HUFFPOST HILL - Debt Vote Delayed
Between House GOPers' obsession with The Town and John McCain's Lord of the Rings analogies, we're pretty sure congressional Republicans have the cinematic tastes of a high school junior. Speaking of, Massachusetts Democrats are convinced it was Scott Brown who wrote that nasty note about your mom on your high school bathroom wall. And in case your faith in humanity wasn't shattered enough by the debt drinking shenanigans, the Tooth Fairy is reportedly giving kids less these days because of the lackluster economy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 28th, 2011, complete with drinking game rules to help you weather the coming debt default:
CONGRESS' ATTEMPT TO SHRED FABRIC OF CIVILIZATION TO MAKE A POINT POSTPONED - Republican leaders in the House decided to postpone a vote on John Boehner's plan to deny your grandmother medicine while facilitating economic catastrophe (it's a temporary fix and S&P has said it will downgrade the U.S.'s credit rating if a long-term agreement isn't reached). The move is headcount-related, obvi. Good God, when will this end? [HuffPost's Sam Stein]
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If you wonder whether you're well-stocked with flashlight batteries and bottled water, drink.
IMPEACH OBAMA? NAH - HuffPost Hill, stuck in a series of eight votes the GOP called so they could get some asses in line, burned time by quizzing Republicans on whether they'd impeach Obama if he raised the debt ceiling without congressional authority. We got zero takers -- making us suspect the GOP is secretly hoping he does it, so they don't have to compromise and there's still no default. Everybody wins! "I don't know anyone who's talking about impeachment within Congress," said Colorado's Doug Lamborn. Would it be legal? "Well, I'll leave that to the legal experts," said Mike Pence. Would you sue? "I wouldn't be surprised to see any number of the more conservative think tanks think that they have standing. I would not be at all surprised to see some of the individual Republican parties in some of the states think that they have standing," said Texan Mike Burgess. South Carolinian Trey Gowdy: "If you look at section five of the 14th Amendment, I think you'll see the word Congress." But Lincoln! "I'm a little reluctant to compare this to the Civil War." You mean the War of Northern Aggression, Trey?
Video of House Dems gathered on 14th St. and Constitution Ave. today to make the case.
CANTOR: THIS IS ALL GONNA BE ON HARRY REID - And you thought the question was whether Obama or Boehner would get blamed. You're always wrong. You're wrong again. "The president has asked for a compromise. What do you think we're doing in here?" Eric Cantor told reporters gathered off the House floor today? (Umm, naming Post Offices?) "We've come off of our bill. This is a compromise piece of legislation...Harry Reid's got a choice to make: Either he go ahead and accept a compromise or he's going to bring on default, something I hope he doesn't do." (Sounds a little more like an ultimatum than a compromise, but we're always wrong, too.) "He continues to talk about the consequences and economic damage that will occur if we go past Tuesday. He'll have to deal with that. I hope he doesn't choose that...It will be on Harry Reid to bear the consequences of the economic damage and I don't want to see that."
Cantor's spokesman pointed to the increase in Pell Grant funding in the Boehner bill as evidence that, really, it's Reid's bill. Wait. Why are their spending increases in the GOP spending-cut bill again?
HAVE THE FRESHMEN READ THE BILL? - Of course they have! They wanted to make sure it didn't cut anything in their district. We posed the question to New York Tea Partier Ann Marie Buerkle. "We have gone over this in depth with my LD, and yeah, in fact, it's very important to know what's in it: we had a lot of cuts we were concerned about that would have affected the district," she said. Such as? "The hospitals, we have three large hospitals in our district, and they were concerned about GME and IME cuts but this is all discretionary spending. It's not Medicare spending, the entitlement pieces." Courage!
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If someone says they're unloading their Treasuries and you hedge your bets by laughing and saying "Yeah, seriously," because you don't know if they're joking or not, drink.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - American children are receiving 40 percent less per tooth from the Tooth Fairy compared with last year, according to a survey by Visa Inc. This year the Tooth Fairy, who visits 90 percent of American children (according to Visa), has left $2.60 per tooth on average, down from $3 per tooth. God damn that is fucking sad. [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Bob Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, extrapolating from other recent Republican budget proposals, has reached a sexy conclusion about the Boehner bill: "If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history." The first wave of Boehner cuts would slash $1.2 trillion from discretionary programs over 10 years. Then a Super Congress will put together a $1.8 package of cuts from entitlement programs, which by Greenstein's reading either means cutting Social Security and Medicare for current beneficiaries, repealing health care reform's coverage expansions, or eviscerating the safety net for poor children, parents, senior citizens, and the disabled. The Boehner proposal, Greenstein writes, fails a "test of basic decency." [CBPP]
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DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME - If you withdraw all of your money, dump it into a pool and dive into it, Scrooge McDuck-style, no need for a drink: You're already making the most of the situation.
BEHOLD, THE ORANGE, STREAKY WRATH OF JOHN ANDREW BOEHNER - Republican insiders are telling The Columbus Dispatch that Rep. Jim Jordan might be redistricted into oblivion as payback for his outspoken opposition to his fellow Ohioan's debt ceiling proposal. "Jim Jordan's boneheadedness has kind of informed everybody's thinking," one source close to the situation told the publication. "The easiest option for everybody has presented itself." What's the Ohio equivalent of a horse's head in your enemy's bed? Bad chili delivered to their doorstep? Help us out here. [Columbus Dispatch]
Roll Call's Ambreen Ali reports that some liberals want the debt ceiling debate to be their tea party-like catalyst. "There's been kind of a sea change in how concerned about this our members are," MoveOn.org Executive director Justin Ruben said. "We're doing literally everything we can possibly think of to get this to move in a better direction."
Boehner says NUH-UH: "Jim Jordan and I may not always agree on strategy, but we are friends and allies, and the word retribution is not in my vocabulary. I look forward to continuing to serve with him in the U.S. House after the redistricting process in Ohio is complete, and for many years to come."
JOHN MCCAIN GETS CONGRESS ALL RILED UP ABOUT THE LORD OF THE RINGS - Italicized and not quoted, because you know he was referring to the movie. During a floor speech yesterday John McCain equated Republicans seeking a balanced budget amendment to ... well ... here it is: "The idea seems to be, if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn in mass against Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all the blame. The Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor." Democrats were tickled by McCain's argument and jumped into the nerd fray. "@SenJohnMcCain, what your favorite Lord of the Rings book?" [sic] tweeted Jim McDermott (We'll sidestep for the moment the fact that all Republicans can do right now is get stoked up by movies). [The Hill]
Wherein Bill Nye The Science Guy is baffled by Fox News' climate denials.
POLL: OBAMA STATISTICALLY TIED WITH GENERIC REPUBLICAN - A survey from Gallup indicates that Americans are waiting with baited breath to find out whether they'll have to stockpile shotgun ammo and Chef Boyardee ... and, more pertinently, who is to blame for that. Forty-one percent of voters would vote for President Obama while 40 percent would vote for an unnamed Republican. After the death of Osama bin Laden in May, President Obama held an 11-point advantage, according to Pew. It's a shame, really, that once we default on our debts, people will be too busy scaring off squatters to actually vote. Fun intellectual exercise, though. [National Journal]
MICHELE BACHMANN GETS ALL MICHELE BACHMANN-Y AT DC EVENT - Most people of faith are, from time to time, forced to reconcile their beliefs with the unrelenting cruelty of the world. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there war? Famine? Sickness? Why does Kevin James continue to make movies? These are deep and persistent questions and shouldn't be taken lightly. At a National Press Club event today, Bachmann was asked what aspects of lawmaking she finds difficult to theologically stomach. "Oh goodness," Bachmann replied, "the tax collectors maybe?" There's a chance she was talking about her past work for the IRS. There was also a chance that she thinks the most religiously difficult part of a job that deals with matters of war and peace is tax collection. #America [HuffPost's Jon Ward]
And Bachmann doesn't want you talking about her totally, 100% not-gay husband. "I am running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency," said the same Bachmann who previously complained that Michelle Obama has "very anti-American views," among other swipes. [TPM]
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If you Google "USD to GBP," drink.
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If you Google "USD to CAD," drink twice.
RICK PERRY LOVES STATES, HATES GAY MARRIAGE, CONFLICTED ABOUT NEW YORK - As Republicans all know, states should be allowed to exercise their own sovereignty, unless, of course, that state is a fake state like New York. In that case, we shouldn't let these Marxist enclaves exercise their right to self-determination lest they turn their military recruitment stations into co-ops for gay hypoallergenic dogs or whatever. That was the general sentiment behind Rick Perry's walk back statement today to Family Research Perkins. Perry was dinged by conservative activists for saying New York had a right to pass gay marriage legislation. "I probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me,' and that it's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue," Perry said. "Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed." [Family Research Council]
Perry might participate in the August 11th Republican primary debate in Ames, Iowa, though his aides say he likely won't declare by then.
Rep. Joe Walsh has earned himself a lot of press coverage for saying that the debt ceiling doesn't matter. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, that philosophy extends to child support payments
REPUBLICANS THINK THERE'S SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON AT THE POST OFFICE - The United States Post Office -- the nation's most beloved outdated mainstay, aside from the rail system, Blockbuster and Congress -- is under fire from the GOP. House Republicans on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy subcommittee think the fiscally beleaguered agency is threatening to close all the post offices in the Capitol complex for political reasons. The move would be part of a larger move to shutter 19 branches in D.C. "If it's a shot across the bow, then so be it. That's politics," Dennis Ross, chairman of the subcommittee, said, using language typically reserved for foreign adversaries and opposing political parties and not legions of people in thigh-high pastel blue shorts. "The bottom line is they have overcapacity in their processing, they have overcapacity in their postal facilities and this has to be addressed very seriously." To be fair, post offices are usually gathering places of some of society's weirdest, most "can I give you this pamphlet?" citizens. Congress is kind of a giant version of that. POST OFFICE UPDATE END. [Roll Call's Daniel Newhauser]
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If you've been feeding your kids Spam to acclimate them to a high-sodium, high-trans-fat diet, drink.
MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICANS GOING AFTER DAN SAVAGE FOR GAY REASONS - Yesterday we mentioned that Massachusetts' congressional delegation -- sans Scott Brown, its only Republican -- released a video for Dan Savage's "It's Get Better" ("It Gets Bettah -- Get it?!) campaign. LGBT groups have since criticized Brown for being the one holdout. "Sen. Brown's absence in our congressional delegation's video sends a message that he supports kids being bullied or harassed," said state party chairman Rep. Carl Sciortino. Brown's office responded to the charges today, probably because Brown himself was hanging some crippled kid by his underwear on a locker. "Senator Brown believes all people regardless of sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect. He has been a leader in fighting for anti-bullying legislation at the state and federal level ... It's reprehensible for Senator Brown's opponents to associate with [Dan Savage] in order to score cheap political points." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has released a document intended to advise LGBT servicemembers on the change in its open service policy. However the organization encourages them to keep their gayness to themselves for another couple of months, Andrea Stone reports.
Chris Christie was hospitalized this morning after he had difficulty breathing. The New Jersey governor suffers from asthma and doctors say he will make a fully recovery. Chris Christie is having difficulty talking. That's, like, a dancer without legs, bro. [AP]
@reidepstein: EXCLU: Norway shooter/bomber says ammo used in attack was bought online legally from U.S. http://politi.co/ol3Mko
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: While it won't be as hot as evenings last week, the humidity will make up for it. Once again, we enter a swamp. Tomorrow: Triple digits, baby! We could be setting a record, which makes it one of those rare days that we'd rather be IN Congress, instead of running away from it screaming. In either case, the heat gives you yet another reason to move to Canada. Thanks, JB!
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Tiny dog very pleased to see dogs on TV.
DEBT DEFAULT DRINKING GAME: If you've Google mapped directions to Mexico, take a shot of tequila (Actually don't: you'll be driving).
- Friendly dog gives his buddy a bath. [http://huff.to/oa2uZJ]
- Adorable boy breaks out his freshest Michael Jackson moves. [http://huff.to/oNP7St]
- The world's most tattooed couple makes the bartender at your local rock club seem quaint. [http://huff.to/pitMPw]
- "Chemistry Cat" is the latest lolcat phenomenon. Familiarize yourself here. [http://huff.to/mTcsMB]
- A science historian explains why the historical study of alchemy is so difficult. [http://huff.to/oRufxn]
- From the Japanese designers who brought you anime love pillows (probably), a device that allows people to be hugged ... without another person present. [http://huff.to/mV59j6]
- Harrison Ford had an emotional letting with Chewbacca on last night's "Letterman." Hilarious ("Haven't you heard? I'm in Cowboys and Aliens! Daniel Craig is my Wookie bitch now!"). [http://huff.to/n2b9uP]
- Electric paper airplane violates everything sacred about America. [http://huff.to/pjsGxj]
@pourmecoffee: Senate will vote down Boehner bill. Then, it goes to penalty kicks where Reid is very feeble even with running start.
@delrayser: WHIP UPDATE: In exchange for yes votes, Boehner offering to weep openly at any GOP member's wedding/funeral/intervention.
@JonahNRO: Okay so if this Hobbits metaphor is not super-binding can Reagan be Aslan?
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: When we learned about Mark Warner's fundraiser at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, The Source, all we could think of was him being presented with a food tower and declaring, "Golly!" We don't know why [The Source by Wolfgang Puck - 575 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
7:30 pm: Lynn Westmoreland treats her benefactors to a Keith Urban concert. A Republican taking their wealthy donors to a Keith Urban really isn't going to help your "Anything but country" response to the question of what kind of music you like [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].
8:00 pm: U.S. Royalty, a D.C.-based band that sounds a bit like 70s rock on even more acid, performs a hometown show at 9:30 Club [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
6:00 pm: Cyndy Hernandez celebrates her departure from the Hill as a scheduler to work for Obama's reelection. Expect a crush of drunk staffers at Top of the Hill [Top of the Hill, 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE].
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