HUFFPOST HILL - Swipe Fee Fight, Pt. 432,532,927

10/12/2011 05:49 pm ET | Updated Dec 12, 2011

BlackBerries crashed, which is why you overheard all those Twitter-deprived Hill staffers yelling "POUND SIGN BLACKBERRY OUTAGE" in the Longworth cafeteria. A week after Scott Brown said naked Elizabeth Warren will turn heads to stone, the Massachusetts GOP accused her of using her stone head stockpile to pelt our nation's job creators. And former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain has taken the lead in the Republican primary, a boon to all those single-issue voters who only want a national system of free Pepsi refills. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 12th, 2011:

SENATE TO CONSIDER APPROPRIATION BILLS AHEAD OF JOBS FIGHT - "The Senate will move to a package of three spending bills after it finishes consideration of three trade bills, buying the chamber some time to mull what piece of the president's nearly $450 billion jobs bills to consider in the near future...Senate Democrats had been considering taking up a piece of the president's jobs package, which failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance Tuesday night. But it appears they need more time to decide what part of the plan to consider and will likely move to that after clearing three spending bills by the end of next week...The so-called minibus is slated to include the Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development spending bills." [Roll Call]

@IrisGrim turns one today!

AMAZON FIGHT JOINED - For years, brick-and-mortar stores have been urging states to force Amazon to collect and remit sales tax. That movement has gone mostly nowhere in Washington, until now. A serious push is underway, with major retailer money behind it. The shops have the requisite bipartisan combo. Steve Womack (R-Walmart) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) today announced the launch of their effort to allow states to force the hand of online retailers. There's real bipartisan potential here. Democrats like tax revenue (and campaign money) and Republicans like a level playing field and states' rights (and campaign money). "If you start out 9 percent behind, that's more profit than a lot of those businesses make. I think it's just a matter of level the playing field," Sen. John Boozman, also from Walmart's Arkansas, told HuffPost Hill. "I think it's a states' rights issue. I think the states oughta have the ability to charge sales tax."

DEMS HITTING BACK HARD AT BANKS - Rep. Pete Welch, the lead House Democrat behind swipe fee reform, which the banks blame for the $5 they steal from you every month (your Funyuns budget!), is not happy, per usual. But he ain't after legislation. Welch will be joined by three other Dems tomorrow at 9:45 for a presser, and our reporting suggests that big-bank attorneys would be wise to tune in on their iPhone 4Ss (they have the money for something better than a non-functioning BlackBerry).

YAY! SWIPE FEE FIGHT RETURNS! - Just as lobbyist retainers were starting to trail off, here ride Jason Chaffetz and Bill Owens to the rescue. Bill Owens, the first Democrat to hold his upstate New York seat since the revolution in the 16th Century, won't mind. Chaffetz and Owens are pushing legislation that'll repeal swipe fee reform and our inboxes are already alive with the sound billable hours.

FORGET LIGHT BULBS: TRASH DISPOSAL IS THE NEW FIGHT ON CAPITOL HILL - "Covanta Energy, the likely operator of a new trash-burning system for the Capitol, has a history of tussles with state environmental regulators, and its past problems will likely come under more scrutiny among Congressional Democrats who have already raised concerns about the proposed scheme to turn the Hill's trash into electricity. Covanta has been lauded as a pioneer in the waste-to-energy field, but over the past decade it has been cited in a number of states for violations related to reporting, equipment malfunctions and levels of emissions of possible carcinogens." From Emma Dumain in Roll Call tomorrow.

'HUFFPOST HILL MENTION! MOVE BACK ONE SPACE' - FamousDC published their "Washington Journo Adventure" board game today. The reporter-centric game traces the career development of a typical DC journo ("Lede contains four different sports metaphors: Piss off editor, move back two spaces," etc). HuffPost Hill contributed, along with some other undoubtedly disgruntled DC journos. Make sure you avoid a HuffPost Hill or Playbook mention: It's even more of a black hole than an administration job. [FamousDC]

BORED LAZY OVERPAID BUREAUCRAT TAKES A FIVE-DAY WEEKEND - HuffPost Hill's Bored Lazy Overpaid Bureaucrat (BLOB) has been hard at work this week. She effected an increase in her own structural functionality, she conducted a survey of her agency's telecommunication systems and set about correcting her own telephonic flaw. "It's hard to truly appreciate a holiday weekend when you essentially take one every week," BLOB writes. "Nothing really new to report in the bureaucracy this week. I took a spa day yesterday (all this getting paid to do nothing is very stressful). I've also started randomly dialing in to conference call numbers, just to see what's going on. You'd think people would switch up their numbers every now and then, like with email passwords. When they ask who just joined the call, I alternate between staying mute and breathing really heavily. It's difficult to do the latter without giggling, so that's a goal to work toward..." Thanks, BLOB!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "There are days that I just feel like it's not even worth getting out of bed in the morning," Alan Fromm said, describing his long-term unemployment. "I actually took out the life insurance policies to see how the family would be taken care of if I were no longer here." [HuffPost]

PURE CLASS WARFARE - Nearly 100,000 U.S. millionaires pay lower tax rates than more than 10 million middle class families, according to the Congressional Research Service. [WaPo]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

HOLY CRAP: CAIN TAKES THE LEAD IN LATEST PPP POLL - According to a new poll, Herman Cain is leading the Republican primary field, thanks to dissatisfaction with the other candidates and increased attention given to his 9-9-9 plan (which our office determined was either derived from the first three digits of a New York City limo service or the tax settings from Sim City). "Cain is up 30-22 on Romney with Newt Gingrich sneaking past Rick Perry for 3rd place at 15% to Perry's 14% with Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul tied for 5th at 5%, Jon Huntsman 7th at 2%, Rick Santorum 8th at 1%, and Gary Johnson 9th with less than 1%...There are indications within the poll that Cain's stay at the top could be short lived. Only 30% of his supporters are solidly committed to him with 70% saying they might still go on to support someone else. Those numbers aren't much better for Romney, who only has 31% of his supporters solidly committed, or Gingrich, who only has 34% solidly committed." [PPP]

According to a PPP tweet, Cain trails President Obama 91-6 among African-Americans in a head-to head match-up. It's a good thing that Obama, per Cain, has never been part of the black experience. He just is a major part of the experience of OTHER PEOPLE'S black experiences.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey, meanwhile, has Romney in first, leading Cain 23 to 19.

CRONY CAPITALISM = ONEROUS CROWN - Larry Lessig has a centrist proposal that somehow is not utterly intolerable. It's for the OWS crowd. Lessig calls it "a commitment to non-contradiction: We need to build and define this movement not by contradicting the loudest and clearest anger on the Right, but instead, by finding the common ground in our demands for reform." In other words, everybody hates crony capitalism. It is onerous crown. [HuffPost]

GOP AD: ELIZABETH 'PLEASE DON'T GET NAKED' WARREN WILL LITERALLY THROW ROCKS AT YOU - The Massachusetts Republican party has released a web ad that basically portrays Elizabeth Warren as a class warfare zealot who unwinds by watching Reds over and over. The ad begins with an edited clip of Warren saying "I've have really done three things in my life, I have taught school, I've done research and I have thrown rocks at people I think are in the wrong." What does Warren think is wrong? the ad asks. It answers by playing the video of her making that "we pay for your roads so you should help us out a bit" speech. However, the clip is reedited, featuring grainy zoom-ins and nausea-inducing tilts, making it look less like she's standing up for something she believes in and more like she's standing at a Kremlin podium before a Soviet military parade. For what it's worth, her original "I've done three things quote" was this: "I've done research around what happens to middle class families and tried to understand that." The edited version makes "I have taught school" sound like she's handing out pamphlets on the subway. [WaPo]

BACHMANN TOO BUSY NOT BEING IN CONGRESS TO VISIT N.H. - This past Sunday, during her first visit to the Granite State since June 28th, Michele Bachmann told a crowd, "You didn't see me a lot here in New Hampshire and I'll tell you why: It's because my first duty was to go back to Washington, D.C." The New Hampshire Union Leader was none to pleased with this excuse. "Actually, a politician's first duty is to tell the truth," the publication's editors wrote in an editorial. "Rep. Bachmann's explanation failed that duty." The paper referred to Bachmann's actual schedule, which involved only one vote in Congress on August 1 and none since. Last week she briefly pretended to be a member of Congress when she introduced a bill that would to force pregnant women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound. She quickly departed so she could tell early primary voters how the governments need to get out of our lives. [Union Leader]

@TheFix: Reporter to John Cornyn: "What do you think of Rick Perry's performance?". Cornyn: "He's a friend of mine." Oomph.

Here's Sherrod Brown getting feisty, one day after the Senate passed that Chinese currency manipulation bill: "There's an old Ohio saying: When you throw a rock at a pack of dogs, the one that squeals is the one you hit. Of course they squealed, of course they were unhappy with this. That's going to be their reaction to try and intimidate American politicians." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

BLACKBERRIES SHORT OUT, WASHINGTON FEELS NAKED - Research in Motion -- which along with Haliburton and the Capitol Steps is one of the American entities that probably couldn't exist without Washington -- suffered another in a long line of setbacks today. Data services on BlackBerry smartphones cut out across the country, causing BlackBerry-dependent Washington to suffer a panic attack. Here's what one clearly unselfconscious Hill staffer told Politico: "It's like going back a decade when the only way you were in the loop was if you were at your desk...Getting approvals, going to meetings is all a lot more challenging when you're not mobile. Today is one of those days when every task takes an extra 15-20 minutes because of the lack of a BlackBerry." Yeah, pour one out for the bad times when staffers couldn't expedite the fracturing of American politics (think about how much better Washington is now!). So if you see distressed Hill staffers pretending to be busy by staring at their hands, or witness bored people on the metro LITERALLY breaking bricks, don't be surprised. and making their computer web browsers 80 shittier to account for the absence. If you REALLY miss your BlackBerry, try connecting your computer to a 56K modem. The browser experience will be identical. [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Baby monkey gets a bath.

Rep. Michael Michaud did not have a great day presiding over the House: "At this time I'd like to yield one and a half minutes to the gentleman from North Korea, Mr. Kissell." [The Hill]

CITY ENGAGES IN AUSTERITY MEASURES BY RELEASING A BUNCH OF DOMESTIC ABUSERS FROM JAIL - Laura Bassett: "A monthlong dispute in Topeka, Kansas over who is financially responsible for handling domestic violence cases, which resulted in 18 suspects being released from jail, was resolved Wednesday when the local district attorney's office announced that it would resume prosecuting the cases. Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor announced on September 8 that since his budget had been cut by 10 percent, his office no longer had the means to prosecute any misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases. He began shuffling those cases over to the city of Topeka, which also claimed that it couldn't afford to handle the cases. The City Council responded by voting to repeal the local law that makes domestic violence a crime. Following significant pressure from local domestic violence workers and the media, the Shawnee County District Attorney reluctantly announced that he has decided to resume prosecuting the cases as a result of the city's 'unfortunate' decision to decriminalize the offense." [HuffPost]


- Bear at the zoo is very happy to see children visiting him. [http://huff.to/nLPSRF]

- 1953 short film called Gumbasia that would be the precursor for the Gumby franchise. [http://huff.to/nBIhsS]

- There is nothing more simultaneously extreme and pimped-out as lounging in a hot tub that is being dangled by wires below a 600-foot-high bridge. [http://huff.to/pxLf1L]

- There is nothing more simultaneously extreme and pimped-out that you could put in your mouth than a burrito made of burritos. [http://huff.to/qOcgJb]

- "Fat Axl Rose" is now a meme ("Welcome to the bakery/We've got pies and cakes"). [http://bit.ly/pEuerv]

- For those of you who *REALLY* don't like Brad Pitt, this reedited clip from Meet Joe Black of him getting hit by dozens of cars will really tickle your fancy. [http://huff.to/rfbxa2]

- Samuel Jackson's Twitter feed is as awesome as we hoped ("Can-a muh fukkasay fuck on here?"). [http://huff.to/pfOuF0]

- Bug circus. [http://bit.ly/oUt7PC]


@toddzwillich: Rep. Pete DeFazio (D) shows up late for a committee hearing: "My iPhone is on West coast time it didn't wake me up properly."

@ethanklapper: Nothing. RT @drdigipol: What did one BlackBerry user say to the other BlackBerry user?

@pourmecoffee: It's National Fossil Day! bit.ly/9RLMNV Fossils go back thousands of years to when Earth was created out of nothing.



5:00 pm: THE BATTLE FOR THE MAINE PRIMARY CONTINUES. No it doesn't! It's just Ann Romney attending a Portland-area fundraiser on behalf of her husband, who is probably busy dispatching advisers to help President Obama devise health care policies. [The Marriott at Sable Oaks, 200 Sable Oaks Drive, South Portland]

6:00 pm: Mike Lee passes the hat on behalf of his Constitutional Conservatives Fund. That's right: The front line of the War on the Constitution can be found in a posh Capitol Hill rowhouse filled with service staff and bacon-wrapped figs. [330 Maryland Avenue NE]

6:30 pm: One day, the hosts of Dean Heller's Washington fundraiser will sit their grandkids on their laps and tell them about the time they welcomed the great Dean Heller into their home. No they won't. [The Home of Jeff and Gail MacKinnon]


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Here's your chance to see if John Dingell lives up to his reputation as Washington D.C.'s most hard-partying, booze-guzzling, broheem. Don't let that guy near a beer bong. [Conference Center, 620 F Street NW]

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Allen West takes his benefactors on a yacht cruise fundraiser. You just know that West is one of those guys who will disappear for most of the trip because he will be too busy asking the captain questions. [Capital Yacht Club, 1000 Water St SW]

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Doug Lamborn invites his donors to a "Taste of Colorado" event. Presumably, the sliders will taste like staunch environmentalism mixed with rabid social conservatism. Yum. [701 East Capitol Street NE]

6:30 pm: No, you're the real heroes. Mitch McConnell attends a fundraiser thrown by representatives of the natural gas industry at the American Gas Association. [American Gas Association, 400 N Capitol St NW]

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