Congress has botched its job so badly that serious people are seriously talking about asking the Treasury to mint a trillion dollar coin and sell it to the Fed. John Boehner might be out of tears. And we must've missed the notes sent out by the White House and Treasury to mark Elizabeth Warren's last day. If we didn't know better, we'd think they were glad to see her go. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, July 29th, 2011. Happy 46th birthday, Medicare. Nice knowing you.
Eliot Nelson is gone. He'll come back later.
BOEHNER BILL PASSES HOUSE - The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday to raise the debt ceiling and cut $22 billion from next year's spending, as part of a power-play by Speaker John Boehner that will nonetheless die in the Senate later Friday evening. "I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States," Boehner said on the House floor. "But a lot of people in this town can never say yes."
NEXT MOVE - Sam Stein: The Boehner bill will "be adopted by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and replaced with legislative language that his office is working on with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Because Reid is set to file for cloture on the bill before midnight on Friday, the window to work out the remaining difference is precariously small. According to the Democratic officials, it could be as short as four and a half hours. The goal is to target moderate Republican Senators as well as those who have worked on other debt-reducing compromises in the past to help reach 60 votes. At the briefing, the Democratic officials specifically listed Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and the GOP members of the Gang of Six as targets. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has warned against the dangers of default, and John Thune (R-S.D.), who has suggested that Reid's bill would pass the Senate, were also mentioned as potential 'yes' votes." [HuffPost]
CONGRESS MAKING WORLD REALLY NERVOUS - Mike McAuliff: "Senate Democrats think they see a path to raising the nation's debt ceiling, but it will take the country down to the wire -- if Republicans go along....Because of Senate parliamentary rules, if Reid gets the legislation rolling at some point Friday, as he promised in his news conference, then the Senate would have to hold a series of votes that could not finish until Tuesday unless all the Republicans relented. It will be hard enough, as Reid suggested, just to get the few GOP senators needed to advance through a 60-vote filibuster threshold. Chuck Schumer said another compromise or two and the gravity of the situation should make it possible for Republicans get on board. 'Since it will be the last train leaving the station, we expect Senate Republicans will give it a long, careful look,' Schumer said." [HuffPost]
@WBUR: Sen. Brown tells WBUR parties need to work across the aisle to resolve debt-ceiling impasse; he'd vote for Reid's plan
@LisaMurkowski: I told @BloombergNews today that ‘compromise’ is not a dirty word: bloom.bg/oAOteD
It's inconceivable that a Democratic senator would get in the way, right? Remember Ben (I hate health care reform) Nelson? He was still waiting to make up his mind on the Reid plan. "We need to look until the final version is done," Nelson said. Oh, and now we have Joe Manchin, who, when asked if he thought he could support Reid's plan said, "I would hope so."
MOVEON: NO SUPER CONGRESS! The liberal group is now Harry Reid's Lex Luthor. MoveOn head Justin Ruben: "No one is fooled by the talk in Washington. The reason that Republicans want a ‘Super Congress’, especially one that triggers automatic cuts, is because it would let them force through dramatic cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Democrats, who've long defended these programs, must not go along. As the clock ticks towards Tuesday’s deadline, MoveOn’s 5 million members, along with the vast majority of Americans, will not stand for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts -- not now, and not six months from now."
Here's video of MoveOn's rally at the Capitol.
INVOKE THE 14TH - Rep. John Larson, Democratic caucus chairman, says Obama might have to invoke the 14th Amendment to get the job done. "I know the president has resisted this but he is and still remains Horatio at the bridge," he said after a caucus meeting. "It is our sincere hope that...we would be able to reach a legislative conclusion, but if not, faced with these perilous events...perhaps the president would reluctantly have to do this."
Jeffrey Rosen digs into the 14th Amendment thing and finds it workable.
14th Amendment, meet the trillion dollar coin.
NO TEARS, JUST LOVE - Boehner shared a message of love with his team at the GOP conference meeting, despite, y'know, yesterday. "He said, 'I love all of you,'" Rep. Mike Simpson said. "He is a happy warrior." No tears were shed at the meeting, Simpson reported.
HOW BOEHNER DID IT - Many of the hold-outs were convinced by the new provision on the Balanced Budget Amendment, which makes BBA passage required to raise the debt ceiling and makes the bill even more utterly un-passable in the Senate. But hey, it won over Reps. Mo Brooks, Jeff Flake and (probably) Louie Gohmert!
WORKING, NON-WORKING PEOPLE SCREWED - Either we default next week and jack interest rates, or we don't default because lawmakers have agreed to slash the federal spending that's propped up the economy. "No matter how the debt crisis ends, the economy will probably take a hit," writes AP reporter Christopher Rugaber. "The question is how big." Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisors "estimates Reid's plan would cut annual economic growth by one-fourth of a percentage point through September 2015" and that "Boehner's would shave annual growth by a tenth of a point over the same period." Great work, guys. [AP]
This sucker is in desperate need of its "John, I will give you D.C. abortion" breakthrough moment.
ELIZABETH WARREN'S FAREWELL NOTE - Shahien Nasiripour: "Elizabeth Warren, rebuffed by the White House, today leaves the consumer agency she conceived of and created to return to academic life at Harvard Law School....Warren sent a farewell note to the nearly 500 staffers she hired and inherited from other federal agencies. "I leave this agency, but not this fight," Warren wrote. "The issues we deal with -- a middle class that has been squeezed and business models built on tricks and traps -- are deeply personal to me, and they always will be." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The economy sucks so bad. The Commerce Department announced Friday a significant downward revision to its estimates of GDP growth for the past year. "From the start of the recession at the end of 2007 to the end in June of 2009, the U.S. economy shrank 5.1 percent," writes AP reporter Martin Crutsinger. "That is 1 percentage point worse than the previous estimate that the recession reduced total output during that period by 4.1 percent." The Great Recession just keeps getting greater. [AP]
UPSIDE DOWNER - Staffers for Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) have reached out to Ernie Soto, a constituent, after reading about his housing predicament in the 7/14 DDD. Soto, a Republican who has voted for Pearce, is trying to take advantage of a federal program that brings borrowers current on their mortgage with a loan that's eventually forgiven if they stay current. Soto fell behind on his mortgage, gave up and moved out of the Alamogordo house last year after a series of economic hard knocks. Now that he's got a new job and moved back in, Pearce's office wants to help him stay.
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DAILY CALLER'S IDIOTIC AND WRONG CHEAPSHOT ON THE NYT - An unbearably stupid Daily Caller story accused the New York Times of collaborating with the White House because a reporter asked administration aides what hashtag they were using to encourage people to goose their representatives in Washington. Yes, the reporter asked the White House a question. That's called reporting. Try it, Daily Caller, you might just like it. Erik Wemple is on the case: "An inquiry to the Daily Caller reporter behind the story, Neil Munro, is pending." [WaPo]
Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong -- he of the suspect "Journolist" series -- is heading to Roll Call.
BERNIE SANDERS GETS HIS CLASS WAR ON IN WSJ - "The rich are getting richer. Their effective tax rate, in recent years, has been reduced to the lowest in modern history. Nurses, teachers and firemen actually pay a higher tax rate than some billionaires. It's no wonder the American people are angry." [WSJ]
Gallup finds that Americans support funding for Planned Parenthood by a 55-40 margin.
THE SAMUELSON SOLUTION - Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson rails once more against greedy old people in a Friday column. Commenter MarkMacDonald hilariously cheers him on: "Thank you Mr. Samuelson for stating flatly what I have believed for many years: seniors are eating the seed corn of the future and there is no end in sight. I am 54 years old and have made a commitment not to live longer than 70." Great plan, guy. Let's call it the Samuelson Solution. [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Back in 1995, MTV host Kurt Loder explained the internet. It was every bit as 1990s-tastic as you'd imagine.
CARLY'S CANNABIS CORNER - Cannabis Corner recently asked her parents for summer reading recommendations and is proud to report back that a certain father of a certain Cannabis Corner columnist did not disappoint. His required reading? "The Cannabis Closet: First Hand Accounts of the Marijuana Mainstream," by the staff over at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish. We'll be picking up our copy this weekend. Meanwhile, Cannabis Corner has been hard at work from our new outpost in San Francisco, the Cannabis Capital of America. Our first order of business: Dispatch HuffPost reporter Laura Paull to cover the crisis in Isleton, a tiny town of 800 residents up near Sacramento that recently lost hundreds of thousands of dollars responding to a grand jury investigation into its lucrative marijuana farm. "They treated us like we're criminals," said distressed Isleton Police Chief Rick Sullivan. "And we coulda been growing asparagus for all anyone would know." Thanks, Carly!
OUR INTERNS ARE TOO FAMOUS - HuffPost D.C. interns Jordan Howard, Alex Becker, Tyler Kingkade and Associate Politics Editor Paige Lavender headed to Capitol Hill Thursday for a high-level meeting with key Washington influence brokers Michaele and Tareq Salahi over drinks at the FamousDC/Roll Call happy hour. Becker interviews Michaele and an Australian man in suit-shorts in this ridiculous picture. According to Becker, the Salahi's were (seriously) not invited. [FamousDC]
JB'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Lows in the mid-80s, which is actually a bit less than last week. Odd, considering that the temperatures are a bit higher than that of last week. Tomorrow and Sunday: Mostly sunny skies, with highs in the mid-90s, a bit of humidity, and cooler nights. Beware of falling debt ceilings. Thanks, JB!
- "Spock Is Not Impressed" is a blog dedicated to pictures of Spock looking ... unimpresed [http://huff.to/qTWBf1]
- Since 1994, a photographer has taken it upon himself to photograph America's libraries. We think it's cool. Shut up. [http://huff.to/qJoxUl]
- Speaking of photographed Americana, some 1940s Kodachromes of production lines. [http://huff.to/nSF9t6]
- Adorable (?) little animation depicting New York's 1977 blackout. [http://huff.to/qLxXWz]
- Eric Cantor's Bitch Face. [http://bit.ly/omtF1i]
- An article from the turn of the 20th century speculating what life would be like in 100 years. [http://bit.ly/oGhME2]
- Hitler Cat cannot haz adoption. [http://bit.ly/omtF1i]
- Adorbs furry critters. [http://bit.ly/oUaBnL]
@RyanJReilly: Man remember that scene in The Town where they couldn't get enough votes to get into the car?
@GwynethPaltrow: Who do I have to bang to get an advance copy of the new @coldplay album? I mean, really.
@AnnieLowrey: So who's buying cigarettes to prepare for the barter economy this morning, hm?
Today - Tomorrow: A fundraising getaway that couldn't be more Wisconsin if Sean Duffy built a golf course made of cheese and then treated his benefactors to 18 holes: The Wisconsin congressman takes his donors on "A Weekend in Hayward, WI for the Lumberjack World Championships" #America [Hayward, WI].
Today - Tomorrow: The CHC's Ray Lujan raises dough for the caucus' CHC BOLD PAC (Caps! Ahhh! Bold!). Say hi to Ray and sunny Maryland [Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, 100 Heron Blvd. at Route 50, Cambridge].
Tomorrow: 6:00 pm: Kirsten Gillibrand has come a long way from her Upstate New York political beginnings. She attends a fundraiser in Sag Harbor. Yep. A long way [The Home of Mitch Draizin and Phillipe Brugere-Trelat - Sag Harbor].
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