A day after President Obama urged Americans to call Congress, staff assistants caught more flak than a Comcast customer service representative (David Wu's receptionist undoubtedly had the worst day in Washington). A Mitt Romney/Bob McDonnell ticket could be the most riveting thing to excite Americans since ... uh ... seltzer? And if Democrats are bringing a knife to the gun fight that is the debt ceiling negotiations, then John Boehner is bringing a spork. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, July 26th, 2011, blasting out early because there's still no debt ceiling deal and we need to stock up on propane and seeds before Walmart runs out:
BOEHNER PLAN FACES STIFF RESISTANCE FROM GOP'S RIGHT FLANK - House Speaker John Boehner can't get his conference to eat their fiscal vegetables. That makes sense. Fiscal vegetables are made out of money. Why would you eat that? Empty calories. Anyway: "I am confident, as of this morning, that there were not 218 Republicans in support of the plan," Jim Jordan, who speaks for the far-right wing of the House GOP, told reporters today. Phil Gingrey, Republican of Georgia, says he is voting against it but there will be enough Republicans to put it over the top. We're not so sure about Gingrey's vote-counting abilities: The entire Tea Party infrastructure is allied against it. Aligned with the White House, which promises a veto, the Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition is against it, as is FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity. Dem help? Other than Heath Shuler, don't count on much. "I think we're united, or extremely close to united, against. No one likes the Boehner plan," a senior House Dem aide says.
MCCONNELL: DON'T CALL IT A COMMISSION - HuffPost has been warning the nation -- or at least the nation of Twitter -- of the silent coup both parties are orchestrating with the creation of a ***SUPER CONGRESS***, hell bent on avenging the ruling class' losses of the 1930s and, we think, steering clear of filibuster-proof kryptonite. The Capitol Hill press, meanwhile, has dismissed the idea as little more than another blue ribbon Washington commission. And the Super Congressmen don't like it (their mouths move faster than a speeding bul... You know what? We'll stop.). Mitch McConnell today: "What I'd like to see, and what I think most of my members would like to see, is progress made on reducing spending, creating a joint committee that gives us a real opportunity -- and I don't want to chastise you guys, but this is not a commission. You ought to quit calling it a commission. This is joint committee of congress, it's in both bills, both the Reid bill and the Boehner bill, with an expedited procedure and a base closing type mechanism to act. It has a real chance of an outcome on entitlement reform and tax reform."
PRO TIP: Abolish direct election of senators. It was a mistake.
SIREN: A HuffPost reporter, who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, relays unconfirmed yet persistent reports that a Phantom Defecator is roaming the halls of the Capitol's press galleries. That's all we'll say about that. Also: GROSS.
IS BOEHNER GAMING HIS CONFERENCE OR DID REID OUTPLAY HIM? - By moving first, Boehner assures that the House bill, which faces a veto threat, will get knocked down by the Senate in time for the upper chamber to send the House back a bill with a ton of cuts that Boehner isn't tied to. In Washington, like in a game of NyQuil Walkout (email us for instructions), the last man standing wins, and Boehner is hoping Reid and McConnell will deal with it. Did the Senate leadership outfox Boehner, whose rhetoric about leadership forced him to move first, or does Boehner actually want his bill euthanized so that Congress can get on with the business of raising the debt ceiling? Boehner can allow a floor vote by appealing to the privileges of democracy, vote against it, let it pass with bipartisan support, and keep his speakership while not (metaphorically!) blowing up the world. That's one possibility. The other is that Reid and McConnell completely outplayed him. And the third possibility: Society collapses and your baby's first words are "protect," "the" and "fire."
Harry Reid:: "I believe the speaker would like to avoid default, but he has a funny way of showing it."
@brianbeutler: Caught @WhipHoyer on my mic, on his way out of weekly pen & pad, "I can not BELIEVE what we're doing." Emphasis his.
SPIN FAIL - A Boehner spokesman tried to ding the president today for not offering a rock-solid veto threat, pointing reporters to the line that says the president's "senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill." Sorry, guy. that's what every veto threat says. That's just how they're worded. We don't know why.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Great Recession destroyed all kinds of jobs, but the not-so-great recovery has so far replaced the lowest-paying jobs at a much faster pace than higher-paying ones, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data. Low-wage occupations saw job growth of 3.2 percent from the beginning of 2010 to the beginning of 2011, while mid-wage jobs only grew by 1.2 percent, says the National Employment Law Project, which crunched the numbers. During the same time period, higher-wage jobs fell by 1.2 percent. In other words, there are more new jobs for retail salespeople, office clerks, cashiers and food prep workers than for machinists, managers, nurses and accountants. [HuffPost]
AS VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN WOULD SAY, "HANG IN THERE!" - Pittsburgh's Bob Poropatich has been working 44 hours a week at a coffee shop and a grocery store since he lost his job as a manager for a major clothing retailer in 2008. "Together both jobs pay me not even close to a third of what I made when I had just one job," Poropatich told HuffPost. "My salary used to be close to $70,000 and with an annual bonus. It's not a fortune, but it's a nice middle class salary. And now I don't know if I even make $15,000 a year." Poropatich keeps a sense of humor even though he's found his experience frustrating, particularly when his former boss came to the coffee shop for a latte. "I live in the city of bridges so I'd have my choice of about 20 or 30," he said. "But I couldn't jump -- I can't swim!"
HERE ARE A FEW OF ARTHUR'S FAVORITE ECONOMIC CRISIS QUOTES FROM OUR LEADERS: "Hang in there!" "This sucker could go down!" "I gave it my all!" Feel better already!
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
BOEHNER PLAN MIGHT NOT AVERT RATING DOWNGRADE - You know what would suck? If -- after weeks of legislative paralysis, market unease and more Tim Geithner media appearances than any of us are comfortable with --lawmakers reached a debt ceiling deal that nevertheless sets in motion America's return to an agrarian economy. That's what might happen if congressional negotiators and President Obama agree to Boehner's short-term fix. Daniel Indiviglio: "So why won't the Boehner plan clear the agency's hurdle? Simple: it isn't a long-term solution to the debt ceiling problem. It doesn't raise the limit by enough to get the U.S. through the 2012 election. S&P does not want to see Congress embroiled in another debt ceiling debate a year from now -- especially not in the midst of an election campaign, when the stakes will be even higher and Congress will be even slower-moving." [Atlantic]
Bank of America, per Sam Stein (of course), doesn't like the Boehner bill either.
DAVID WU ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION - The beleaguered Oregon lawmaker, who was recently accused of making sexual advances toward the underage daughter of a political donor (and something else about a tiger costume), announced via a press release today that he will step down after the debt crisis is resolved (because, let's be honest, only David Wu can fix this). "I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations," Wu wrote. "The wellbeing [sic] of my children must come before anything else. With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." On Sunday evening, Nancy Pelosi requested a formal investigation into Wu's alleged transgressions. Smart move by Wu to only resign if there's a deal: After the government defaults on its debts, society will collapse and there will only be street justice. A allegedly sexually deviant congressman won't last long in that environment. [AP]
Remy, the dude behind " "Arlington: The Rap", has produced a debt ceiling song. "Spending money we don't have/that's the name of the game/They call me 'Cumulonimbus'/because you know I make it rain" Awesome.
(For our New York friends: "Arlington: The Rap" is basically the DC version of "The Murray Hill Song.")
ROMNEY LISTS POSSIBLE VEEP CANDIDATES - Mitt Romneybot, who prefers arid climates because he rusts a bit if you leave him out in the rain, floated a series of popular Republican politicians as his potential 2012 running mate. During a fundraiser at the home of a Virginia Beach supporter (they kept him away from the ocean, we're sure), the former Massachusetts governor -- who recently had Panasonic design him a Toughbook-style outer shell -- floated Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell. Can you even begin to imagine the groundbreaking nature of Romney/McDonnell 2012? Astounding. [Politico]
NEBRASKA'S TOTALLY SOCIALIST ENERGY REGIME EARNS IT MAD FEMA $$$, YO - People often ask why our offices are situated in a giant Kibbutz in downtown Washington. Simple: Uncle Sam shreds crazy amounts of chedda' on us. Joe Morton reports that Nebraska receives a disproportionate amount of FEMA assistance for its energy sector because it is publicly owned. "From 2006 through 2010, about 70 percent of Nebraska's $280 million in federal disaster aid for public entities reimbursed the losses of public power districts, according to state data. Over the same time period, reimbursements to all of Iowa's public utilities, including water and sewer districts, as well as rural electric cooperatives, accounted for only about one-fourth of the Hawkeye State's $1.3 billion in federal disaster aid for public entities. The electrical cooperatives accounted for only 13 percent of such federal aid in Iowa. Nationally, federal taxpayers paid nearly $29 billion for public entity disaster assistance from since 2006. Only 9 percent of that money went to utilities, which includes water, sewer and power reimbursements. The bulk of the money goes for repairing roads and bridges, restoring damaged buildings and clearing debris." So maybe if New Orleans residents get together and slap some hydroelectric dams onto their levies, things might be slightly less awful? #policy. [Omaha World Herald]
@ByronTau: Scott Brown needs to update the "heath care" section of his issues page. http://j.mp/qllpQ6 h/t @bluemassgroup
Jeff Hauser, previously with MoveOn and Majority Action and Accountability Now, is joining the AFL-CIO as a flack. His facial hair will fill the void left by Eddie Vale's face.
If you live in Wisconsin, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Morgan Freeman is the chairman of the Oshkosh Tea Party Patriots. A video ad running in the state takes aim at State Senate candidate Shelley Moore because, among other things, "Moore and her union fought to overturn the reforms that had finally ended a decade of double-digit property tax increases." The ad features a narrator who sounds an awful lot -- but not entirely -- like the honey-voiced actor. To be fair, Andy Dufresne is one of history's greatest victims of government overreach, so Morgan has his reasons. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
HOUSE PHONES/WEBSITES CRASH AFTER OBAMA URGES AMERICANS TO CALL CONGRESS - During his address to the nation last night, President Obama urged Americans to contact their representatives and urge them to resolve the impasse over the debt ceiling. As a result, voters swamped the Capitol's lines of communication as if Lady Gaga tickets had just gone on sale. Reports began to emerge last night that a number of congressional websites weren't loading while a number of others were slow to open. Then this morning came a memo circulated around Hill offices advising staffers that, "Due to high volume of external calls, House phone circuits serving 202-225-XXXX numbers near capacity." Uh-oh! Well if President Obama gets tired of this whole "leader of the free world" racket, he can always try his hand as a top notch telemarketer ("Boca Raton Timeshares We Can Believe In," etc.). [HuffPost's Debt Ceiling Liveblog and Novelty Photobooth]
Jon Ward interviews Home Depot's founder, who says that businesses are fearful of government under Obama. Yeah. Businesses like Home Depot are so fearful they had to lobby the government to implement price controls on swipe fees. Damn government!
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat battles toy frog.
Sure, that Clarendon rowhouse you bought in '03 might have paper-thin walls, a broken dishwasher and is within walking distance of five different Olive Gardens, but you should think about holding on to it. "While the rest of America saw housing prices fall by 4.5 percent compared to last year, Washington-area housing prices rose 1.3 percent." Let's not kid ourselves: "Beltway Bubble" is a term that will elbow its way into the vernacular (unless we can keep these wars going forever). [TBD]
@capitalweather: 91 at 1 pm. Day 33 of 90+ in 2011. The record-setting 2010 had 42 this time last year.
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Something resembling normal weather comes through. For example, tonight we hit the 70s. It's the second straight night in the 70s, after days where we didn't fall below 80-something. Tomorrow: Clear skies, mid-90s. I'm waiting for the day we can hit a high of 89 during the day. Thanks, JB!
- Back in 2009, a New Yorker volunteered to beat box for strangers to freestyle rap to. [http://huff.to/oXA1Jk]
- Uber-realistic paintings of animals on hands. [http://huff.to/pTBTC6]
- The Big Lebowski house is on the market. Make sure you get a rug to tie the rooom together. [http://huff.to/nDSIKw]
- Mariah Carey drunkenly appeared on Home Shopping Network to promote her jewelery brand. [http://huff.to/nXM0dX]
- What would an Apple store in Grand Central Station look like? This imaging also answers the question of what New York might feel like if Steve Jobs took it over. [http://huff.to/rr4jv9]
- Things we didn't know: Salvador Dali did some art for Playboy (NSFW but, you know, artsy NSFW). [http://huff.to/nXyepW]
- A photographer has published a series of before-and-after photographs of joggers prior to, and following, their runs. Gross ... but cool. [http://huff.to/nA1nVR]
- A fluorescent tattoo can track the progress of chemicals as they course through the body without the need to draw blood. [http://huff.to/ndRUbT]
@hprocksoff: Eat shit, pal. RT @justinbieber: school. summer. really?
@ariannahuff: Boehner: "the bigger government, the smaller the people." By that logic, Somalia must be a great model, right?
@pourmecoffee: Celebrating Carl Jung's birthday by telling everyone about my dreams, but they are all late for something and need to go.
6:30 pm: Ed Towns' PAC is named "Effective Leadership PAC." Maybe it's just us, but isn't that kind of the lamest name for a campaign organization? Why not just go with "Palatable Ideas PAC"? [Lounge 201, 201 Massachusettes Ave NE].
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm: The invite doesn't indicate that any lawmakers will be there, but given that the DCCC has a fundraiser tonight, we expect some unsuspecting sophomore rep will be roped in [Fogo De Chao - 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW]
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Allen West is the guest of honor at a "Summer Party" benefiting his reelction campaign. Allen West is definitely the type of guy to pop a beach ball with a pen if it comes his way so ... fair warning [The Townhouse, 11 D Street SE].
8:00 am: K & L Gates PAC hosts a breakfast fundraiser for Olympia Snowe at Charlie Palmer Steak. We've said it a thousand times before and we'll say it again: terrible place for breakfast [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW].
10:00 am - 11:00 am: NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer talks strategy at a "2011 Political Briefing." If hearing about how weak Claire McCaskill's ground game is, then this is totally your bag [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].
12:00 pm: Freedom to Marry -- which spends more time thinking about marriage than a "PR/Media Professional" driving in from Northern Virginia to Local 16 for the night -- hosts a press conference featuring political analysis of the issue of gay marriage from Democrats and Republicans [National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC].
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm:
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