Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Congress Gets Its Parliamentary Obstruction On

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Happy Fake Tax Day. Donald Trump might be the only Republican in history whose poll numbers improved after he antagonized the Daily News. House Democrats demonstrated that you don't have to wear obnoxious trucker hats and be married to Demi Moore to punk someone. And The Daily Caller inaugurated the Kurt Bardella era the right way: by leaking a private correspondence. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, April 15th, 2011:

Mike McAuliff is reporting that the president just signed the continuing budget resolution to fund the government through the end of the year. Citing executive authority, he nixed the czar-defunding provision. You know who would do something like that? A czar.

His signing statement: Section 2262 of the Act would prohibit the use of funds for several positions that involve providing advice directly to the President. The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority. The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives."

His signing statement also tells Congress to shove its Gitmo detainee-transfer restrictions.

HOUSE PASSES PAUL RYAN'S MEDICARE-GUTTING BUDGET - The lower chamber, majority party locked hands and jumped off a cliff Friday afternoon, passing the Budget Committee chairman's funding proposal 235 - 193. It's a symbolic vote as it has no real chance of making it to President Obama's desk, much less being signed. No Democrats voted for the bill and four Republicans opposed it: Reps. Ron Paul, Denny Rehberg, Walter Jones Jr. and David McKinley. The bill calls for $6.2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years from the president's budget proposal. It also would reconfigure Medicare from a program that pays for medical bills to one that subsidizes private insurance accounts. Really pleased with himself after the vote, Ryan delivered an Oscars-style acceptance speech, thanking everyone on his staff from the interns on up for their hard work on the venture, including some guy named Dick McGee. Sorry we buried the lede on Dick McGee. [AP/HuffPost]

During a speech on the House floor, Ryan referred to the "Congressional Black Budget" ... accidentally ... we guess.

The Tea Party isn't happy with Rep. Denny Rehberg's "no" vote. "It doesn't matter to me whether it's a Republican plan or a Democrat plan," the Montana lawmaker, who is running for Jon Tester's Senate seat, said in a statement. "But there are still too many unanswered questions with regard to Medicare reform, and I simply won't support any plan until I know for a fact that Montana's seniors will be protected." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

If you're ever feeling down, just remember that "Dick McGee" is now in the Congressional Record.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Kerri, a 57-year-old living near Seattle, says she lost her software sales job three years ago -- and that age discrimination has made her ongoing search for work feel hopeless at times. "I went to an interview and the guy actually excused me before we even started. He said, 'Well, we're looking at your resume and we don't feel that you'd be a good fit,'" Kerri recalls. "Why would I be brought in after two phone interviews with managers?" [HuffPost]

Our beloved weather reporter, Jeremy Binckes, has a new job! Starting Monday, JB will start work at TBD where he will be a news writer. Though the weather report now hangs in the balance, we couldn't be happier for everyone's favorite reader of the meteorological tea leaves. Congrats, JB!

WHAT IS WALGREENS THINKING? - Jon Tester announced today he raised $1.16 million in the first quarter. Tester's been pushing the bank amendment that would delay rules restricting how much banks can charge merchants for using debit cards. The strangest line on his FEC file is a $1,000 contribution from Walgreens. Way to fund your opposition, Walgreens.

HUFFPOST HICCUP: We wrote yesterday that Boehner won 173 GOP votes on the CR. It was 179. We're idiots.

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

HOUSE DEMS PUNK REPUBLICANS, TRY TO PASS CRAZY REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT - If you were to take the contents of Michael Jackson's Wonderland and put them in a blender, you still would not produce a thing weirder (that's a total lie, of course you would). The minority party today served up a a big steaming pile of parliamentary boo-yah today when it opted to vote "present" on an alternate Republican budget proposal from the conservative Republican Study Committee. By voting "present," the Democrats hoped to highlight discord in the Republican conference, many of whose members opposed the bill, and the drastic nature of its proposals. The final vote was a very peculiar 136-119, with only 119 of the RSC's 176 members voting for the measure. After voting "no," the Democrats' decision to switch their votes to "present" drew jeers from the House chamber. It's also entirely possible that things got rowdy because members were upset about having to work on a Friday.[HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

Back in '05, Democrats rolled over in a kind of similar way so that the GOP's extreme wing could pass a draconian immigration bill that fired up Latinos ahead of the '06 election, as HuffPost Hill recalls.

A new poll finds the public sours on the Republican budget proposal when they actually learn what it does. Mark Blumenthal: "Though Americans know little of Ryan's plan, large majorities oppose cuts in Medicare see little need for a major overhaul. While pollsters ask about potential changes to Medicare in various ways, their most straightforward questions are about potential budget cuts...The national surveys show majorities, ranging between 54 and 76 percent of adults, reject the notion of cuts to Medicare." [HuffPost]

DAILY CALLER HIRES FORMER ISSA SPOKESMAN - The Daily Caller has hired former Darrell Issa spokesperson Kurt Bardella as its new director of communications, just weeks after he was fired by Issa for leaking emails to the Times' Mark Leibovich for his forthcoming book on the insidery culture of D.C. Leibovich will no doubt dine out on this one: Not only was Bardella hired by a major Washington outlet mere weeks after being fired by a major Washington politician, but his replacement in Issa's office USED TO WORK FOR THE DAILY CALLER. We learned about the news, somewhat ironically, through a leaked email from the DC's co-founder, Neil Patel. "Kurt is going to help promote The Daily Caller, promote each of our reporters and bloggers individually and promote our work product to the Hill and to other media outlets," he wrote. "Kurt is also going to help on some new tech projects that we have in the pipeline." For Chrissake, Washington. [HuffPost's Michael Calderone]

HOUSE FRESHMAN POST FUNDRAISING NUMBERS - The FEC's first-quarter filing deadline is today and some of Congress' most buzzcut-y and most beehive-y members really made it rain over the last three months. "Representatives David McKinley of West Virginia, Allen B. West of Florida, Steve Stivers of Ohio, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, all Republicans, each raised more than $300,000 during the first three months of 2011, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission." Takeaway: intense hairstyles are winners. Look for Sander Levin to roam the halls of Congress with cornrows. [NYT]

JON HUNTSMAN FINISHED IN POLITICS: HE COMPLIMENTED OBAMA - In a 2009 letter to President Obama, the now outgoing ambassador to China and speculative 2012 candidate effusively praised President Obama. "You are a remarkable leader and it has been a great honor getting to know you," he wrote, apparently underlining the word "remarkable. " He went on to thank Obama for "the graciousness and kindness you have shown me and my family - particularly your confidence in my ability to represent you in China." As if complimenting his OWN BOSS weren't bad enough, he went on to compliment HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE HILLARY CLINTON (yuck!). "I must report that Sec. Clinton has won the hearts and minds of the State Dept. bureaucracy -- no easy task. And after watching her in action, I can see why. She is well-read, hard working, personable and has even more charisma than her husband! It's an honor to work with her," he wrote. If you touch the article on the screen, Jonathan Strong's euphoria is actually transferred to you via your fingertips. [Daily Caller, via Kurt Bardella]

DONALD TRUMP STILL AHEAD IN LATEST POLL, BIRTHERS DOMINATE PRIMARY - A chicken in every pot. A solid gold bust of myself in every foyer. So another survey from Public Policy Polling has the Donald leading the pack. Trump earns the support of 26 percent of respondents while Mike Huckabee comes in a solid second with 17 percent. Then there's this upsetting tidbit: "Only 38% of Republican primary voters say they're willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory and those folks want Mitt Romney to be their nominee for President next year. With the other 62% of Republicans- 23% of whom say they are only willing to vote for a birther and 39% of whom are not sure- Donald Trump is cleaning up. And as a result Trump's ridden the controversy about Barack Obama's place of birth to the highest level of support we've found for anyone in our national GOP polling so far in 2011." [PPP]

Trump isn't letting up with the whole "I saved the Daily News" thing. Michael Calderone: "But in a Friday morning interview with The Huffington Post, Trump explained what he meant by the claim. Trump said that Zuckerman and then-co-owner of the Daily News Fred Drasner called him 12 years ago 'because they were going to close the paper.' Trump, by his recollection, said that the Daily News was being required to pay about $50 million in an arbitration ruling and the financial strain would have force the paper to shutter...In a Friday interview with The Huffington Post, Zuckerman said he never called Trump about the arbitration... 'If they think this saved the News, it's certainly news to me," Zuckerman said.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Kittens take on a shadow. When will this age-old conflict finally end? Can't we let bygones be bygones? [http://chzb.gr/hWMERD]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Lows in the high 40s, and bad weather tomorrow mean that this is the best time for going out. There won't be much to do Tomorrow; the rain, winds and the possibility of thunderstorms make it a good stay-in day. Though it will clear up beautifully on Sunday. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- BBC's Human Planet tackles the most fascinating of creatures, "The Douche." Behold this magnificent creature in its natural environs. [http://bit.ly/eG8dXp]

- Well this is trippy. [http://bit.ly/fgOXXv]

- As worried as you might be about China's takeover of the U.S. through debt and what not, take comfort in the fact that Panda Express is opening branches in China. Or not. [http://bit.ly/eanBDP]

- If company logos were honest...and AWESOME. [http://bit.ly/gctLOs]

- Many thanks to Suzy Khimm for this AMAZING video of a baby goat stampede. [http://bit.ly/eixzGt]

- In the future, drunken guys dancing in the background of videos will speak of this man with great reverence. [http://bit.ly/eCXoyx]

- Punching robot punches. We hear the upgrade will make coffee. But in the mean time, just punching. [http://bit.ly/i9EisL]

- The Postal Service issued a stamp with the Statue of Liberty on it. Too bad the photo they used was of the fake one in Vegas. America. [http://bit.ly/dIW3o7]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeJimVandeHei: Wait -- @kbardella, fired for leaking emails, is hired by @DailyCaller , who got someone fired by publishing leaked emails #headexplodes

@pourmecoffee: Part I of Atlas Shrugged trilogy in theaters today. It's like Lord of the Rings if Frodo just sold the ring to Cash4Gold.

@brianbeutler: FREE THE HOUSE GALLERY 9!!!

ON TAP

Saturday, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Flash mob! In keeping with the Colbert Report spoof of attacks on Planned Parenthood in the budget battle, some folks in Washington will be convening at Walgreens this weekend to demand pap smears. Fun! [Walgreens, Any Walgreens].

Saturday, 6:30 pm: Veteran Rep. Wally Herger, who we always assume is a 1910s baseball player when we hear his name, passes the hat [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW].

Sunday, 8:00 pm: The Raveonnettes, whose fuzzy pop rock we are quite fond of, perform at Black Cat. Tamaryn opens [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].

Monday, 5:30 pm: The budget deal passed, Randy Hultgren attends a home town fundraiser. Mark Kirk is slated to attend [Joe's, 60 East Grand Avenue, Chicago].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

Filed by Eliot Nelson