HUFFPOST HILL - Congress' Manic Last-Minute Debt Maneuvering

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The House (probably) votes tonight and the Senate (probably) votes tomorrow. After that, we will (probably) know whether barrels-as-clothing will be back in fashion. The Nation's Chris Hayes is getting an early morning weekend television show where he will preach the gospel of Jesus or sell ShamWows or something. Newt Gingrich's Twitter "followers" have an uncanny ability to tweet at you every time you publish the words "Kindle" "Timeshare" or "Viagra." And even though Democrats couldn't advance their agenda if their lives depended on it, they somehow found time to fuse pernicious supernatural beings and vegan cuisine. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 1st, 2011:

DEBT CEILING VOTE UPDATE: HOUSE TONIGHT, SENATE TOMORROW - That's what we're hearing. If the plan can clear the lower chamber, it's expected to easily pass the Senate. A number of Republican defections are expected in the House so Democratic support will be vital to the bill's passage. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have said that they will vote for it, but aren't officially encouraging the rest of the caucus to do so. "We are not whipping, we are doing a leadership survey to see where members are," a leadership aide said. So they're dispassionately counting, get it? There's no clear sign of how any number of members in either party will vote. In case things don't sound unstable enough, Joe Biden appeared before the Democratic caucus and reportedly compared Republicans to terrorists, suggested that President Obama is open to a last-resort 14th Amendment option and, probably, ripped his shirt off and screamed for mercy from the Sun God Ra. The Congressional Black Caucus is urging its members to hold off voting until the Republicans do, forcing the GOP to back a politically unpalatable bill. However CBC members have already voiced their support. Vote is scheduled to take place 7:00 pm-ish/soon. [HuffPost Liveblog and Italian Icee Stand]

Classic Joe!

Jim DeMint says he will oppose, but won't fillibuster, the deal.

UNEMPLOYED LEFT OUT OF DEBT DEAL - The long-term unemployed have been left out of the big debt deal. Under the so-called grand bargain President Obama tried to strike with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), federal unemployment benefits would have been extended beyond January 2012, when they are set to expire. But those negotiations collapsed in July. On Sunday, congressional leaders and the administration crafted a not-so-grand bargain that will cut spending without raising taxes or preserving stimulus programs like federal unemployment insurance. Asked Sunday night why spending to help the unemployed had been left out of the deal, a White House official said, "because it had to be part of a bigger deal to be part of this." [HuffPost]

EPI: DEBT DEAL COULD CRUSH 1.8 MILLION JOBS - The Economic Policy Institute says the debt deal could crush 1.8 million jobs through 2012, due largely to the direct cuts and also the looming expiration of the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits. [EPI]

Ryan Grim is on a hammock this week, not thinking about this political digest.

DEBT DEAL HELPS NANCY PELOSI FIND LONG-LOST LEVERAGE - The former House speaker has mostly spent this congressional term listening to complaints while struggling to navigate a bureaucracy that can't do anything about them -- she's kind of like the Verizon customer service representative of Congress. However, with the Republicans' Tea Party wing going off the reservation, Bob Cusack notes that support from Pelosi and her caucus has become crucial to a debt ceiling deal being passed. "Pelosi is fiercely loyal to her Democratic Caucus, and has heard many complaints from her members about the president. Sources say Pelosi has opted to subtly break with Obama on various issues because a public break would hamper her efforts to pass Democratic initiatives." [The Hill]

Tomorrow in Roll Call, Ambreen Ali reports that activists on the left and right will likely ramp up their activities in the wake of the debt deal that they think is lacking.

In a "Winners/Losers" slideshow posted on National Journal's website, the unemployed were listed as "winners" in the debt deal, only to be later relabeled as "losers". Sudden oscillations in hope levels are nothing new for unemployed Americans, who regularly get turned down for jobs after several rounds of interviews and who are constantly having to make up new excuses for their daily "sit on a park bench and cry" sessions. National Journal spokesperson Taylor West confirmed the switch and told us the change was made as a low-pressure despair system overtook this morning's high-pressure optimism front. "The original slideshow and caption was a sum-up of Major Garrett’s story from this morning and focused specifically on the short-term impact on unemployment benefits (the fact that they were shielded from cuts by the super-committee). But as more reporting came out ... it became clear that it was a more mixed bag for unemployment insurance, with the weight eventually shifting to the losing side." Fret not, unemployed. Here's Joe Biden's classic piece of advice for you: "Hang in there." [National Journal]

@thinkprogress: Mentions on Fox, CNN, MSNBC over the last week: Unemployed/Unemployment: 502, Debt: 7,583 http://thkpr.gs/pVJcB3

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - More American children are relying on government health insurance programs thanks partly to the continued erosion of the American Dream, according to a new study by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The overall rate of health insurance coverage among kids rose 1.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, but the rate of children with private health insurance decreased by 2.6 percentage points while public insurance rates rose 5 percent. "Increases in public insurance are likely due to the enrollment of children whose parents experienced job loss or changes to benefits (resulting in loss of adequate insurance coverage) and because of increasing participation rates among children who were previously uninsured." [Carsey Institute]

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CBO SCORES DEBT CEILING DEAL AT $2.1 TRILLION - The Congressional Budget Office -- an entity that mostly exists these days to make Democrats feel good about the major concessions they're giving to Republicans (concessions that are nevertheless voted down half the time) -- today reported that the Budget Control Act would cut the nation's deficit by $2.1 trillion from 2012 to 2021. So when you're cooking your pet corgi over an open flame to feed your family, you can comfort your kids with the knowledge that China still buys our treasuries (see Comfort Food for a cute corgi video). [NBC News]

A group of protesters was detained outside the House gallery this afternoon. The group of agitators were demanding that Sam Stein be given more air time on "Morning Joe" chanted "Boehner Boehner get a clue, it's about revenue." [Elise Foley's Twitter Feed]

POLITICIAN MENTIONS JOBS - Harry Reid, speaking on the Senate floor today, said Congress should pivot to jobs: "I am hopeful and confident that we can get this done very quickly, this work -- this legislation we're working on now. But we still have to do things. Many people in Nevada and around the country are struggling for the essential -- that is, a job. And we have to move to a jobs agenda." Jobs crisis, your days are numbered! Thanks, Harry!

@jbendery: Clyburn just came tearing out of Dem Caucus mtg and plowed through reporters: "I've gotta go to the bathroom!" #TMI

'SUPER CONGRESS' UNDER ATTACK FROM ALL SIDES - The 12-member "super" panel that would be tasked with drafting $1.5 trillion in filibuster-proof cuts and -- we can only assume -- seducing Louis Lane is being hated on by liberals and conservatives alike. Liberals are worried that the committee will severely weaken the safety net and expedite some sort of Hooverville bubble (side note: we're feeling bullish about Hoovervilles). Conservatives, meanwhile, are worried that the panel won't be able to properly inflate the Hooverville bubble. The White House disagrees. "If the Joint Committee decides as part of a balanced deal to eliminate tax subsidies for oil and gas companies or corporate jets," an administration official told ABC News, "or if they decide to limit the value of itemized deductions for high income earners and the President has called for, these measures would raise revenue -- completely independent of any baseline assumptions." [ABC News]

Is it still too late to call it "Congress Zero" instead of "Super Congress"?

Chris Hayes is getting a weekend morning show on MSNBC. The Nation's Washington editor (now editor-at-large) will be the network's face on Saturday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and Sunday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. Look out, Sponge Bob reruns and food processor infomercials: Here comes Hayes! [HuffPost]

WE SHOULD LISTEN TO HOUSE REPUBLICANS: THEY ARE QUITE FAMILIAR WITH DEBT - You know how some of the most virulent, outspoken opponents of gay rights are actually gay themselves? It would appear that some of the House's biggest GOP deficit hawks are actually self-hating spendthrifts. Take, for example, Rep. Rick Crawford, who in April said that "we’re going to have to take the scissors to the [country's] credit cards." Back in the 1990s, Crawford might have been renting his furniture because of his bankruptcy. Then there's Joe Walsh, who is being sued by a former campaign staffer who claims the freshman Republican owes him $20,000 in back pay. There are others. [Roll Call's Amanda Becker]

"This deal is a sugar-coated satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see." That's what Rep. Emanuel Cleaver thinks about the debt deal. It's unclear whether the lawmaker was referring to "seitan" -- the vegan-friendly meat-substitute -- or to Hell's landlord. Whatever the case, we're partial to Lucifer tempeh wraps (honey-glazed, of course). [Twitter]

MITT ROMNEYBOT FINALLY DISCUSSES DEBT CEILING - Algorithm-driven techno-human Mitt Romney, who would make history as our nation's first Mormon AND firewire-compatible president, finally broke his silence about the debt ceiling negotiations. After weeks of pinwheeling, Romneybot's cursor unfroze and executed the PRESSAVAILABILITY function, indicating that he won't support the debt ceiling agreement reached this weekend. "As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced -- not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table," he said in a statement. [HuffPost's Jon Ward]

Tim Pawlenty, who exists, also doesn't like the deal: "This deal is nothing to celebrate. Only in Washington would the political class think it's a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot be sustained by our children and grandchildren," Pawlenty's spokesman said in a statement.

Houston Chronicle: "Ten reasons why the Texas economy is growing that have nothing to do with Rick Perry"

NEWT GINGRICH BRAGS ABOUT FAKE TWITTER FOLLOWERS - Resorting to a strategy employed by 12-year-old girls and Capitol Hill reporters, Newt Gingrich yesterday bemoaned his lack of popularity by appealing to his robust number of Twitter followers. "I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined," he complained, "but it didn't count because if it counted I'd still be a candidate; since I can't be a candidate that can't count." However it turns out that a communication firm contracted by Gingrich artifically pumped up the former House speaker's numbers by creating fake accounts. So just remember, the next time a Twitter bot tweets "Hey, I've heard about this great iPad deal!!!" at you, just remember: the computer behind that account is probably an avid Gingrich supporter. [Gawker]

The Undefeated, the documentary about Sarah Palin, posted some Atlas Shrugged-style box office numbers. After a first weekend gross of $65,132 in ten theaters, the film earned only $5,200 in four theaters. Seriously, there are John Travolta vanity projects that do better than this. [GOP12]

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ISSUES BIRTH CONTROL GUIDELINES, EXEMPTS RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS - Like a nun chiding dance partners at a Catholic school mixer, the Obama administration is advising the nation's health care providers to leave some room for Jesus. The administration today released a directive forcing health care providers to cover the cost of contraceptives but makes exceptions for religious organizations that oppose birth control. Laura Bassett: "Birth control is widely used, even among religious women in America. According to a 2011 Guttmacher study, 98 percent of Catholic women who have had sex have used some form of contraception, despite the Catholic clergy's strong opposition to it. Moreover, 68 percent of Catholic women and 74 percent of evangelical Christians said they had used a 'highly effective method' of contraception, such as birth control pills or intra-uterine devices." You stay classy, Catholic advocacy organizations! [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Kitten watches kitten video.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: A string of thunderstorms popping up, as the humidity and heat should unleash pockets. Prepare to get wet, but don't be surprise if you don't. Tomorrow: It's becoming the norm for D.C. High-90s, with humidity. Of course, of late, thunderstorms have been a threat. They will be a threat tomorrow. And you know what? If there's one article in Huff Post Hill that's incorrect, I bet you hope that it's hope it's this one. Thanks, JB

COMFORT FOOD

- So there's a (new?) trend of people shooting Nerf guns at bald guys' heads and posting the video of the darts sticking to their domes. [http://huff.to/p0r0Ij]

- Bird will stay on your windshield wiper ... no matter what. [http://huff.to/r50zU0]

- Abandoned baby ostrich was paired with a surrogate mother. The mom is a stuffed toy. [http://huff.to/orYi6h]

- "CUBATV" is a collection of photographs of television in Cubans' homes. [http://huff.to/oZdu72]

- Behold the most unnecessarily laborious (and incredibly awesome) sake bomb preparation in history. [http://huff.to/pshzMc]

- Three British dudes demonstrate that the same four chords have been used in a number of famous songs. [http://huff.to/oMi84A]

- There's a not insignificant chance that declining pay-per-view porn revenues will cause your (non-porn) cable bill become more expensive. [http://huff.to/r1SXSs]

- Corgi lays on its back. That's all. [http://huff.to/pxDh4h]

TWITTERAMA

@TERKELRAGE: It's bad enough that Dems just screwed their base. It's worse that they can't say "Sorry, this usually doesn't happen" afterward.

@daveweigel: OH: "Journalism is the practice of waiting next to rooms for people to come out and lie to you."

@delrayser: Joe Biden headed to Hill to brief Democrats on the Big Sucking Deal.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:30 pm: Congressman Jerry Lewisgets some love from his own Jerry's kids with a four-figure fundraiser. It's benefiting his "Future Leaders PAC" so...y'know...do it for the kids [Acqua Al 2, 212 7th Street Southeast].

7:05 pm: If you're going to watch a crappy baseball team, why not watch them be crappy in style??? Tom Graves provides his donors with luxury box seats at tonight's Nats game versus the Braves [Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].

TOMORROW

5:30 pm: Can you think of anything funnier than Scott Brown leading a museum tour ("Notice the, uh, interplay of light and, uh, shadow")? Join the Bay State lawmaker for a tour of DC's Museum of Crime and Punishment [National Museum of Crime and Punishment, 575 7th Street NW].

6:30 pm: Things members of Congress love: speechifying, legislative gridlock, power ties and -- apparently -- Taylor Swift. A boatload of lawmakers will be on hand for the young country/pop star's DC concert. John Thune, Jo Bonner, Kay Granger, Michael Grimm, Tom Price and Heath Shuler all have fundraiser at the show [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].

6:30 pm: Ben Quayle, scion of one of our nation's most milquetoast families, chows down at a fundraiser held at one of our nation's most overrated Italian restaurants [Carmine's, 425 7th Street, NW].

7:00 pm: When we think of Steve Israel, the we immediately think of giant globs of orange chicken. Right? The DCCC chair and New York lawmaker hosts his "Second Annual Chinese Food and Politics Dinner" [Hunan Dynasty, 215 Pennsylvania Ave SE].

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Filed by Eliot Nelson