Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Congress Might Shut Down: Something To Do With Helping The Needy

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Newt Gingrich plans to launch a "21st Century Contract With America," probably because "A Bridge Back To The 20th Century" doesn't sound as positive. We're hoping that Rick Perry, who held a pro-Israel rally in New York today, has realized that "Yahweh" is not Hebrew for "YEE-HAW." And in case there was any doubt in your mind that the conservative movement won, Congress might shut down because some lawmakers are worried about the optics of helping people clean up after a tornado. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, September 20th, 2011:

REID WON'T BUDGE ON FEMA FUNDING, SETTING UP ANOTHER SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN - The government might shut down for real this time because Republicans in Congress want to make sure that if they purchase cots and jugs of water for some lazy old fart in Dirt Grove, Kansas, or wherever, who just had his house torn to shreds by a hurricane, it damn well better be paid for by revoking some other old fart's medicine. Really. House Republicans are planning on passing a continuing resolution to fund the government with $1.5 billion in additional FEMA spending offset elsewhere. Harry Reid said today that if such a bill reaches the Senate, he will repackage it with additional spending and send it back to the House. "We're not going to cave on this," Reid told reporters today, refusing to rule out the possibility of a shutdown. [WaPo]

On the House side, Republican leaders are telling their members to keep quiet for the funding measure. Dan Newhauser tonight in Roll Call: "When a stopgap measure to fund the government comes to the House floor this week, there will be no fanfare, no drawn-out floor speeches and no amendments, a sharp contrast from the remarkable debate on the House's budget resolution during the first part of the 112th Congress. By and large, House Republican leaders have kept their word to reform the procedures of the House and keep legislation open to amendments on the floor, an assurance they made during their campaign to take back the chamber. But from time to time, Republicans have found that it is necessary to bend the pledge -- a practice that will play out once again with the continuing resolution."

GOOGLE EXEC TESTIFIES BEFORE ANTITRUST PANEL UNDER SUBPOENA THREAT - The press gallery was flooded with requests from tech reporters this week for seats at the long-awaited interrogation of Google's Eric Schmidt. The company chairman testifies before Herb Kohl's Senate subcommittee and HuffPost Hill actually had an exchange of multiple, non-basketball related words with Kohl today. He even smiled. He should: Getting Schmidt is quite a coup for a subcommittee. The panel's chairman, however, told HuffPost Hill that Schmidt, a tight Obama ally, was made an offer he couldn't refuse. "I recommended to them earlier that it'd be a nice thing for them to stop by and testify voluntarily, also made it very clear where we stand -- I always prefer voluntarily -- this is a case where there would be bipartisan support for a subpoena," Pat Leahy told us. All that and more in one of those really long stories we do tomorrow at HuffPost. A tease: Google has hired 18 lobbying firms in the last few months. Not lobbyists. Firms. And they're shoveling money at Heritage and AEI.

SANTORUM SMEARS PERRY - Okay, that was gross. Still, Rick Santorum, still running for president, visited Senate Republicans today and chatted with reporters who couldn't find anybody else to interview, complaining that Fox News, his old employer, bumped him for Rick Perry, who doesn't know a damn thing. "I was on Fox today and I was set up to do a show and...they put up Rick Perry speaking in New York and I couldn't see him, but I later saw it. He's reading the speech! And so he's up there reading a speech about a subject matter that I suspect he knows very little about and here's a guy" -- Santorum, that is -- "who passed two major pieces of foreign policy legislation...and spent his last four years in a think tank writing about national security."

FEINGOLD: DON'T PRIMARY OBAMA - Russ Feingold, the progressive movement's irascible unfriendly dad to Elizabeth Warren's reminds-you-of-that-wonderfully-helpful-professor-you-had-freshman-year mom, has come out against calls for a primary challenge to President Obama. "I strongly disagree with Ralph Nader. As I've said many times before, I believe that re-electing President Obama is an absolute imperative for our economy, our judicial system, for progressives and for our country," Feingold said in a statement today. Last week, a group of prominent liberals, including Nader and Professor Cornel West, announced that they were seeking six progressives who they believed could keep President Obama honest during the campaign. [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Nikki Haley has admitted that she has no evidence backing her claim that half of job applicants at a local government facility flunked a drug test, a claim investigated and found bogus by your very own DDD. "I've never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you're given good information," Haley told Jim Davenport of the Associated Press. "And now I'm learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something." What else has Haley learned? She has learned that facts don't matter at all. That's why she still supports drug testing the jobless, even though she's admitted the anecdote she used "a million times" to support the policy has turned out to be complete bullshit. [HuffPost]

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'DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL' OFFICIALLY OVER - For decades the U.S. military has done nearly everything it can to boost enlistment rates: It lowered aptitude standards, it ran multimillion-dollar ad campaigns, it lobbied heavily for increased benefits for servicemembers and veterans, it even introduced a military-sanctioned video game. Hell, if there were some sort of military-scented AXE body spray, we wouldn't be surprised (the commercial with women throwing themselves at Mike Mullen would be worth it alone). However the one thing it didn't do was allow LGBT Americans to serve openly in the armed forces. Today, that policy is kaput. At 12:01 am this morning the policy that forbade LGBT servicemembers from discussing their sexuality since 1993 was done away with. "No one should be left with the impression that we are unprepared. We are prepared for repeal," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today. Yay![AP]

Still, as Adam Serwer points out, LGBT servicemembers face a lot of discrimination: "[A]ny of the hardships that..same-sex partners of servicemembers have faced will remain, because of legal restrictions that prevent same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits that married, heterosexual servicemembers get. That includes health care benefits, help finding work, and financial assistance that eases the difficulty of moving and paying for a new home. Same-sex couples won't be eligible for the additional pay given to partners when a servicemember is given an assignment that prevents his or her family from coming along. They won't have access to family-support services provided by the military that often serve as crucial conduits of information regarding what forms of assistance are available and how to take advantage of them. And, when a servicemember makes the ultimate sacrifice, his or her partner will be denied the same financial support that heterosexual families receive. Unless the two had children together, the partner may not even be the first to know about the death." [MoJo]

LAMAR ALEXANDER TO RESIGN FROM GOP LEADERSHIP - The number-three Republican in the Senate announced that he would step down from his leadership position in January and not campaign to be the next Republican whip when Jon Kyl retires. Alexander, chairman of the Republican conference, said that he wanted to step down because he didn't stand a chance at whip against John Cornyn and, c'mon, he is old and well-liked and there's no sense in ruining that with a quixotic leadership bid by leaving an explicitly partisan position, he would be better able improve bipartisanship in the upper chamber. "I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues," Alexander wrote in a letter to his Republican colleagues. "There are different ways to provide leadership within the Senate. After nine years here, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution." John Thune, the Republican Policy Committee chairman and number-four Senate Republican, is expected to run for the spot being vacated by Alexander. The conference vice chair, John Barrasso, could then run for the number-four position. If this is causing our lawyer readers to suffer painful flashbacks to the logical reasoning section of the LSAT, we don't blame them. Alexander told HuffPost Hill that leadership duties were taking up more than a third of his time, and most of that was on messaging. Gets old. [Politico]

ELIZABETH WARREN UP TWO IN NEW POLL - How about that!? A Public Policy Polling survey out today has the consumer advocate and former Obama administration official leading incumbent Scott Brown by two points, 46 to 44 (albeit within the margin of error). Warren's name recognition has shot up from 38 percent three months ago to 62 percent now. What's more, Warren commands an impressive 40/22 favorability rating while Brown's has fallen from 53/29 last December to 45/44 now. This, of course, is Massachusetts, where underdogs regularly lose in the most crushing manner possible, so we still aren't convinced that Brown won't pull ahead in October 2012 when he mows down Derek Jeter with his truck while fumbling with a takeout container of chowder and Warren is asked about it while out jogging in Harvard hoodie . [PPP]

Gary Johnson, the libertarian former governor of New Mexico, will participate in Thursday night's presidential debate. Johnson earned more than one percent of the support of participants in the last five national primary polls, which was host Fox News' criteria for entry into the event. Johnson had better hone his death-related talking points. [St. Petersburg Times]

@evanmc_s: Just talked to Gary Johnson, he confirms to me that he hasn't heard if he's got a slot the debate stage Thu or not

RICK PERRY SAYS UNSURPRISINGLY INTENSE THINGS ABOUT ISRAEL DURING ISRAEL SPEECH - Next year in Jerusalem! ... which is whatever Israel says it is! That was the gist of Rick Perry's address today to a gathering of conservative Israeli supporters. The Perry-hosted event was intended to coincide with the meeting of UN General Assembly and its consideration of Palestinian statehood. "I think there are a number of things if the U.N. does in fact vote to allow statehood in direct conflict with the Oslo Accords," said Perry. "One of those is obviously having the United States send a clear message to the U.N. that we're not going to support you with our dollars anymore -- obviously shutting down that mission in Washington, D.C. I think the message needs to be swift, and it needs to be powerful." More surprising than Perry's staunchly Zionist outlook was the absence of a "Texas and the Jews, two peoples united by brisket" pander. Missed opportunity, governor. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

NEWT GINGRICH TO LAUNCH ANOTHER 'CONTRACT WITH AMERICA' - Groan. Seventeen years after Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans unveiled the "Contract with America" in the lead-up to their 1994 midterm victories, Newt Gingrich will try to revive his flat-lining presidential bid with a "21st Century Contract With America." This is sad. And not adorable sad, like how Ringo Starr keeps putting out albums with Beatles themes. Just plain sad. At least Ringo can still pack a fair-sized venue. Newt is lucky these days if he can fill a Denny's. "It will be 10 times deeper and more comprehensive than 1994," Gingrich told a few dozen people in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He added that the original "Contract" "didn't fundamentally change the trajectory of America." [AP]

Republican Rep. Phil Roe took a break from his day job of saving the unborn to save the born-born. The Tennessee lawmaker, who is a doctor by trade, reportedly performed CPR on a gentlemen who had collapsed in Charlotte Douglas International Airport. "I bet the guy wasn't down probably 30 seconds before Phil was taking care of him. They gave him CPR for like 5 or 6 minutes. They pumped his chest pretty good. It was work, it was pretty intimidating to watch," Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who was with Roe at the time, said in an interview. A reminder that "intimidating" can also mean "to make fearful" without meaning "to compel someone," so Mulvaney didn't necessarily betray some sort of weird Freudian complex at the sight of Roe performing mouth-to-mouth on a dude. Or maybe he did. Whatever. Anyway, good job, Rep. Roe! [Daily Caller]

"Anonymous US officials push open government"

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Monkey versus dog in ultimate play wrestling showdown.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: It will be a while before we see the sun. Expect cold weather tonight and Tomorrow, with threatening rain both days. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- A Seattle radio station is streaming three unreleased Nirvana tracks from the "Nevermind" era. Yep, Nirvana oldie nostalgia is upon us. [http://huff.to/n95lXe]

- "Fuck Yeah Made In USA" is a collection of short videos from various sources about clothing made in the USA. Something hipsters and politicians can agree is great. [http://huff.to/pYLbWX]

- A Best Buy flyer from 1996 should make you a little bit less annoyed that the WiFi on your MacBook Air has been spotty. [http://huff.to/o2ktHU]

- In case you don't want your kid growing up thinking that the son of God is a zombie carpenter from Nazareth or that some dude can part the sea with his hands, Richard Dawkins has just the children's book for you. [http://bit.ly/pLrnpc]

- Making music out of items found at a dry cleaner because, hey, why not? [http://huff.to/qisU8I]

- Young child freak dances to house music, gym tan laundry to follow? [http://huff.to/oP8Kqf]

- Really interesting (re:liberally interpreted) bootleg movie posters from Ghana. [http://huff.to/qylhdS]

- Mongolian nomads see photographs of themselves for the first time in their lives. [http://huff.to/pwc8qZ]

TWITTERAMA

@wise_kaplan: Please, Ross Perot™, you're our last hope.

@pourmecoffee: Going to Gamestop to pick up Warren Buffett's Call of Duty: Class Warfare for Xbox 360.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm: David Vitter, who is the leader of the "How In God's Name Are They Still Here?" Caucus, tries to remained employed by the United States Senate. [The Townhouse, 11 D Street SE]

7:00 pm: Pete Sessions isn't simply a NRCC chair. He's also a man...a man with needs.........a man with fundraising needs. [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Raul Grijalva's campaign has slated three whole hours for the Arizona lawmaker's annual "Southern Arizona Fall Fiesta." [Sons of the American Legion Kenneth H. Nash Post 8, 224 D Street SE]

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Pretty much every member of Congressional Hispanic Caucus is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for the group's CHC Bold PAC...that means Raul Grijalva will be there...which means it'll be a party. [Podesta Townhouse, 131 C St SE]

6:30 pm: Jim Inhofe is the guest of honor at a campaign fundraiser at the c2 Group, which might sound like a graphic design studio but is actually, *sigh*, a lobbying firm. [c2 Group, 101 Constitution Ave NW Suite 900]

6:30 pm: John Boehner and Joe Lieberman attend a fundraising gala for the Consortium of Catholic Academies, which raises money for some parochial schools in the D.C. area. That sounds nice, but the event is being chaired by reps from PhRMA and Goldman Sachs so .... politics! [Capitol Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW]

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Heath Shuler and Jim Matheson attend a fundraiser hosted by the Blue Dog Victory Fund, which is kind of a contradiction in terms. [Morton's the Steakhouse, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW]

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Filed by Eliot Nelson
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