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HUFFPOST HILL - Senate Rejects Eric Holder's Potential Number-Two

First Posted: 05/09/11 07:35 PM ET Updated: 07/09/11 06:12 AM ET

The present has become SO PASSE, what with Newt Gingrich announcing WHEN he'll announce his White House bid and The Hill asking folks when their views on the president will change. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers marshaled their anti-war sentiments with the decisiveness of a hemp-wearing kid with a bullhorn in the Berkeley quad. And, just in time for Spring, Alan Simpson is changing his mode of disapproval from "cranky old man on front porch" to "Milan taxi driver." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 9th, 2011:

The Senate has effectively rejected James Cole's nomination as Eric Holder's number-two. Republicans have held up Cole's nomination mostly for reasons pertaining to the fact that Obama won in November 2008. The vote was 50-40, meaning 10 senators had a really bad case of the Mondays. Or a really bad case of the home state fundraiser. Sometimes, it's even less pretty when the sausage gets clogged in the grinder.

ALAN SIMPSON DIVERSIFIES HIS EXPRESSIONS OF OLD-PEOPLE-HATE - Being Alan Simpson must be a bit like being Chris Farley. What do you do to top your last performance? Simpson dug deep on Friday to answer that question, this time offering a bras d'honneur to his bete noire, AARP, before a financial industry audience salivating over the contents of the Social Security trust fund. HuffPost Hill, in a phone interview with Simpson after the event, told Simpson a few basic facts about the program that contradict his stemwinding critique of the program. Simpson couldn't believe it. "This is the first time, the first time -- and Erskine and I have been talking for a year and many months -- that anyone's going to sit around and play with statistics like this," he told HuffPost Hill. "Anything I tell you, you repudiate." [Video of the flip-off, via CSPAN]

Nancy Altman, Social Security expert and author of "The Battle for Social Security," testifies before the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow. The gist: "Social Security lacks the legal authority to deficit-spend, and so, cannot run a deficit. Because it cannot run a deficit, it cannot add to the federal deficit." Move along now, Senate!

OBAMA TO HOLD SEPARATE MEETINGS WITH GOP AND DEM SENATORS - Like a sex-ed teacher separating the boys and girls to discuss the more uncomfortable and difficult parts of the curriculum, President Obama is going to get real with Senate Democrats and Republicans this week. On Wednesday, the president will huddle with upper chamber Democrats to discuss the impending deficit fight. On Thursday, he will do so with their Republican counterparts. These meetings will come on the heels of Vice President Biden's second-round talks with deficit negotiators tomorrow. [WaPo]

In a speech tonight to the Economic Club of New York, John Boehner will insist that any increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied by even larger spending cuts. "Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase," an excerpt of his speech reads. "And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions." [NYT]

QUARTER OF LAWMAKERS FILING INACCURATE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORMS - Tonight in Roll Call: "Members of Congress are required to disclose their personal finances by the beginning of next week, but if past efforts are any indicator, about a quarter of lawmakers will probably file inaccurate disclosure forms, writes Roll Call's Amanda Becker. A Roll Call analysis shows that three out of 10 House Members filed amendments to prior disclosures last year. In the Senate, more than 12 percent of all filings last year were amending prior incorrect submissions, according to data gathered by CQ MoneyLine. Lying on disclosure forms is a crime, but there is essentially no penalty for simply getting them wrong."

Tonight in The Hill: "Alexander Bolton and Julian Pecquet on how the divide in the Republican Party over proposed cuts to Medicare is widening. House and Senate Republicans coordinated closely on the government shutdown talks, but the debate over fiscal 2012 spending is another story."

Tomorrow more than 50 small business owners will give away free coffee and travel mugs outside Capitol South and Union Station to support swipe fee reform.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - After some encouraging signs that Republicans might cooperate with them, the two House Democrats trying to give the long-term jobless extra weeks of unemployment benefits are dismayed the GOP has instead moved a bill that could take benefits away. EXTREME SAD FACE. [HuffPost]

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

Nate Silver is offering his services for $1,000 an hour. But don't expect cops to believe you and he were "just talking" for that amount of money.

NEWT GINGRICH TO ANNOUNCE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN (HE KIND OF ALREADY DID, THOUGH) - At long last the Republican field has the white guy with the haircut and strong opinions about President Obama's economic policies that it so sorely needed. The former House speaker will likely launch his presidential campaign this Wednesday via announcements posted on Twitter and Facebook. That will be followed up by an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News program. "I will be on to talk about my run for president of the United States," he wrote in a Facebook post published today, "I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run." Leave it to the guy who famously prolonged speculation about his White House ambition to promote his PAC to announce his presidential campaign by ANNOUNCING that he will announce presidential campaign...at two separate times. The future civilization that excavates our turduckens, jorts and political news sites will have no idea what to make of us. [AP/HuffPost]

@TheFix If you come to "Politics and Pints" tonight at 7 pm @caplounge, you'll leave looking like this: http://ow.ly/4QHLl

Mitch Daniels, the heartthrob du jour of University of Chicago types, other right-leaning wonks and -- generally speaking -- people who enjoy collating things, is leaning toward a run, with the only hangup being whether his wife wants to have a national conversation about why she divorced him and then remarried him after moving to California and marrying another guy. "I think he would like to do it," a senior Daniels adviser told Jon Ward today. "I actually think he'd have a decent chance of getting the nomination." [HuffPost]

As Steven T. Dennis notes, nominations are to a deadlocked Senate what solitaire is to people without Internet access: you'd rather be watching YouTube or scanning Facebook or trying to increase/decrease corporate taxes but instead you're stuck with the same humdrum activity that can end in only one of two ways. "Fights over nominations have begun to dominate the Senate's agenda as both parties look for places to one-up each other in a chamber with little else to do. Republicans last week threatened to block President Barack Obama's nominees as a way to gain leverage on other issues. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shifted chamber action to several of the White House's more controversial nominees after spending five fruitless weeks of floor time on a small-business bill. Aides to both parties said the nominating process is still working better than it did in the past Congress. In fact, the pace for approving judges has improved this year following a gentlemen's agreement between Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a subsequent bipartisan deal to reduce the number of appointments that need Senate confirmation. But taking nominees hostage is still a popular pastime." [Roll Call]

BIPARTISAN GROUP OF HOUSE MEMBERS SIGN AFGHAN WITHDRAWAL LETTER - Voting to adjourn early and news of a bullet pancaking itself in the skull of a terrorist leader aren't the only things that win approval from members of both parties. You can add the withdrawal of forces from a nearly decade-long conflict. In a letter sent today to President Obama, eight House lawmakers -- four Democrats and four Republicans -- urge him to withdraw forces from Afghanistan. Citing Osama bin Laden's recent demise, the group argues that America needs to "reexamine" its strategy in Afghanistan. "We believe it is no longer the best way to defend America against terror attacks, and we urge you to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan that are not crucial to the immediate national security objective of combating al Qaeda," they contend. And to think, there's no mention of a resolution recognizing Aretha Franklin's contributions to American music to be found. Hooray substantive bipartisanship! [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

The White House won't pay a reward for Osama bin Laden's capture. However, it will pay out this money quote from Jay Carney ABOUT not issuing a reward: "As far as I am aware, no one knowledgeable said, 'Oh, Osama bin Laden is over here in Abbottabad at 57th Street and [unintelligible] Avenue,'" he said during his daily press briefing. "So, my sense is that the requirement for any kind of award is to say that -- not to accidentally, through intelligence-gathering, provide information that leads to his whereabouts." If the garbled intercom on the New York City Subway is to be believed, the Q train regularly stops at "57th Street and [unintelligible] Avenue." We didn't realize it made a detour to Abbottabad, but it doesn't surprise us. [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

DEAN HELLER SWORN INTO SENATE - Former Rep. Dean Heller completed his lower-to-upper chamber transition today when he was sworn in as John Ensign's replacement. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, NRSC-types and other party officials hope that Heller, who is running in the 2012 election for a full six-year term, will enjoy an incumbency bump. Will this young, charming, politically promising, conservative senator outdo his young, charming, politically promising, conservative predecessor? Time will tell. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

The Hill and Pulse Opinion Research conducted a survey of what people think people WILL think about the bin Laden assassination's political effects. The poll finds that nearly 60 percent of respondents believe Obama's post-pink mist bounce will last under three months. Only one-in-four think it will stretch out for more than six months. HuffPost Hill wants to know what you think people will think people will think about the bump Obama will get from sending bin Laden to a place where everything you try just makes the baby cry louder. Send us your thoughts: huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. We don't, however, want to know what you think people will think people will think people will think about the killing. That would be silly. [The Hill]

Email us when you catch grammatical mistakes. Only about 90 percent of you have done that so far.

JAN BREWER TO TAKE S.B. 1070 DEBATE TO SUPREME COURT - Less than a month after a federal appeals court refused to reverse a lower court ruling that portions of Arizona's controversial anti-immigration bill, S.B. 1070, be overturned, in part because they unfairly burden legal immigrants and anyone with a skin tone south of "fallow," Jan Brewer will petition the Supreme Court to hear the case. AP sums it up nicely: "Brewer's lawyers have argued the federal government hasn't effectively enforced immigration law and that the state's intent in passing the law was to assist federal authorities.The U.S. Justice Department has argued the law intrudes on its exclusive authority to regulate immigration and burdens legal immigrants." If this thing does go to the Supreme Court, expect no inflammatory rhetoric WHATSOEVER. No sir. [AP/HuffPost]

HEALTH CARE, TOO, GETTING ANOTHER DAY IN COURT - Tuesday morning marks the next stage in a legal drama that will determine the fate of the president's health care reform law. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will be considering two separate cases, each pertaining to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever determinations are made will be appealed by the losing party to the Supreme Court. But the fine print of the three-panel decision could have major ramifications on the ultimate ruling, including, perhaps, laying down the legal and political framework for allowing the law to be dismissed or kept in place."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is the blockbuster talking dog video of the spring. Seriously, this is the Seven Samurai of talking dog videos. It's just so...epic.

SHODDY RAT REMOVAL IN DIRKSEN CAFETERIA: WHERE'S THE HOPE AND CHANGE? Amanda Terkel was on the Hill today for, you know, reporting and stuff. While there, she witnessed just what has become of pest control in the NOBAMA administration. Amanda writes in: "There was a mouse in the Dirksen dining room today! We noticed it running around by our table and very quickly picked our handbags off the ground. One guy wasn't paying attention and the mouse nearly ran right over his feet, until everyone started to making yelping noises. I was about to take a picture of it (for Twitter) until a guy came over, stomped on it, killed it and then scooped it up and took it away. Everyone was so grossed out." Capitol officials say the mouse was given a burial in a toilet in accordance with its religious custom, however there is no documentation of it. Also, there is a rumor that Glenn Greenwald is finalizing a scathing rebuke of the operation, maintaining that the mouse should have been captured.

KEVIN THE INTERN'S 'THIS DAY IN HISTORY' - May 9th, 1960: FDA Approves Medicine To Give Women Greater Control Of Their Bodies, Infuriate Focus On The Family Drug policy is a touchy subject in America, and the Food and Drug Administration charged into it head-on with "the pill," otherwise known as birth control. The drugmaker, the G.D. Searle Company, was asked by the FDA to conduct thorough field tests before it was approved for the general market. The Catholic Church had lobbied against it for years, claiming it was artificial birth control, but the government stayed out of it. President Dwight Eisenhower said birth control "is not a proper political or government activity or function or responsibility [and] not our business." The FDA gave final OK and Enovid-10 was released to the public. Soon after, 13 other drug companies produced their own version of the pill, creating the birth control pill industry as we know it. Thanks, KB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Color footage from V-E day in Pittsburgh. Observe how people celebrate national security milestones when drunk GW students don't drunkenly rush the White House. [http://bit.ly/myUrAH]

- These photos of vintage beers are like a hipster counterpart to all those beer posters from college. [http://bit.ly/klGKVC]

- "Kids Reacting to bin Laden's Death" is roughly 352 percent more illuminating than "Cable News Reacting to bin Laden's Death." [http://bzfd.it/meOeMh]

- Google is mostly good for locating that Greek place you love and suggesting racist ways to finish your search query. It also is great for drinking, apparently. [http://i.imgur.com/U3rZ0.png]

- Assorted rock legends drawn onto the sidewalk with chalk, a medium typically reserved for demanding the president be impeached and intimidating Planned Parenthood patrons. [http://bit.ly/knBtY3]

- A Star Trek fan video from 1971 reminds us that, like baseball, nerds are an essential, and timeless, part of the American experience. [http://bit.ly/kNWxZa]

- "Mobius pasta" is delicious, dimension-skewing. [http://bit.ly/kI4yKH]

- Pitzer College has added a "Secularism" major. We thought that was "History." [http://nyti.ms/m7sF97]

TWITTERAMA

@DCJourno: sometimes i LOVE to type in all CAPS to make points about LONG and potentially BLOODY election contests.

@atrios: over under on how many exclusive interviews newt gives on sunday

@terkelrage: As the old saying goes, "Washington is Hollywood for bacne sufferers with crippling social anxiety."

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Carolyn Maloney is the guest of honor at a "a very special event in Queens." The invite doesn't speicify why it's "very special" but this being Queens, will just assume that it involves a Greek diner and the sounds of airplanes [Dazies Restaurant, 39-41 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside, NY].

8:30 pm: Dirty Beaches, probably the most aggressively lo-fi band making the rounds right now, performs at Black Cat. It's like if Yo La Tengo performed in space [Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW].

TOMORROW

8:00 am - 9:30 am: You know how you usually order Chinese when you don't know what to call-in? That's kind of the thinking behind holding fundraisers at Tortilla Coast. Bob Filner attends a campaign event at D.C.'s go-to fundraising restaurant [Tortilla Coast, 400 First Street SE].

12:00 pm: If the Congressional Black Caucus is the "conscience of Congress," then Steve King is the "seven beer-deep id of Congress." Pay your respects to America's legislative id [Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Tim Kaine takes a break from campaigning in-state to cross the Potomac and deliver vague statements of gratitude to an audience of wealthy contributors [Cornerstone Government Affairs, 300 Independence Ave SE].

6:30 pm: Inspect the wood chipper lodged in Sherrod Brown's throat yourself. The Ohio lawmaker gets his Italy on [Trattoria Alberto of Capitol Hill, 506 8th Street SE].

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Jim Clyburn, who twisted enough arms to land himself a newly-created number-three leadership spot, attends a fundraiser hosted by reps from the financial services sector, the industry that twisted enough arms to land itself whatever it wants.

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

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Filed by Eliot Nelson  |