POLITICS
07/25/2012 06:07 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Mitch McConnell: You Didn't Pass That

Somebody must have been asleep at the Capitol subway switch today, because Senate Democrats and Ron Paul both got their way. Reporters discovered new incremental details on Mitt Romney's feelings toward tax disclosure and the timing of his departure from Bain Capital. And for some reason, Democratic voters are totally unexcited for the November election. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 25th:

SENATE GOP ACCIDENTALLY ALLOWS DEMS TO HAVE TAX BILL - Mike McAuliff: "Senators blinked in the political standoff over how much of the Bush-era tax cuts to extend for another year and voted Wednesday to keep current rates for people with incomes of less than $250,000. Tax rates would rise by 4 percent on incomes above $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for single filers. Popular breaks like the child tax credit would be preserved. The extension, passed on a vote of 51 to 48, represents a short-term win, at least, for President Barack Obama, who has been pushing for a similar plan. But it appeared unlikely that the House would embrace a similar measure before the election, having proposed its own bill to extend all the Bush-era cuts... 'This is the legislative equivalent of 'you didn't build that,' [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell said. 'You are not responsible for your success. Washington is. So give us your money and we'll handle for you. That's their tax plan.'

HOW IT HAPPENED: "The Senate vote was by a rare simple majority, which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said McConnell allowed because it was the only way he would get a vote on the GOP plan, and his caucus didn't want to be stuck only voting 'no' on the Democratic plan. Schumer suggested the political reality of needing to back the middle class would prompt action by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). 'I am sure that Speaker Boehner does not appreciate the uncomfortable position that Sen. McConnell has put him in,' Schumer said. 'The speaker knows that if he puts this bill on the floor, his members will have trouble voting against it.'" [HuffPost]

@jbendery: Reid on Boehner. "I care about him."

The vote was Patrick Leahy's 14,000th and Dick Lugar's 13,000th. Congrats, senators!

RON PAUL ALSO GOT HIS WAY - The international central bank cartel has been brought to its knees House passed a bill that won't pass the Senate. Jen Bendery: "In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to audit the Federal Reserve. The bill, which has 270 co-sponsors, passed 327 to 98. All but one Republican -- Rep. Bob Turner of New York -- voted for it, along with 89 Democrats. Paul teamed up with former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) in 2010 to pass similar legislation that became part of the final Wall Street reform bill. But Paul has said new audit legislation is needed because the 2010 bill didn't go far enough. Specifically, he states on his website that the audit called for in the 2010 bill only focused on emergency credit programs and procedural issues, rather than on the substantive details of the lending transactions. The 2012 bill doesn't limit the focus of the audit." [HuffPost]

THEY DIDN'T BUILD THAT - The Romney campaign, in its ongoing effort to disprove President Obama's claim that businesses benefit from government assistance, found yet another couple small business owners who benefited from government assistance. Michael Van Sickler: "Two local business owners the Mitt Romney campaign tapped on Wednesday to speak out against President Barack Obama and government interference couldn't have been more contradictory choices to speak out on the topic." Both biz owners, it turns out, are government contractors. [Tampa Bay Times]

ROMNEY ONCE ENCOURAGED SCRUTINY OF A GUY'S TAXES - Sam Stein: "In the early days of his confirmation process, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner faced heaps of criticism over reports of his failure to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while working at the International Monetary Fund. Among those calling for more transparency from Geithner and saying the reports were disqualifying was Mitt Romney....'I think it's appropriate for the committee to really delve into this matter. If they find it was an honest mistake, then I think he should be confirmed. If, on the other hand, they find that there was deliberate tax evasion, that's a very different matter. Then a person would not be qualified. I certainly hope it turns out just to be an honest mistake.'" [HuffPost]

@RickSantorum: With two of my boys, Enjoying chick-in-strips and an awesome peach shake at Chick-fil-A. See you here next Wednesday!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Neil Barofsky's new book reminds us of the Obama administration's bad foreclosure prevention plan. "One particularly pernicious type of abuse was that [banks] would direct borrowers who were current on their mortgages to start skipping payments, telling them that that would allow them to qualify for a HAMP modification," Barofsky writes in his book. "Home owners who might have been able to ride out the crisis instead ended up in long trial modifications, after which servicers would deny them a permanent modification and send them an enormous 'deficiency' bill ... Borrowers who might otherwise never have missed a payment found themselves hit with whopping bills that they couldn’t pay and now faced foreclosure. It was a disaster." Republicans, it just so happens, are thrilled about this book. [HuffPost]

Here's Jason Linkins on Bailout as an anthropological study of Washington's awfulness.

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

OBAMA TEAM GOING iPAD CRAZY - Colin Clark and Henry Kenyon: "When the Presidential Daily Briefing occurs, a top intelligence official traditionally hands the president a folder with a sheaf of paper inside. The president may read what's inside or have it presented by the intelligence official. Then comes question time, when the chief executive and commander in chief can ask how reliable a source is or question the assumptions of an analysis he's just read. But that will change. The president and his top officials want and will get a single mobile device allowing them to access highly classified and unclassified data wherever they are. The early fruits of the intelligence community's early efforts to do that are visible in the photo above. It shows President Obama in the Oval Office on January 31 using a technically neutered tablet as part of the Presidential Daily Briefing. Instead of reading through the brief, now the president can scroll through the briefing and tap on a link in a story that takes him to background material, maps, photos, video or audio. [AOL Defense]

NON-DEFENSE PROGRAMS THREATENED BY SEQUESTRATION - Joy Resmovits: "Schools, HIV testing, childcare and unemployment programs are all "under threat" as across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, are scheduled to strike in January 2013, according to a new U.S. Senate report released Wednesday. But Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees nonmilitary spending, chose to center a Wednesday hearing on these cuts specifically to examine how the billions lost could affect America's schools. 'Education will provide an instructive example of the kinds of arbitrary cuts [that kick in] ... if sequestration goes into effect,' Harkin said." [HuffPost]

"The 50 Most Beautiful Sentences in The Hill’s Annual 50 Most Beautiful People List" [Vanity Fair]

BAIN BAIN GO AWAY - Just kidding, Bain. You can stay and play. Stephen Braun and Jack Gillum: "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney's actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company. Those familiar with Romney's discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company's home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm's investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press." [AP]

NOT DEAD YET: - HuffPost DC: "Former Sen. Trent Lott is lending his support to help Seersucker Thursday continue in the nation's capital." [HuffPost]

ACCUSED ADVISORS ASK BACHMANN TO PLEASE SHUT UP - Elise Foley and Jaweed Kaleem: "[Mohamed] Elibiary, along with Mohamed Magid and Dalia Mogahed, are mentioned in one of the letters sent to various government agencies earlier this month by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Gohmert. ... All three say they are in no way affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. But it's difficult for them to clear their names, Elibiary said, when members of Congress seem intent on dragging them through the mud. 'They feel like there's no consequences to what they're doing, no negativity, and they just wrap themselves in the flag like they're the only uber-patriots out there. There are real peoples' lives that are affected,' said Elibiary, the sole Muslim member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. 'This is a witch hunt to just make sure that we ruin every Muslim who is serving in any capacity in the government, period.'" [HuffPost]

DEMOCRATS: MEHHHH - Does this mean people don't get really excited about discussing tax returns? Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Democratic enthusiasm about this year's election is down sharply from previous campaign cycles and has continued to drop in recent months, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday. Only 39 percent of Democrats said they were 'more enthusiastic about voting than usual,' compared to 45 percent in February. The falloff from past elections is even greater: In the summer of 2008, 61 percent of Democrats reported higher enthusiasm levels, as did 68 percent in the summer of 2004." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Holy crap look at this tiny kitten.

COMFORT FOOD
By @bradjshannon!

- "The History of Wooing Women Through Song," from cdza music. [http://bit.ly/MmGZQl]

- Filthy cars as canvasses pretty artwork. [http://bit.ly/M91Zyv]

- Here are a bunch of artistic renderings of superheroes as manatees. [http://bit.ly/MmGGF2]

- Walruses make lots of different noises if you ask them nicely. [http://bit.ly/MmGDck]

- Hey, stoners! Here's a trippy video of soap bubbles doing crazy things. [http://bit.ly/M92mce]

- Chick-fil-A damage control spirit animal: headless chicken. [http://bit.ly/M92bh9]

- Bigass likely-octogenarian lobster named Larry set free by merciful guy. [http://chzb.gr/MmGllO]

TWITTERAMA

@samsteinhp: This back and forth between Reid and McConnell over who gets the last word is like something out of Bridesmaids

@NellSco: As a child, Mitt Romney didn't play "Hide and Go Seek." He played "Hide and That's All You're Getting."

@daveweigel: Going to go to Chick-fil-A in a Teletubbies costume, to confuse people.

@joshgreenman: In America, gaffe makes you. RT @TrumanProject: Romney advisor: "...the Soviet Union..." thkpr.gs/PntbHR

ON TAP is taking the week off.

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