this third grader is trying to make his way in the charred abyss that is the post-Mayan calendar wasteland we'll call Earth, he'll look back on this half-court buzzer-beater and realize he never had it so good. [http://bit.ly/e6ZDD0]

- Drunk people interrupting news broadcasts are as American as apple pie and drunk people interrupting sporting events. [http://bit.ly/gpzCxr]

- A brief and fascinating article about the emergence of consciousness in animals. [http://bit.ly/haM2vX]

TWITTERAMA

@whitneysnyder: The AP has NASA-cocaine stories down to a science yfrog.com/gy260uqbj

@atrios: the people who told me saddam hussein could kill us all with a twitch of his eyebrows are now telling me to not worry about japan

@carr2n: Fake #SXSW tweet: This convergence panel is off the chain. Real:#SXSW tweet: At hotel, eating Kit Kats, dreading going to panel.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm: The last John Dingell fundraiser we wrote about had the Dean shooting pheasants out of the sky. This time, it's just drinks and small bites. [Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, 525 New Jersey Ave NW].

6:00 pm: Brian Higgins invites you and that $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket to his third annual "Taste of Buffalo." We hear the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Layfayette square tastes delicious. [The Williams & Jensen Townhouse, 324 Independence Ave SE].

TOMORROW

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Richard Lugar kicks off his campaign activity in D.C. with a star-studded fundraiser featuring appearances fromJohn Barrasso, John Cornyn, John Thune, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell and Cher. Just kidding, no Cher. [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].

6:00 pm: Rather than raise campaign cash by filming himself shooting things, Joe Manchin opts for a dinner reception, instead [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusettes Ave NE].

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