We're having a hard time keeping track of Michele Bachmann's historical gaffes, but we're pretty sure she spoke glowingly about abolitionist founding father Denzel Washington today. President Obama will meet with Senate Democrats to discuss the GOP plan to cut taxes, reduce the deficit, spur economic growth, burn fat and tone your core. And, yeah, it took five decades, but Texans are finally starting to realize that America should stop sending their leaders to the White House. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 28th, 2011:
MEDICARE CUTS MOVING TO CENTER STAGE - Because the good lord knows Democrats don't want a winning campaign issue, the party is desperately trying to hand back its Medicare advantage to Republicans. Joe Lieberman today teamed with Tom Coburn to push legislation that would cut Medicare by $640 billion over the next ten years by reducing benefits and making old people pay more for their care. That's called courage in Washington. President Obama, meanwhile, is floating heavy Medicare cuts in his talks with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, meaning that Lieberman and Coburn's proposal could become the basis for some type of bipartisan knifing of grandma any day now. [HuffPost]
David Rogers, who knows of what he speaks, reports that "Obama and Reid appear prepared to reach [agreement on cuts] much higher [than previously discussed], putting substantial Medicare savings on the table if Republicans would accept added revenues. With the House GOP leadership in New York, all of Monday's White House maneuvering was Senate-centric. But Obama's hope is that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), with whom he met privately last week, will be intrigued by a bolder package that might also help neutralize the Medicare issue now hurting the GOP among elderly voters." [Politico]
DEFICIT HAWK REPUBLICANS CONTINUE THEIR LOVE OF PORK - Tonight in Roll Call from John Stanton: "How does a policy earmark worth more than $214 million garner the vote of conservatives like Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas)? On Thursday, the House approved an amendment that would provide a direct benefit to The Medicines Co., which faces the loss of its patent for its flagship drug, as well as law firm WilmerHale, which is on the hook for a $214 million settlement with MDCO because it was tardy in submitting the drug's patent extension request. How MDCO and WilmerHale got the legislation through the House at a time of deep public cynicism about how Congress works is a testament to the abilities of the companies and their lobbyists to take the long view."
PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MEET WITH SENATE DEMS ON DEFICIT - AP: "President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday to continue discussions over debt negotiations. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sens. Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer. The meeting comes two days after Obama met separately with Reid and with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The White House announced no new meetings with Republicans." [HuffPost's Debt Ceiling Liveblog and Discotheque]
Is the debt ceiling even constitutional? HuffPost Hill and the resurgent Countdown will discuss it on Current this evening.
@Todd_Zwillich: Sen Dem aides clarify: tomorrow's White House mtg is not officially on debt, though it will "surely come up." Semantics.
RON JOHNSON TRIES TO STOP THE SENATE - Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson today went all Jefferson Smith on the Senate floor when he threatened to block basic Senate activity, such as quorum calls, until the debt ceiling negotiations are made more transparent. Please don't stop our quorum calls!!! "[U]nless we receive some assurance from the Democrat leadership that we will actually start addressing our budget out in the open, in the bright light of day, I will begin to object. I will begin to withhold my consent," he warned. Johnson's old plastics company, as was reported last week, basically paid for his Senate campaign, so Ron has very much earned the right to bring democracy to a grinding halt. Tyler Kingkade: "Shortly after when there was a request to relinquish a quorum call, Johnson objected. Several Republican Senators were seen speaking with him on the floor, including Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Rand Paul (R-Kent.) as were Mitch McConnell's staff members, discussing procedural moves. Johnson called on the Senate to pass a budget of only $2.6 trillion, to reflect what the President's budget outlined as what the U.S. would receive in tax revenues for next year." [HuffPost's Debt Ceiling Liveblog and All-Night Do-It-Yourself Omelet Station]
SENATE PANEL VOTES TO SUPPORT U.S. LIBYA MISSION - Responding to last week's vote by the House to oppose the U.S.'s ongoing
war military operation series of bomb-filled care packages it's sending to Libya, the Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee today voted to support the mission. The final tally was 14-9, with Republicans including Ranking Member Richard Lugar and Tea Party darling Jim DeMint opposing. The House last week also tried to cut off funding for the mission but failed to garner enough support. [Bloomberg]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Today Gov. Rick Scott made Florida the stingiest state in America when it comes to unemployment insurance by signing a bill the legislature had sent to him back in May. "The most important thing for us in Florida to do is to send a message to the business community and let them know we're open for business," bill sponsor Rep. Doug Holder told HuffPost at the time. Depending on the state's jobless rate, layoff victims starting next year could find themselves as eligible for as few as 12 weeks of benefits (federal benefits will likely have vanished by then). The standard in almost every state has been 26 weeks for the past half-century, but since spring several states have started cutting back. Florida takes first place in what worker advocates have called a "race to the bottom." Congratulations, Florida!
LABOR DEMONIZES MANAGEMENT - Working America, the community organizing affiliate of the AFL-CIO, tomorrow is launching its fourth annual "Bad Boss" contest to vilify rotten management across the land. Previous entries include "a worker whose boss had her making pizza between contractions" and "another whose boss forbade employees from calling health authorities as workers stood in sewage while making food." The contest is open until July 20, with winners announced August 2. Nothing will matter by that time, however, because Congress will have blown the debt ceiling and society will have descended into zombie anarchy. [Working America]
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DCCC BLASTS SUPER PACS AS PELOSI & REID RAISE FUNDS FOR ONE - Whenever we're outside of D.C. (HuffPost Hill is filing from the Bay Area right now), we try to explain to folks why living in -- and reporting on -- Washington makes us want to lobotomize ourselves with a rolled up copy of CQ Today. *This* is a good example of why: In an email blast to supporters today, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel took aim at American Crossroads, the "Super PAC" founded in part by Karl Rove, telling recipients that, "Your contribution today makes you a stakeholder in our people-powered movement." Yet as Israel works on his "people-powered movement" Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have begun to solicit for a Democratic "Super PAC". John Bresnahan and Alex Isenstadt write: "Both Pelosi and Reid are limiting their solicitations to $5,000 or less for House Majority PAC and Majority PAC, which will spend money in House and Senate races, respectively. Liberal financier George Soros has already given tens of thousands of dollars to House Majority PAC. Pelosi's fundraising for House Majority PAC has not been previously disclosed. Pelosi informed her colleagues that she had taken this step at a recent members' dinner." [Politico]
HUFFPOST HILL FACTS OF LIFE: The first fully-terrestrial vertebrates, amniotes, evolved about 340 million years ago.
REP. LAURA RICHARDSON UNDER FIRE FOR POSSIBLE ETHICS VIOLATIONS - The professional ethicists at the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report detailing alleged ethics violations by Rep. Laura Richardson. The complaint focuses on emails obtained by the group in which senior Richardson aides appear to instruct her House staffers to participate in campaign activity. "Internal emails regarding a fundraising event dubbed 'Democratic Idol' show Richardson Chief of Staff Shirley Cooks told employees they were required to attend the event, wearing staff shirts embroidered with the phrase '37th Congressional District.' In an email from her official House account, Ms. Cooks stated that spouses and interns were expected to attend as well. In addition to having Capitol Hill staff work on her campaign, the congresswoman also routinely required staffers to perform personal errands for her, such as picking up her dry cleaning, a violation of the law requiring government funds to be used only for official purposes. Relatedly, by certifying that staffers were paid only for work done for official purposes when she submitted payroll forms, Rep. Richardson appears to have made false statements to Congress." It's hard enough being a congressional intern -- what with all the menial tasks, predatory male staffers and lack of salary -- without being sucked into a possible ethics investigation. [CREW]
POLL: APPROVAL OF OBAMA'S ECONOMIC AGENDA AT ALL-TIME LOW - A survey out today from McClatchy and Marist finds only 37 percent of registered voters giving President Obama the thumbs up for his handling of the economy. Nearly two times as many respondents disapprove of how he is handling the federal deficit. It's probably time the president tells Seal Team Six to go do something awesome again. [McClatchy]
SENATE CONFIRMS THREE STALLED DOJ NOMINEES - The man whose nomination to the country's top law enforcement agency had been stalled because he wanted to -- you know -- enforce the law, has finally been confirmed to the post. The upper chamber today confirmed James Cole to be the next deputy attorney general. Republicans had strongly opposed his nomination, in part, due to concerns over his previous support for trying terrorists in civilian court (to be fair, they also weren't crazy about his work for AIG). Chuck Grassley had put a hold on Cole but lifted it after the DOJ provided him with documents pertaining to a botched arms trafficking operation. Also confirmed, by voice vote, were Lisa Monaco, who will run DOJ's terrorism division and . [Reuters]
ASK RICK SANTORUM - If you happen to see Rick Santorum on the campaign trail, ask him what he did as a highly paid board member for a dysfunctional health care company. Jason Cherkis speaks to an eighth grader who left the company's treatment center with two black eyes and herpes. [HuffPost]
TEXANS WAY MORE INTO RON PAUL THAN RICK PERRY - A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling finds the libertarian congressman performs seven points stronger than the outspoken Texas governor when pitted against President Obama in a general election match-up. Recent polls have suggested that Lone Star State residents aren't wild about their governor going national. [PPP]
A poll of New Mexico voters indicates Democrats hold a slight edge in the race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Bingaman. Potential match-ups of Democrats Rep. Martin Heinrich and State Auditor Hector Balderas against Republicans Rep. Heather Wilson, Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez and "dark horse" Greg Sowards all find four to six point leads for the Democrats. The margins are wider if the Dems are pitted against Sowards. [PPP]
Jessica Yellin has been named CNN's new White House correspondent, replacing Ed Henry who is pursuing his hobby of asking President Obama factually dubious questions full-time at Fox News
MICHELE BACHMANN'S ONGOING TROUBLES WITH AMERICAN HISTORY - Yesterday Michele Bachmann accidentally said she wanted to model herself after serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Today she called John Quincy Adams a founding father. He wasn't. His dad, John Adams, was a founding father (in case you forgot or are, in fact, Michele Bachmann). "Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that's absolutely true," Bachmann said during a "Good Morning America," defending an earlier statement that the founders were abolitionists. "He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did, in fact, one day eradicate slavery from our nation." When host George Stephanopoulos corrected the Minnesota lawmaker, Bachmann pooh poohed him (Facts Schmacts!), insisting that although John Quincy was very young during the revolution, he was "absolutely a part of the Revolutionary War era." [Daily Caller]
Bachmann supporters have edited the John Quincy Adams entry in Wikipedia to label him a "Founding Father". In a glorious counter-edit, someone added that, "But even as an embryo, John Quincy Adams could feel pain and was a Founding Father." [ThinkProgress]
Tim Pawlenty delivered a foreign policy speech today at the Council on Foreign Relations. He defended the use of U.S. military abroad and rejected calls to take a more isolationist approach to foreign affairs. That said, he needs a new speechwriter: "Now is not the time to retreat from freedom's rise." [Salon]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Bear cub befriends a cat. There are probably a lot of you reading this on the D.C. Metro and you probably look all important and busy. We know the truth: You're watching a video of a bear cub befriending a cat.
According to Illinois Department of Corrections policy, Rod Blagojevich can keep his famously bushy hairdo "as long as it is neat and clean." Check AND check!.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: A cold front is coming in from the west, leading to some pop up storms. It looks like there may be an outbreak exploding late afternoon, so I would say that storms are likely. Tomorrow: A lot cooler, as we dip down into the 80s. Quite pleasant! The beauty of nature And boy is this beautiful. I do love me some supercell action. Thanks, JB!
- Boston terrier enjoys getting belly tickled. Makes funny noise. This video will have ... oh ... 5 billion hits by August. [http://bit.ly/kCPJwo]
- A 1956 ad in Life advising you to feed 7 Up to your baby. Go ahead and judge, but that baby does look awfully happy. [http://huff.to/lKaLnq]
- Tom Petty wants Michele Bachmann to stop piping in "American Girl" at her rallies. Cease and desist time! [http://huff.to/kltOCw]
- A research team from California discovered 300 new species while on an expedition in the Philippines. People still go on expeditions? [http://huff.to/l4frYs]
- We agree with this blogger's assessment that this video of a seagull stealing a video camera was staged, but it's still really cool. [http://huff.to/kgLf2g]
- A collection of cover art from the 1960s British periodical, Anarchy. [http://huff.to/jV4035]
- A film on how to make a beet cake that doubles as a college film class final project. [http://huff.to/jVGBSC]
- An American professional gambler spent $271,000 in one night at a British nightclub. Hey, buddy, America's economy could use some of that. [http://huff.to/kW0fEG]
@samsteinhp: kerry, corker.... awkward
@TeresaKopec: BREAKING! Director of Palin biopic "The Undefeated" announces next project: biography of Newt Gingrich entitled "Always Faithful."
@chashomans: Fun fact! The unique airy texture of NY bagels comes from the CO2 generated by NYers not ever shutting up about them.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Reason hosts a shindig at its HQ celebrating the publication of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, penned by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch [Reason, 1747 Connecticut Ave NW].
6:00 pm: Debbie Stabenow has her fundraiser at the Mott House. Big apple juice, man. Running the show. [The Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave NE].
6:30 pm: Scott Brown, the most popular Massachusetts Republican since Curt Schilling, works some of that magic. Mark Kirk makes an appearance [Bobby Van's Grill, 809 15th Street NW].
6:30 pm: Pat Toomey is the guest of honor at a campaign function hosted by the Online Lenders Alliance. We suppose they could online contribute and not hold a fundraiser but then Pat wouldn't know their face, amirite? [Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) Townhouse, 330 Maryland Ave NE].
6:30 pm: Sure, they each represent two factions of the Republican party that couldn't hate each other more, but that doesn't mean that Mitch McConnell can't show up for Rand Paul's fundraiser. Kentucky love (really, the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn NTRA PAC, which apparently exists, is one of the hosts). [R.B. Murphy and Associates, 220 E Street NE]
6:00 pm: Tom Harkin raises funds for his PAC, "To Organize A Majority," arguably the most political memoir title sounding PAC out there [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusettes Ave NE]
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: We don't usually think of the W Hotel as a hotbed of Republican activity, but for at least one night it will be. Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn and Richard Burr convene for an NRSC event [The W Hotel - DC, 515 15th Street NW].
6:30 pm: Pat Robert's PAC is called "Preserving America's Traditions." If his group were true to its name, it'd fund fighter jet flyovers of sporting events and overly pasteurized dairy products. Unfortunately, it just funds elections. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW].
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