If you can't beat 'em: A report suggests that Rick Perry is ready to lead the country he thought about seceding from a few years back. Southern gentleman Eric Cantor abruptly stood up at the proverbial table and bid the debt ceiling negotiators a GOOD DAY, SIR. And George Pataki will put America back on track just as soon as America remembers who George Pataki is. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 23rd, 2011:
DEMOCRATS CONSIDERING MEDICARE PROVIDER CUTS AS DEBT CEILING INCENTIVE - In an unprecedented development, Democrats in Washington are considering a major policy concession after Eric Cantor pulled our favorite legislative trick, cupping his hands over his ears and yelling "LA LA LA LA LA." Sam Stein: "[A]ides on the Hill and a statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney seem to suggest that Cantor's absence means, simply, that the discussions will now get picked up by President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)...In exchange for revenue-raisers (most likely in the form of siphoned off tax breaks or the closing of loopholes) Democrats will agree to Medicare cuts -- not on the beneficiary side, which would have produced deafening howls from within the caucus, but on the provider side." [HuffPost]
ERIC CANTOR PULLS OUT OF DEBT CEILING TALKS - Like your grandfather at a screening of Hangover 2, Eric Cantor has excused himself from the debt ceiling negotiations. Yet while gramps objected to all the obscenities, lackluster work by Bradley Cooper and the mean ol' things they did to that monkey, the House majority leader doesn't like the fact that tax hikes for the wealthy and offshore tax loopholes are still on the table. Jon Kyl followed suit. Also, unlike your grandfather, Cantor is reportedly open to return to the talks (we're pretty sure the Chamber of Commerce is open to him returning, too). "We can't go there, so until Boehner and Obama resolve that, it doesn't make much sense for Eric to keep going to the meetings," a Cantor aide said. "If that issue is resolved, he's happy to go back in and start crunching numbers again." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery and Elyse Siegel]
Harry Reid actually said this: "I think it's now, with what Kyl and Cantor's done, I think it's in the hands of the speaker and the president and sadly, probably."
Chris Van Hollen: "Until our colleagues are more concerned about reducing the deficit than what Norquist says, we're going to have a hard time."
PATENT FIGHT! Zach Carter reports: An epic six-year battle between hi-tech companies and pharmaceutical giants is heading toward a final chapter, with the House expected to approve a patent reform bill tonight. If you don't know anything about patent reform, just think about the swipe fee fight dragging on for six years, with banks and merchants replaced by drug companies and techies (and banks, too). As with swipe fees, Washington found bipartisanship easy when corporate titans were gunning for each other. The bill's House passage reflects the general arc of the legislation over the past six years, with drug companies getting in one last dig at the tech firms. The final slap in the face came in the form of gutting "prior user rights." Basically, lots of tech companies think that their supercool technology is so cool that they don't want to patent it, because patenting it would make a trade secret public. If somebody else patents that supercool technology later, these secretive tech junkies don't have to pay royalties, because, after all, they came up with it first -- right? Wrong. Pharma gutted that provision. Both tech and pharma officially support the final House bill, but tech isn't happy. Nancy Pelosi urged her people to vote against it, as did the tech-friendly Barbara Boxer and Maria Cantwell in the Senate.
Glad Congress can find time to referee these corporate pissing matches.
HOUSE FLOOR CHAOS - Patent reform is lucrative stuff for members of Congress to deal with and can get tempers flaring. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) fast-gaveled a John Conyers amendment vote this afternoon with more than a dozen people on the floor having yet to vote. Gaveled down, it failed 208-209. Uproar ensued. Republicans refused a revote, then eventually relented. The revote passed 223-198. [Conyers' Amendment]
The ladies of Washington will gather on the diamond this evening for The Congressional Women's Softball Game. It's the women of Congress versus the women of the Washington press corps. Sen. Kelly Ayotte will be the captain of the congressional team. All proceeds benefit the Young Survival Coalition, which works on behalf of young women with breast cancer. Our very own Elise Foley and Jen Bendery will be playing for the press team, under the direction of Captain Dana Bash. We will now try to come up with distracting chants to psych out the congressional team. What rhymes with Gillibrand and/or Ros-Lehtinen and how can we tie it into belly itching?
The manager of the Nationals -- one of the few things in Washington that is successful more than 50 percent of the time -- quit. Jim Riggleman, apparently unhappy with his contract -- or maybe unhappy that Teddy never freaking wins -- told General Manager Mike Rizzo that he would drop the mic and walk off stage if his contract wasn't improved before today's game. He dropped the mic. [WaPo]
Still wish the team had been called "The Department of Baseball."
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST UNCOVERS DIABOLICAL LIBERAL PLOT - Our favorite PSLGOPL, who insists the floaters in his eyes are government regulators, has connected some dots for us. "I'm going to assume George Soros is the major backer of both All the Presidents Men (Bill Burton's PAC) and Majority PAC (Leader Reid's)," writes PSLGOPL. "My assumption is that these super PACs will use Soros' billions to make the argument that the Republicans are in the pocket of the millionaires. Which the rich fat white broadcasters at MSNBC will parrot nightly for the next 16 months. Is it too much to ask that MSNBC runs a trailer underneath each rich host and guest with information about their net worth?" Thanks, PSLGOPL!
Glenn Beck to Rick Santorum just now: "I could kiss you in the mouth."
FIND ME THE MOST TALENTED FOREIGN POLICY REPORTER IN BROOKLYN! - Joshua Hersh is joining HuffPost as our foreign policy reporter. He comes from The Daily.
Part two of Amanda Terkel's excellent behind-the-scenes of the Wisconsin labor dispute
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Stephen LaRoque, the North Carolina state representative who hired an unemployed constituent to work in his yard for $8 an hour, is pleased to report that he's finally found some decent help since the woman he hired quit after working just one hour. Kathryn Treadway of Goldsboro had dared him to hire her so she could prove she wasn't too good for menial labor, but it turned out she couldn't handle the work and that she thought he was deliberately trying to humiliate her. LaRoque received a torrent of angry letters after HuffPost reported on the incident (and the local press followed), but the episode reaffirmed his view of the unemployed. "My opinion hasn’t changed," he said. "I still think that a lot of those people are not actively looking for work." As for his yard, he said two other unemployed folks picked up where Treadway left off and have been at it for the past two weeks. "It's looking a whole lot better," LaRoque said. He's paying one guy $8 an hour and another guy $10 since that guy had some of his own equipment. Full story on HuffPost tomorrow.
DOUBLE DOWNER - Economic misery got a hearing on the Hill today. [HuffPost]
TRIPLE DOWNER - The economy sucks. [Reuters]
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
GOP SOURCE: PERRY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT - The Wall Street Journal reports that a GOP operative who is "normally reliable" (10,000 honesty points awarded to the Journal) says Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to form a presidential exploratory committee this summer with an eye toward competing in the August 13th Iowa Straw Poll. Rick Perry, just to remind you, was George W. Bush's lieutenant governor, which is to say that we're talking a guy who saw W. and said to himself, "Yeah, I think I'll hitch my wagon to that guy." This reliable-ish source indicates that Camp Perry believes Mitt Romney "does not reflect the Republican Party" and is liable to be knocked from the lead. [WSJ]
@daveweigel: Chairman of Gore '88 in TX RT @TylerMJones: Rick Perry would also be the first ever Al Gore staffer to serve as President.
RICK PERRY WOOS LATINOS - Rick Perry for President: Building A Bridge To Somewhere That Isn't Mexico. AP: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry has received a tepid response from a Latino group after touting his record of appointing Hispanics and joking about the pronunciation of a Hispanic appointee's last name... He also joked about appointing Jose Cuevas to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission because his name sounds like Jose Cuervo -- a brand of tequila."
DEMOCRATS: DON'T LET THE GOP FORCE YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR PARENTS - A new poll showing a majority of Americans worried that the Republicans' budget could force untold numbers of senior citizens from their retirement homes is being seized on by Democrats as a way to needle Republicans. The survey, conducted by Democratic-aligned Anzalone Liszt Research, found that 63 of respondents were "very concerned" about the possibility of grandma having to take a Walmart greeter job to support herself. Now, to be fair, the question couldn't have been pushed more if it were driven by a bulldozer ("[The Ryan budget] would cut $750 billion from Medicaid, including funding for 80 percent of nursing home residents, forcing many seniors to be kicked out of their nursing homes") but Democrats are capitalizing on it nonetheless. Mike McAuliff reports that party strategists are readying talking points and the like. [HuffPost]
OBAMA MEETS WITH LGBTers IN NEW YORK AS STATE CONSIDERS GAY MARRIAGE PROPOSAL - President Obama today will make a financial appeal to members of the gay community at a New York City fundraiser tonight, potentially right after lawmakers in the Empire State come to a deal that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Short of holding a Christian prayer breakfast in a Dupont restaurant during Pride Week, the president probably couldn't have chosen a more politically inopportune time and inopportune place to meet with the gay community (unless, of course, his "evolving" views on the subject suddenly enter into a Cambrian Explosion of gay friendliness). [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
That sound you hear is 50,000 Teva-wearing activists furiously scribbling "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" on 50,000 poster boards (and possibly the grinding of their horchata): "President Barack Obama was deeply concerned about the impact of oil disruption from Libya, a senior administration official said on Thursday after the United States announced it would tap its emergency petroleum stockpile.'The U.S. stands ready to do more as is necessary to address this issue,' a senior administration official told reporters." [Reuters]
Our nation’s 825,000 franchise businesses account for nearly 18 million jobs, or one out of every eight jobs in the U.S. How many franchise industry jobs are in your state or district? Find out at http://www.buildingopportunity.com.
WOMP WOMP: TIM PAWLENTY HASN'T PAID SOME STAFFERS IN SEVEN MONTHS - It's bad enough that the guy is already trailing fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann in the polls and fundraising and is being referred to in some circles as a less exciting Jon Huntsman, but this is just sad. Amy Gardner: "At least five top advisers to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty have been working for little or no pay for several months, a campaign source said Wednesday...While some staffers are temporarily forgoing a larger paycheck, others signed up with the understanding that they would volunteer their time for the long term, said the Pawlenty aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal personnel matters. The disclosure, which will appear in financial reports that will be made public next month, does not suggest any sudden problems with the campaign, he said...The source said those on Pawlenty’s team working for little or no pay include the top two strategists, Phil Musser and Jon Lerner, as well as advisers Sara Taylor Fagen, Terry Nelson and Brian Hook. The advisers are earning in the range of zero to $1,000 a month, plus reimbursements for expenses, he said." [WaPo]
Gorby! Gorby! Gorby! @TheFix: Pawlenty set to deliver major foreign policy address next Tuesday, says aide. Focus on "challenges and opportunities" of Arab Spring.
GEORGE PATAKI MULLING PRESIDENTIAL BID - The defining political figure of our time, a man whose very name connotes the Platonic ideal of leadership, says he might heed the deafening cries of his supporters (whose numbers are legion) for him to run for president. That's right, George Pataki [wait for cries of excitement to die down] says he's (omg omg omg omg omg omg) open to a run for the White House!!!!!!!. In an interview with the Fiscal Times, the former New York governor expressed disappointment with the attention that the current crop of GOP candidates are paying to deficit. "So hopefully a candidate will emerge from the GOP field that does that, someone I could feel strongly about and support," Pataki said. "I'm disappointed that Mitch Daniels didn't run because had he run, I think he would have made this an issue, and he certainly has the track record in Indiana of success to point to, but I hope someone fills that void. And if not, I'll certainly feel compelled to take a look." So if no one more compelling than George Pataki steps in -- be it Mitch Daniels, Jim DeMint or a Ziplock bag of day-old tofu, America's golden age might be at hand. [Fiscal Times]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Behold, the Harry Caray of lacrosse commentary. [http://bit.ly/mJDpjO]
JERMEY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: It's only going to be in the 70s, but with high humidity, it's going to be extremely uncomfortable. Some pop-up thunderstorms and showers won't provide relief. Tomorrow: Almost hitting 90, but the humidity dies down. Thanks, JB!
- Oh good, 51 gifs of cats. [http://bit.ly/jWPtlr]
- Allow this friendly nerd to tell you how fiber optics cables work. [http://bit.ly/iSZ6aC]
- What does it look like to shoot a Porsche with a torrent of bullets? This. [http://jalo.ps/k8m6o3]
- Our infrastructure is crumbling but bike highways are doing just fine. [http://hgm.me/iKgvnd]
- The longest LEGO model to be produced to date is this Super Star Destroyer ::snort:: [http://bit.ly/lH6jt3]
- As this picture question from an old Catholic textbook demonstrates, if you aren't baptized, you might not be loved as much by God as someone who has been baptized, but at least He loves you more than a houseplant. [http://bit.ly/igqQwy]
- We think Vermont maple syrup is the bee's knees, so why the state is comparing it's prized product to urine is beyond us. [http://bit.ly/ipQiIu]
- A car racing video game played on a thermal printer. It there were such a thing as digital steampunk, this might qualify. [http://bit.ly/lnqDmC]
@moetkacik: my boyfriend just broke up with me but he is still not as dumb as ezra klein http://t.co/AqSHoN1
@brianbeutler: What about new lines of credit? RT @newtgingrich: Eric Cantor is exactly right to insist on no tax increases. @EricCantor
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: George Miller, the friendliest, dad-iest-looking member of the House of Representatives, tries to translate his fatherly charm into some campaign bucks [423 New Jersey Ave, SE]
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Chris Van Hollen, whose like your friendly dad from 1954, works his own paternal charm [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW].
6:30 pm: Ben. Quayle. Is. The. Best. Congressman. In. History. Give. Him. Money. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW].
8:00 am - 9:00 am: Sure, the last time you gave money to political figure with an "X" in their name, it was the 60s and you were really into drug experimentation. Xavier Becerra does not have much in common with that first recipient of your contributions [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175].
8:00 am - 9:00 pm: Mike McIntyre is the guest of honor at an event meant to highlight his status as a DCCC "Frontline" member. Steny Hoyer and Allyson Schwartz are scheduled to make appearances. It's hard out there on the front line. Stay strong, soldier. [National Democratic Club, 30 Ivy Street SE].
8:30 am - 9:30 am: More "Frontline" members take a breather from the mud and blood and endless death of politics to ask for money. This time it's Kurt Schrader and Gerry Connolly. War is Hell. [National Democratic Club, 30 Ivy Street SE] .
8:30 am: Bob Corker talks pretty to representatives from the utilities industry. He shouldn't waste his time on the utilities. Park Place and Boardwalk will yield a lot more cash (Get it?!? Eh???) [Edison Electric Institute, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW].
8:30 am - 9:30 am: Steve Israel takes a break from trying to get everyone else elected and takes a moment to look out for number one [Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave NW].
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