HUFFPOST HILL - House Tries To Win The Future By Ruining The Future

05/31/2011 04:23 pm ET | Updated Jul 31, 2011
  • Eliot Nelson Eliot Nelson is a politics reporter and editor in the Huffington Post's D.C.bue=reau

Reporters have covered EVERYTHING about Sarah Palin's bus tour except her respiration rate and choice of sunglass anti-scratch coating. Tea Party activists want Marco Rubio to abandon his beliefs so the movement can continue its defense of personal liberty. One is the loneliest number and is also the number of confirmed Jon Huntsman supporters in Iowa. And President Obama seems to be basing his administration hiring decisions on how many times a candidate has rung the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 31st, 2011:

GULP: HOUSE TO VOTE AGAINST CLEAN INCREASE IN DEBT CEILING - The lower chamber is set to vote on whether to raise the country's debt limit without any spending cuts. The measure will fail. Expect a significant number of Democratic defections, if not an all-caucus move to vote "no." Steny Hoyer told reporters today that he is urging his colleagues to vote "no" to avoid political attacks from Republicans. Democrats are meeting ahead of the vote to try to develop a unified strategy. Keep an eye on apple cart futures.

Sarah Palin will meet with Donald Trump tonight in New York. Here's exclusive future footage of Twitter.

OBAMA ANNOUNCES COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE - President Obama today nominated energy executive John Bryson to be the next secretary of hosting heavily-scripted events at construction sites and wind turbine arrays ... errr ... commerce. Bryson served as chairman and CEO of Edison International, the California utility giant, and currently serves on the board of directors at a number of corporations including Walt Disney and Boeing. During the announcement ceremony today, the president praised Bryson as, "a business leader who understands what it takes to innovate, create jobs and to persevere through tough times." The White House is hoping that Bryson's extensive experience in corporate America will mitigate the concerns of Chamber of Commerce-types who think his Commerce Department exists solely to draft five-year plans and screen The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks to government employees. His nomination is the latest in a slew of business honchos who have joined the White House in recent months. William Daley, a former JPMorgan Chase official, replaced Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt was tapped to head the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. [AP]

Senate Republicans plan on holding up the nomination until free trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia are sent to Congress. The White House backs the deals but wants them to be accompanied by trade adjustment assistance program that would provide assistance to workers laid off by outsourcing. [The Hill]

Bryson's ties to Boeing are causing anxiety in labor circles, as the NLRB recently ruled that it illegally shut its Washington factory to undermine the union.

NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE CENSORED POT INFO - Bureaucrats who don't realize their email is subject to FOIA are our second favorite thing in the world, right after that guy who wrote the "Go The Fuck To Sleep" children's book. Officials at the NCI scrambled furiously after getting a press call about information on the agency's website that didn't straight-up demonize medical marijuana. Scientists fought back. "I am considering resigning from the Board if we allow politics to trump science!" wrote Donald Abrams, director of integrative oncology at the University of California-San Francisco cancer center. [The docs]

The American Independent has been all over this story.

Tonight in The Hill: "Emily Goodin and Cristina Marcos on the latest redistricting developments in Illinois, and which members should be nervous."

HHS SLASHES PREMIUMS FOR HIGH-RISK POOL - The government announced Tuesday that it will lower premiums and ease eligibility requirements for its fledgling health insurance program for people shut out from the private health insurance market because of pre-existing conditions. Premiums will fall by as much as 40 percent in some states. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Monthly premiums for the program in Arizona dropped 40 percent to $334 for a person older than 55 as a result of the HHS directive. Arizona resident Eve Harris, who is uninsured and diabetic at 62, said she still can't afford it. She said that she and her husband, who is 71, are getting by thanks to his Social Security retirement income, which doesn't leave much room for such luxuries as health insurance. "A lot of other expenses need to be fulfilled and health insurance is not among them when you have other needs, especially food," Harris said. "It sucks."

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APPROPRIATIONS BILL CUTS FUNDING FOR JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER ENGINE - The GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee released its spending bill for next year's Pentagon budget. The proposal includes a $39 billion cut in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which accounts for the planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq (remember Iraq??) by the end of the year. The proposal does not include funds for the controversial supplemental engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is kind of the Israel-Palestine of intractable military-industrial spending conflicts. The defense subcommittee will consider the bill when it gavels into session tomorrow. [AP]

Data released by the Census bureau indicate that the Hispanic population is growing faster than projected..

The right is coming to Alan Simpson's defense, but man does he make it hard for them. Daniel Marans picks apart an attempt by a conservative Social Security scholar to make Simpson appear less confused. [HuffPost]

THIRD PARTY GROUPS CONTINUE ONGOING EFFORT TO MAKE GOP FIELD LESS INCREDIBLY DULL - Republican officials continue their desperation spiral this week, as two separate groups of GOP operatives make last-ditch attempts to coax Paul Ryan and Chris Christie into the 2012 primary. Sure, both of them have flatly denied that they will run for president in 2012, but that doesn't mean groups of men clad in suits and Oliver Peoples tortoiseshell glasses won't appear in the lawmakers' front lawns hoisting boomboxes above their heads. A Virginia communications investor and a Nevada GOP activist have formed an online petition,, to convince the Budget Committee chairman to throw his hat in the ring. Meanwhile, a group of Iowa businessmen with close ties to the state GOP are flying to New Jersey today to meet with Governor Christie to lobby him on a potential run. IN YOUR EYEEESSSS [National Journal]

Sarah Palin toured the mid-Atlantic today. She visited Gettysburg. She visited Philadelphia. She visited Independence Hall. She visited the Liberty Bell. She rang the Liberty Bell. Did she buy a souvenir? If so, which souvenir did she buy? Was it a miniature Liberty Bell? Was it a small or large miniature Liberty Bell?

Michele Bachmann thinks there's room for two: "Well again, I compare myself to Barack Obama. Not to any of the other Republican candidates. First of all, I want to say I like Sarah Palin a lot. We're friends. And I don't consider her a competitor. I consider her a friend. But my comparison ultimately is to Barack Obama. I created a successful company. I'm a tax litigation attorney. I raised 28 children in my home. I have a number of wide experiences that I bring to the table. And that's my comparison." [Daily Caller]

HOUSING MARKET DOUBLE FAIL - Lila Shapiro: "Nearly two years since the recession officially ended, home sale prices in major U.S. cities dropped to their lowest level since the bubble burst in 2006, according to fresh data released on Tuesday. The report confirms that the housing market's 'double dip' is at hand, and many economists say prices will continue to decline through the rest of this year. [HuffPost]

Which one of these suggestions for freshman Republican lawmakers was NOT included in FreedomWorks' memo on how to behave at town hall meetings? "1. Hold town halls at senior centers and other areas where the population is especially concerned about their benefits being cut. 2. Hold up a blank piece of paper as a powerful image of their do-nothing approach. 3. Stick to your message. 4. Try relaxing by picturing the attendees in their underwear." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

VIDEO TIME! PAWLENTY AND CAIN ADD TO THE 2012 VIDEO CANON - Presidential contenders Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain today released videos that neatly encapsulate the strategies and aspirations of their long-shot campaigns. Pawlenty's video, which purports to give a "backstage" glimpse at his presidential announcement, is edited in the same Steadicam-less fashion as his earlier productions. As a Chariots of Fire-esque piano-and-string piece plays in the background, shaky, behind-the-scenes clips of Pawlenty on his announcement blitz flash on the screen. Like the rest of his videos, it's an attempt to cast Pawlenty as a viable, non-crazy Republican contender while also making him seem less boring. Herman Cain's clip, meanwhile, is a music video dedicated to the Godfather Pizza CEO. As a country band performs "The Herman Cain Train," soundbites from Cain and his supporters (mostly insisting that the Tea Party isn't racist) are played over interludes. It's mix of blatant far-right appeals and eccentricity is a nice introduction to the Cain campaign for those of you who've been zoning it out. [HuffPost]

@PPPpolls: Herman Cain tied for 2nd in Iowa numbers we'll release tomorrow ... We polled 481 Republicans in Iowa. 1 picked Jon Huntsman. Not 1%. 1 respondent. ... Gingrich fav with Iowa Republicans is 39/41. That makes 4 of 5 polls we've done in last week where he's upside down with GOP ... Bachmann has best net favorability with Republicans of everyone we asked about in Iowa.

Jason Linkins: "We're Still Months Away From Needing To Take Presidential Polling Seriously, History Suggests."
If you feel like reading Rick Perry's tea leaves, here's your chance. The Texas legislature convened today for the first day of a special session called by the governor after it failed to pass a number of controversial pieces of legislation. On the agenda are bills to slash education funding and draw up post-Census congressional districts. The session provides Perry with the opportunity to feed conservative activists just the sort of political red meat they are craving. [Texas Tribune]

TEA PARTY GROWING FRUSTRATED WITH RUBIO OVER IMMIGRATION - Despite their outspoken love of liberty, Tea Party organizers HATE IT when one of their favorite politicians breaks, even slightly, with the orthodoxy of their massive political movement. These lawmakers are supposed to be freedom FIGHTERS, goshdarnit, not freedom HAVERS. Alex Leary reports that Senator Marco Rubio's efforts to block sweeping anti-immigrant legislation while in the Florida legislature, and his refusal to prominently address the issue in the Senate, continue to irk his activist base. "We've been waiting for him to come up with something and to be a leader on this issue," a Fort Lauderdale Tea Party official told the Miami Herald. Rubio, who is the son of Cuban exiles and is viewed by many as a bridge to the Hispanic community, could ruin his broad appeal by addressing the issue. "He wants to have it both ways," another person associated with the Florida Tea Party told the paper. "We're going to be zeroing in on him like a laser." Looks like someone is going to have to deliver a boring PowerPoint presentation in Michigan about his dubious history of doing sensible things. [Miami Herald]

PRODIGIOUS A-HOLE DAN SNYDER SUBPOENAS WASHINGTON POST - Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants to know whether City Paper sportstwriter Dave McKenna coordinated with WaPo sportswriter Dan Steinberg to promote "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," McKenna's awesome and completely factual takedown of Snyder. Remember, Snyder's yes-men have repeatedly admitted the lawsuit is an attempt to intimidate the press. [CityPaper]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR Um ... Is Ted Haggard really in this trailer for a Christian romcom about chastity?

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: Little chance of relief from the horrible, horrible heat. Of course, the lack of cloud cover could send temperatures down into the 70s (which will feel great once that sun sets), but that's late tonight. (Bonus: dogs in the heat!) Tomorrow: Although it will "officially" be in the high-90s again, it's going to feel like it's over 100. On the plus side, there is a chance of some rain popping up at night. In short: get shade, hydrate. Thanks, JB!


- You know that game where a ball is hidden in one of three cups and you have to keep your eye on the cup with the ball? This cat excels at that game. []

- Retro Disneyland ride posters. See what Disney graphic designers were doing when Walt wasn't docking their pay for using the bathroom (his favorite pastime second only to hating the Jews). []

- You can't argue with the brevity of []

- The title of this video post is "Amazing Electromagnetic Balls" and, true to its title, amazing electromagnetic balls abound. []

- This cluster of waterspout tornadoes is like something out of 2012 or whatever end-of-the-world flick is due up next. []

- A little late for Memorial Day but here are 50 patriotic dogs. []

- So archaeologists discovered Blackbeard's anchor off the coast of North Carolina. We still aren't convinced that Jerry Bruckheimer didn't put it there himself to promote the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film. []

- Handle this circular sawblade-shooting slingshot with care. Actually, don't handle it at all. []


@EvanMGlass: Via breaking news text message, my cell phone told me it may cause cancer

@DStraussTheHill: Awkward: No calls so far on radio show with Sen. Mark Begich as guest.

@DKThomp: Palins treatment of press - mocking, negging, silent treatment, neediness followed by avoidance - is straight out of The Pickup Artist.



5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Danny Davis attends a "Labor Reception" fundraiser hosted by the American Federation of Teachers. Teachers, if you will recall from the recent dust-up in Wisconsin, are the scourge of society and a threat to human civilization [American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Ave NW].

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: The last place Nationals take on the first place Phillies in a game that is some how metaphoric of Washington D.C. but it was early when we wrote this and we have neither the time nor inclination to formulate one. Annnywho, Tim Bishop hosts a campaign event at the game [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].


8:30 am - 9:30 am: Brian Higgins pays a visit to the American Maritime Congress for a "Maritime Industry Breakfast." Sadly, the American Maritime Congress IS NOT a legislative body of the sea that meets in the ocean on hundreds of inner tubes arranged like the House of Representatives. Wouldn't that be just ... HILARIOUS??? [American Maritime Congress, 444 N Capitol NW]

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: As a native New Yorker, HuffPost Hill cringes when encountering pizza that costs more than $2.50 a slice. The suggested minimum donation for Earl Blumenauer's fundraiser at We, the Pizza is $1,000. So ... *CRINGE* [We, the Pizza, 305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE].

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: The things lawmakers have to do to appease their constituents. Louise Slaughter will be on hand for a "Finger Lakes Wine Tasting Reception. That is just gross [Credit Union House, 403 C Street NE].

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