A furious John Boehner insisted President Obama "doesn't give a damn" about average folk and Harry Reid sarcastically referred to Grover Norquist as "a real dandy," strongly implying that 1950s-style verbal confrontations are all the rage on the Hill. The ratio of Republicans who publicly believe that Hillary Clinton's aide is trying to undermine the American way of life from inside the State Department versus those who think that's bunk stands at 5:1. And Rob Portman strongly brushed aside VP rumors, either because that's the proper thing to do or because it kinda sucks being thought of as the guy who can make Mitt Romney seem interesting by comparison. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 18th, 2012:
ROMNEY PROUDLY HELPING FOREIGNERS WITH THEIR AMERICAN TAX PROBLEMS - Yeah, his firm might've shut down the plant that employed a sizable number of people in your idyllic little town, but the former Massachusetts governor may have saved an FX trader from Credit Suisse just enough to send his kids to Ibiza... and let them stay in separate rooms. So there. Zach Carter: "During an interview with the National Review's Robert Costa, Romney said that offshore sub-companies in the Cayman Islands help foreign investors avoid paying taxes on investments in the United States. Bain Capital currently has 138 such sub-companies headquartered in the Cayman Islands. 'The so-called offshore account in the Cayman Islands, for instance, is an account established by a U.S. firm to allow foreign investors to invest in U.S. enterprises and not be subject to taxes outside of their own jurisdiction,' Romney said. "So in many instances, the investments in something of that nature are brought back into the United States. The world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe. Sometimes a foreign entity is formed to allow foreign investors to invest in the United States, which may well be the case with the entities that Democrats are describing as foreign accounts.'" [HuffPost]
DEM BILL WOULD SMOKE OUT ROMNEY TAX RETURNS - Alex Becker: "Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to introduce legislation that would require presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release 10 years of tax returns, along with other personal financial information. The legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), is specifically aimed at presidential candidates with complex and secretive financial holdings -- much like the former governor of Massachusetts. It would require candidates to disclose information 'not currently included on disclosures and not easily discernible from tax returns,' and would help 'provide a fuller picture of a candidate's financial holdings and interests,' according to a press release Wednesday from the House Ways and Means Committee. 'The stunning lack of transparency from someone in pursuit of the highest office in the country highlights the need to change the law to require fuller disclosure,' Levin said." [HuffPost]
LAW OF THE SEA TREATY A VERITABLE MAELSTROM - Ba-dum-tish. Running in tomorrow's Roll Call From Janie Lorber and Humberto Sanchez: "Lobbyists from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers had what in any other year would have been the key ingredients for passage -- a hefty list of supporters on both sides of the aisle and a cadre of outside players including odd bedfellows like the American Petroleum Institute and environmental groups. But months of aggressive lobbying -- including personal appeals to Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) from Chamber president and CEO Thomas Donohue -- could not counter political imperatives for Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, two Romney surrogates said to be on his vice presidential short list. Earlier this week, the two Senators along with GOP Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia added their names to the list of lawmakers publicly opposing the 30-year old agreement, pushing the total to 34 - the exact number opponents needed to sink the treaty on the Senate floor. Treaties need an affirmative two-thirds majority for ratification. Since January, business groups, the oil and gas industry -- another traditionally Republican interest -- and wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T had pushed for the treaty, in hopes of protecting newly accessible territories ripe for deep-sea exploration and providing guidance for laying of thousands of miles of underwater cables that transmit Internet traffic."
WEAPONS MAKERS BACK TAX HIKES - Josh Hersh: "Executives for some of the leading defense industry corporations told Congress on Wednesday that tax hikes should be among the remedies considered in order to prevent steep cuts to their budgets. The remarks came during a tense hearing of the House Armed Services Committee to discuss a looming deadline that would see defense funding slashed by $500 billion if legislators cannot find a way to balance the budget. The defense industry has lobbied hard to prevent the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, but it has offered little by way of alternatives. At the hearing, Democratic lawmakers pressed executives on just what, exactly, they believe Congress should do to avoid the cuts." [HuffPost]
JOHN, I WILL GIVE YOU DC ABORTION, PT. 39,223,471 - Laura Bassett: "Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill on Wednesday that bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation in the District of Columbia without exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the sponsor of the bill, said the 20-week ban is based on medical evidence that fetuses can feel pain at that point. 'This is a bill to protect children from being torturously dismembered while they are fully capable of feeling pain,' he told his colleagues during a mark-up of the bill on Wednesday.The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, when asked about the fetal pain issue, said in a statement that it 'knows of no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus feels pain.' Democrats on the Judiciary Committee unanimously opposed the bill, not only because it challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects abortions until the fetus is viable outside the womb, but also because it singles out D.C. women and lacks an exception for cases in which a woman's health is jeopardized by her pregnancy." [HuffPost]
HuffPost's Sara Kenigsberg, who ran the DC bureau's live coverage of primary election nights and other beer-drinking festivities, is headed to Ken Lerer's new video news startup. Our loss is their gain.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - President Obama took a question on the campaign trail Monday from a little boy who asked if his father, an unemployed construction worker, would find a job before his unemployment insurance runs out. The president responded that he hoped the boy's father would find work, but that if he doesn't, he hoped the unemployment benefits would still be there. "Now, we tried to extend unemployment insurance beyond normal right after the recession hit. We were able to extend it again in 2010. It's been harder now to get Congress to extend it further," Obama said. "And so we'll continue to negotiate with Congress to make sure that unemployment is there. But the most important thing I want to do is make sure your dad can get a job." Two million people will be cut off from benefits when federal unemployment insurance expires the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, but Congress is not ready to worry about it. The Huffington Post asked lawmakers on Tuesday if preserving unemployment insurance in 2013 is on their radar. "No, it's not," Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of Senate committee that oversees unemployment insurance, said as he boarded a Senate elevator. "I have not heard any discussion about what we can do there," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has made a lot of noise lately about safety net programs like food stamps and Social Security Disability Insurance. "I have not given thought to what precisely we ought to do, whether it's phasing down or what precisely we ought to do, whether it's phasing down or what." [HuffPost]
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Harry Reid this morning suggested that the Senate do away with the motion to proceed. The proposal came during a heated 40-minute exchange with Mitch McConnell in which the Democratic leader accused his Republican counterparts of obstructionism and the Republican leader accused Reid of extremism. The whole thing ended with a reference to Grover Norquist, who Reid speculated "must be a real dandy."
Speaking of partisan rancor, you knew John Boehner was furious today because he broke out a couple of PG-13 swears. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama is too busy attacking Mitt Romney to care about middle-class Americans, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) charged Wednesday. Obama 'doesn't give a damn about middle-class Americans who are out there looking for work,' Boehner told Capitol Hill reporters. 'What he's trying to do is distract the American people in order to win his own reelection.'" He also said "hell" ::puts hand to agape mouth::. [HuffPost]
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU GETS FIRST SCALP - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its first enforcement action Wednesday morning, targeting Capital One for deceptive marketing tactics. Roughly two million Capital One customers will receive a full refund, the agency said, at a cost of $140 million to the financial institution. Under the settlement, Capital One is also required to pay $25 million to the CFPB. Consumers due refunds need take no further action. If they are still Capital One customers, the money will be credited to their accounts. If they're not, a check will be sent their way. Capital One was charged by the CFPB with tricking customers into buying add-on products, such as credit monitoring, sometimes by telling them there was no cost and other times by insisting the purchase was mandatory or otherwise lying about the product. [HuffPost]
HOUSE GOP WANTS TO AVERT SHUTDOWN CRISIS - Because we're a country that enjoys roller coasters and the KFC Doubledown, every few months we like to flirt with a near-total shutdown of our federal government. However because this is an election year, we've put our national deathwish on hold and Republicans are adjusting accordingly. Politico: "In early September, House Republican leaders want to pass a three-month temporary funding measure that sticks to last year's debt-limit agreement, according to aides involved with the planning. But that could spark a fight with some House and Senate conservatives who yearn for the lower funding numbers in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget... But while higher spending levels might irk conservatives who are itching for a funding fight, it's aimed at comforting Republicans in both chambers who see political peril in drawing attention away from the economy with a battle that could shut down the government. They'd like for the fight to end quietly this year in the hopes a Republican sweep in November would allow them to freely rewrite spending bills in early 2013." [Politico]
Romney hasn't fully released his returns from 2010, the one year he disclosed some of them. Romney released his 2010 tax return in January of this year, a document that first informed voters about the existence of his Swiss bank account and financial activities in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But people who own foreign bank accounts are required to file a separate document with the IRS that provides additional details on such overseas bank holdings, and Romney has not released that form to the public. [With Carter]
REPORT: CHRIS CHRISTIE TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT REPUBLICAN CONVENTION - We're guessing the governor would prefer to use the platform to rattle off a list of people he thinks are huge putzes (My fellow Americans... Pat Riley, Ed Schultz, Joe at the sandwich shop on Hamilton Ave...) so his handlers have their work cut out for them trying to convince him to incorporate stirring calls for unity and the like. NBC News: "The selection of Christie, though, would seem to suggest that Christie is not likely the choice by Mitt Romney to serve as the GOP's vice presidential nominee. Typically, the keynote speaker is separate from the vice presidential nominee, who, like the presidential nominee, speaks on separate nights." [NBC News]
Or not? "Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports. Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it. " [WaPo]
ROB PORTMAN SAYS WORDS THAT AREN'T 'I WILL NOT BE MITT ROMNEY'S VICE PRESIDENT' - And yet here we are telling you about it! "It is maybe even truer. No look, I am happy where I am," he told radio station WTVN today. "I'm fortunate to get to represent our state, and I was elected in 2010 because of my interest in trying to help move our country forward and our state forward here in the US Senate, so that's where I intend to stay." For all we care he could've professed a desire to go skinny dipping in a vat of Cool Whip -- it would've had just as much effect on his VP prospects. [WTVN]
From the department of "Ahhhh, we see what you did there!" American Bridget and Courage Campaign are launching "Mitt Gets Worse" to highlight the candidate's anti-LGBT views and objectives.
MCCAIN DEFENDS ANTHONY WEINER'S WIFE AGAINST WEIRD TREASON CHARGES - Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland got it in their heads this week -- maybe during their bi-weekly Revolutionary War live action roleplay meetup -- to publicly speculate that former Hillary Clinton aide and wife of Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, is part of a radical Muslim conspiracy to infiltrate the State Department. The group went so far as to send a letter to federal law enforcement agencies requesting they look into the matter. John McCain stepped in today, denouncing the accusation on the Senate floor. "These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant," he said. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Polar bear mom helps polar bear cub get out of the polar bear water.
CAPITOL POLICE ASKED TO HIDE THEIR INK - Which is totally hypocritical when you consider the JUGGALOZ 4 EVA that Harry Reid has plastered on both his forearms. BuzzFeed: "U.S. Capitol Police officers are pushing back against efforts by their bosses to impose a strict new dress code on them that would force officers with tattoos to wear long sleeve uniforms - even in Washington's brutal summer heat. The effort by police officials to impose a new dress code on Capitol cops comes even as tattoos have lost their stigma, and a growing number of lawmakers -- including Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr and Duncan Hunter and Sen. Jim Webb -- had work done. The tattoo rules, and a less controversial body modification rule, are part of a larger package of some 100 new and modified rules human resource officials pushed through in the waning days of former Police Chief Phillip Morse's tenure in May. 'This was never given to the union to review and negotiate on,' said Jim Konczos, president of the Capitol Police union. In fact, according to Konczos, when HR finally turned over the package of new rules to the union for review -- after they had been signed -- they declined to provide them with any guidance on where changes were being made." [BuzzFeed]
- "The Wire" with LEGOs. "Avon Blocksdale," the Bunk's hair... it's fantastic. [http://bit.ly/NyC3rB]
- How much college debt costs, in PBRs. [http://bit.ly/NHCtu5]
- Look at these local news people pretending they're clever. [http://bit.ly/NGcfxn]
- Disabled cat has wheels, but needs rims to attract the ladies. [http://bit.ly/NzOnHS]
- The history of PC games, set to an infectious beat (not that Sim City 2000 needs to be made any more infectious). [http://bit.ly/NzKGn3]
- Reddit (and PCIP) saves another guy's life. [http://chzb.gr/NzPMy9]
- Illustrations of Mardi Gras floats from the 1880s. [http://bit.ly/Q1v1Bt]
@daveweigel: Kinda weird how we wait for quotes/gaffes to reveal what pols REALLY THINK, instead of, like, checking the policy.
@pourmecoffee: Chris Christie selected to give GOP convention keynote. Topic: "Everybody Shut Up And Do What I Say Right Now"
@mbrownerhamlin: It'd be hilarious if McCain campaign alum released 20+ years of Romney tax returns
6:00 pm: David Vitter attends a fundraiser benefiting his
Can't Believe I'm Still Here But Let's Just Let This Thing Ride PAC reelection campaign. John Cornyn will also be there, enjoying the ride. [NRSC HQ, 425 2nd Street NE]
7:00 pm: Roger Wicker -- you know, the white guy with the white hair from that southern state -- is the guest of honor at a fundraising dinner benefiting his reelection campaign. [Ruth Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW]
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm: Eight aspiring Republican members of Congress from California are trucked in from their districts for a fundraiser with John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy. Democrats are putting a lot of their hopes in California so expect the leaders to really put their backs into this one. [Capitol Hill Club 300 First Street SE]
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