POLITICS
04/08/2011 06:18 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Budget Battle Possibly Winding Down

When someone thinks about toilets as much as Rand Paul does, it's usually because that person just wolfed down a Chipotle burrito. Sasha and Malia's trip to Colonial Williamsburg was canceled because a bunch of pasty old white guys somewhere are uneasy about providing women basic health services. Michele Bachmann starting talking sense, kind of. And at midnight the government might shut down and Rebecca Black's favorite day of the week will be over. Will America survive? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 8th, 2011:

WE HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY, PLANNED PARENTHOOD! Planned Parenthood, a provider of affordable health care and family planning services, is simply bound and determined to hasten the downfall of civilization, and nobody seems to be able to stop them. Planned Parenthood will remain open. The GOP spent the day furiously denying that the dispute is over free condoms, subsidized Paps and cancer screenings, but refused to back off their demand that Planned Parenthood be defunded in order for them to agree to keep the government open. The White House accepted $78 billion in cuts from its request -- about $39 billion from the current level -- which Senate Democrats say Republicans have agreed to. But Republicans say that's not true, for one simple reason. "They don't wanna have it reduced to women's health as the sole remaining issue," as Kent Conrad put it today. "That's not a very good place for them to be after saying the whole thing is about money."

Harry Reid has a presser scheduled for 8, which had been scheduled for 6. We don't know what's gonna happen, but a Dem aide tells us we should know soon.

JIM JORDAN: AMERICAN PEOPLE SENT GOP TO WASHINGTON TO DUFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD - Elise Foley: "Republicans won the House in November partially based on a mandate to defund Planned Parenthood, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, claimed on Friday. 'We don't want to shut down the government, we want to do what the American people sent us to do: achieve real savings for the taxpayers, and not have our tax dollars go toward abortions,' Jordan said on a conference call with reporters."

SHARK JUMPED: BACHMANN CALLS FOR COOLER HEADS TO PREVAIL - Michele Bachmann authored a piece on the conservative site RedState.com today, arguing that Republicans "have brought about a change from the spending binge of the last two years. But it's time to face the facts. This is the 'small ball' battle that House leadership has chosen to engage. The current battle has devolved to an agenda that is almost too limited to warrant the kind of fighting that we're now seeing in Washington," Bachmann wrote. "Democrats only want to cut $33 billion of spending, while some reports say Republicans might settle for $40 billion. Either way, it's not enough. We should be playing 'big ball.' We should be fighting over trillions, not billions. We should be defunding ObamaCare, but we're not."

A rogue's gallery of right-wingers is also calling for the mayhem to stop, including Ron Johnson, Tim Scott, Tom Coburn and Pat Toomey, Jon Ward reports.

SO HOW'D THEY GET ALL THEM BUDGET NUMBERS, ANYWAY? - Usually, when there's this much anticipation of midnight, it's New Year's Eve and you probably get to sloppily make out with someone when the clock strikes 12:00. Sadly, the only thing messy about today is the deluge of seemingly unconnected budget numbers being thrown about. We could run through them here, but let's not. Suffice it to say Republicans have so far won $58 billion in cuts from the Sessions-McCaskill level in December and $78 billion from Obama's request, a mere $22 billion short of their goal. [More Numbers]

NANCY PELOSI HEADING TO BOSTON - Even as congressional leaders continue to hammer out a budget agreement, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is skipping town this evening for several events in the city home to the 1-6 Red Sox. "The leader is proceeding with her official public schedule, which includes her attendance at the groundbreaking for the Senator Kennedy Institute in Boston and a long-scheduled event at Tufts University," Pelosi's spokesman Nadeam Elshami told Politico. Progressives who clamored for Pelsoi to stay in Congress to serve as minority leader must be breathing a sigh of relief right now. Can you imagine the sort of moderate bile that would be unleashed on the American people if it were ... blech ... Steny Hoyer skipping town in the middle of a major policy debate? Scary! [Politico]

NOOOO: OBAMAS CANCEL TRIP TO COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG - As if this crisis couldn't get any worse, Sasha and Malia are being denied the chance to witness a bunch of acting school dropouts in tricorne hats ramble on about breeding mules. "The President will remain in Washington, DC this weekend as he continues to work with Congressional leaders to reach an agreement on the budget," Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "The First Family's trip to Williamsburg has been postponed." [NYT]

IT GETS WORSE: HuffPost Hill has White House pool duty tomorrow.

At a press conference this morning, Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey had a hard time linking the Planned Parenthood rider to job creation. Pressed by a reporter to link his statement that the current legislative paralysis "is all about jobs" to Pap tests, Gingrey tied the seemingly unrelated issues together with all the confidence of an adolescent boy trying convince his parents that one more hour of Super Nintendo will really help him focus for his homework. "Well, it's about spending cuts, uh, certainly it's about spending cuts. As you look at the two short term -- the two billion and the four billion -- every time we take a cut, we're cutting things that we think are unnecessary spending on the part of the taxpayer," Gingrey said. "So from that perspective, the main issue is to cut that spending and then we will grow jobs." [TPM]

@rollcall: Capitol Hill bars offering reduced-price drinks in event of a shutdown. List here: http://roll.cl/ga0ZQ5

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Betty Bracy said the phone rang at her Northwest Washington, D.C. apartment around 3 p.m. on Friday. The voice on the line told her she shouldn't expect the hot meal she'd been eating every Saturday for the past several years.
"They said the reason why they wouldn't be able to do any delivering tomorrow was because the government was closing down," Bracy, 71, told The Huffington Post. "I don't know what that has to do with the food." More than 100 D.C. seniors received the same call, according to Lylie Fisher, director of community engagement at Iona Senior Services, a nonprofit that serves seniors in parts of the city. But then, the Shutdown Gods changed their minds. Bracy was glad to hear that the food delivery -- one hot meal and one cold meal, usually a sandwich -- was back on. "I kind of look forward to that because it's nutritional food," she said. "Sometimes it's sliced turkey and squash, mashed potatoes, chicken -- the meals are really decent."

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

LETTER CONTAINING WHITE POWDER DELIVERED TO ALLEN WEST'S DISTRICT OFFICE - "A letter containing white powder and a threat was opened at Congressman Allen West's campaign office in the city this afternoon, prompting a HazMat response and an FBI investigation, officials said...According to a statement from West's office, the envelope was picked up from a Deerfield Beach post office box and opened today in Boca Raton by a campaign worker, the only person in the office. The envelope was stuffed with white powder and a letter that made 'derogatory statements' toward West. 'The letter also mentioned the word anthrax,' the statement said." [Palm Beach Post]

TYRANNY IN THE TOILET: RAND PAUL DOUBLES DOWN ON POTTY REGULATIONS - A month ago the junior Kentucky senator and only human being on Earth who'll believe any information delivered in pamphlet-form made news by railing against government regulation of toilets. In doing so, Paul inadvertently disclosed his overly-fibrous diet by stating publicly that he has to flush his john an obscene number of times. "It interferes with and takes away our choices on what kind of showers we want, what kind of toilets we want. What kind of light bulbs we want," Paul said in a Fox Business appearance last night. "But most of the Department of Energy is an impediment to producing energy. Not one barrel of oil is produced by the Department of Energy. But the Department of Energy stops a lot of oil from being produced." Try having some Bran Flakes for breakfast, Rand. It'll help with the oil production. [The Hill]

WISCONSIN LABOR ACTIVISTS CALLING FOR VOTE INVESTIGATION - "Union officials in Wisconsin are calling for thousands of ballots to be immediately impounded and recounted following the revelation that a county clerk's computer error tipped the state Supreme Court election in conservative Justice David Prosser's favor. 'The mysterious, and arguably timely, discovery of ballots on a personal computer appears to be the latest example of Governor [Scott] Walker and his friends unfairly using the levers of government to silence Wisconsin voters,' Christine Lamitina, a spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union of Wisconsin, said in a Friday statement.
SEIU has organized a series of protest for later Friday afternoon and is prepared to support legal action, if necessary." [Roll Call]

George Allen is taking aim at his likely general election opponent Tim Kaine for his opposition to offshore oil exploration. "It'd be nice if we had a U.S. Senator from Virginia fighting for that on the Senate side as well," Allen said at a campaign event this week. "So, the Obama administration's been against it. Tim Kaine's position has hardly been an advocate of it." It should be noted that George Allen regularly asks offshore oil platforms what football position they play. [National Journal]

@ThinkProgress: Schumer says emails that can be obtained through FOIA prove impasse is about the Planned Parenthood rider, not anything else

MARCO RUBIO TO TRUMP: CUT THE BIRTHER CRAP - In an interview with the Daily Caller, Florida Senator Marco Rubio urged surprisingly competitive presidential contender Donald Trump to lay off all the talk about President Obama's birthplace. "I would suggest - if he asked for my opinion - not to focus so much on that issue," Rubio said. "There are more important things facing our country. I believe Barack Obama was born in the United States of America ...So why are we talking about this?" Rubio is considered by the most prognosticat-y prognosticators to be the likely Veep pick for the eventual Republican nominee. So shouldn't he be the one assuming the attack dog role and castng doubt about the president's birthplace?! C'MON, MARCO. [Daily Caller]

Joe Manchin is really stepping up his hostility to the president. In an interview with ABC News yesterday, the West Virginia senator once again criticized the president's leadership abilities. "Well basically, I'm not going to criticize," Manchin said in an interview with ABC, right before he began to criticize. "It's not what I'm used to and it's not what I've seen to be effective from my vantage point." Remember when Manchin's Senate seat was occupied by a guy who channeled his rural folksiness through a Rockwellian appreciation of decorum not in a "you best git" sort of way? [Charleston Gazette]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A dog on a bike. You're welcome.

MASSACHUSETTS DEMS WON'T LET ROMNEY FORGET ABOUT HEALTH CARE LAW - This is funny: "Massachusetts Democrats plan to mark Tuesday's fifth anniversary of the state's universal health care law with balloons, speeches, and a sheetcake.
For former Governor Mitt Romney. The tweak is aimed at embarrassing the expected Republican presidential contenders as he continues to criticize the Obama administration's federal universal health care law that is based on his Massachusetts law. Democrats in New Hampshire, the lead-off presidential primary state, also plan to hold a news conference in Concord to symbolically give Romney a birthday card. They're also serving cake." [Boston Globe]

Beating his motherfu*king swords into plowshares, Rahm Emanuel is helping Carol Moseley Braun retire her campaign debt.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Light patches of rain through the evening. Tomorrow: The rain goes away, but the clouds linger. Temperatures will be in the 40s, but may feel much colder. Sunday: We may have some sun emerging from the mostly-cloudy skies, but with the thermometer approaching or exceeding 70 degrees, the lack of sunshine will be even less important. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- This might not come as much of a surprise, but Goldman Sachs' cafeteria has some pretty decked-out desserts. [http://read.bi/gSXyPn]

- The hand-thrown fire extinguisher is like a hand grenade...OF SAFETY [http://bit.ly/hqYY6d]

- A recruitment ad for the Swedish army pokes fun at the U.S. army's dragon-fighting, space laser-firing commercials. [http://bit.ly/fvYZAO]

- Hipstamaticat features hipster-tinted photos of cats. Hipsters and cats. It's like the Internet didn't want to think too hard on this one. [http://bit.ly/eldcTD]

- Cornfields are interesting places to engage in a high-speed police chase. Here's why: [http://bzfd.it/i28mwf]

- Can't find the words to tell her how you feel? Why not try this handy William Carlos William poem generator!? [http://bit.ly/g7UQXM]

- Video games are slowly embracing gay characters. We didn't realize that they were embracing characters period. [http://bit.ly/eZ2zAM]

- Dad tries to make instill his love of the Red Sox in his infant child. Infant child doesn't take. Infant child knows rooting for the Yankees is the best plan of action. [http://bit.ly/fnWKfm]

- It's been about three seconds since someone made a time-lapse video of New York City. Here's the latest one. [http://bit.ly/i5Y4YS]

TWITTERAMA

@delrayser: Baby, the only thing that's "nonessential" about you is those pants. #govtshutdownpickuplines

@brianbeutler: Prosser?! She wouldn't even let me Kloppenburger!

@BenjySarlin: Attention politicians with mistresses to reveal -- today is definitely the day.

ON TAP

Tonight, 7:00 pm: For a $1,000 check made out to his Forging the Future committee, you can attend the Knicks/Nets game with Rep. Donald Payne. Think of it this way, $1,000 isn't that much when you realize it's the cost of three or so arena beers [Prudential Center, 165 Mulberry Street, Newark].

Tonight, 9:00 pm: Indie darlings The Black Lips take their brand of garage rock to the Black Cat. The Vivian Girls who we frankly thought were big enough (and AWESOME enough) to headline, open [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].

Tomorrow, 7:00 pm: In case a government shutdown isn't 90s-enough for you, Toad The Wet Sprocket is playing at 9:30 Club tomorrow [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].

Tomorrow, 9:00 pm: In case government shutdowns AND Toad The Wet Sprocket aren't 90s-enough for you, Tim Medows and Friends perform in Northern Virginia. Yeahhhhhhh, that's digusting. Sorry [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA].

All Weekend: If you were at all offended by Ben Quayle's Congressional Correspondents Dinner speech or by his behavior in general, you'll be pleased to know there won't be much talking at his weekend fundraiser get away. It's a golf outing [Phoenix, AZ].

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