President Obama answered questions on Twitter today but said nothing about that bucket of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Joe Biden got him at Costco. Mitt Romney rejoined the board of Marriott International, which is appropriate because he reminds us of a hotel room. And the U.S. government published a blog post stating that the world won't end this month, though they might have to issue a clarification if a proposal to build a job-creating Death Star is green-lit. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 3rd, 2012:
@jsummers: By a 93-0 vote, Senate votes to invoke cloture on #NDAA.
FISCAL CLIFF: REPUBLICANS UNVEIL COUNTEROFFER - Fans of healthy old people will be displeased. WSJ: "The tax proposal, part of a new, broader Republican plan to resolve the fiscal-cliff standoff, is based on a 2011 effort by Erskine Bowles to come up with a deficit-cutting deal. It would cut about $4.6 trillion from the deficit over 10 years, including $600 billion in savings in Medicare and other health programs--up from $350 billion the president proposed--and change the way cost-of-living increases are calculated in Social Security and other inflation-adjusted programs... The White House rejected the GOP offer, saying it 'does not meet the test of balance' and leaves the middle class with the bill for deficit reduction." [WSJ]
The plan includes a sizeable tax hike. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would allow the payroll tax cut to expire at the end of this year, an aide in his office told The Huffington Post. That would save the government an estimated $110 billion over 10 years, his office projected. The Republican plan calls for capping deductions, closing loopholes, and lowering tax rates. It also may give Republicans a technical out from anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist's pledge, which demands that signatories oppose tax hikes. Lawmakers, after all, aren't supporting a raise in the payroll tax; they would be letting it happen as scheduled under current law. [With Sam Stein]
REPUBLICANS PLANNING TO LOSE FISCAL DEBATE AND SAVE CHRISTMAS - ABC News: "Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It's quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling... Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote 'present' on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes. By doing this, Republicans avoid taking blame for tax increases on 98 percent of income tax payers. As one senior Republican in Congress told me, 'You don't take a hostage you aren't willing to shoot.' Republicans aren't willing to kill the middle class tax cuts, even if extending them alone will make it harder to later extend tax cuts on the wealthy." [ABC News]
A new fiscal cliff poll from HuffPost and YouGov suggests American mattresses are going to be a lot wealthier in the days and weeks to come. Emily Swanson: "The survey, conducted Nov. 27-28, found that 72 percent of Americans say they've heard at least a little about the fiscal cliff, but most are still unsure whether debate between the president and Congress will result in a deal. Only 11 percent of respondents said that it was very likely that a deal would be reached, and only 12 percent said it was not at all likely. Most chose options in between: 31 percent said it was somewhat likely and 24 percent said it was not very likely. Another 23 percent said they weren't sure." [HuffPost]
@jbendery: CONFIRMED: Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy are all 1) unhappy with Obama's fiscal offer and 2) going to his WH holiday party tonight.
President Obama participated in a Twitter chat today about the fiscal cliff. It was mostly notable for his erratic use of the "Shift" key.
DEFENSE EXECS WANT HIGHER TAXES, DEFENSE CUTS - When your budget proposal is less aggressive than one backed by the military-industrial complex, time to rethink. AOL Defense: "Top executives from four major defense and aerospace firms sent a message to Congress and the Obama administration today: the nation expects its elected leaders to lead and the well-paid executives are willing to accept higher personal and corporate taxes on the path to find a solution to the nation's fiscal woes. On top of that, they conceded that the Pentagon budget must be cut even more deeply than the $487 billion already targeted over the next decade to seal an increasingly elusive deal to stop the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration." [AOLD]
MAJOR SHAKEUP AT MOVEON - MoveOn.org, after handing most of its organization over to Van Jones, because he asked nicely, is giving what's left of it to its membership. We're still waiting for the email to hit our inbox explaining: "Dear MoveOn Member: You try this damn sh*t. We're outta here." Here's Justin Ruben explaining it in HuffPost. (Short version: They're going to deemphasize politics and concentrate on their online petition thing, SignOn.)
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Though some politicians complain about unemployed people improperly collecting benefits, Americans laid off through no fault of their own actually save the United States government a lot of money when they don't collect benefits for which they are eligible. In an eye-popping study for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, economists found that the amount of unclaimed benefits dwarfs improper payments. In 2009, the government overpaid unemployment claims by $11 billion. But if everyone eligible for benefits had collected that year, the cost to states would have been much higher. "The additional expenditures in 2009, toward the end of the recent recession, would have been a whopping $108 billion," wrote economists David L. Fuller, B. Ravikumar and Yuzhe Zhang in their recent paper. "On average, the unclaimed benefits are much larger than the more frequently discussed overpayments." …. Yet Republicans aren't too keen on keeping federal benefits through next year, because they think unemployed people are losers. "It's easier for them to stay on unemployment than it is to work," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said last week. "I'm concerned about the high percentage of people who don't even look for a job anymore. It's pretty amazing to me." Asked by HuffPost if people game the system by collecting unemployment and other benefits for which they are not eligible, Hatch said they did. "There is some real gaming going on," he said, not citing evidence. [HuffPost]
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2016 ASPIRANTS GROVELING - Politico: "Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is meeting with big donors in Los Angeles this week and has a fundraiser scheduled for next Monday in the Washington suburbs. Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) have been meeting with big donors, leaving the impression that they're ready to run...POLITICO has learned that Govs. Jindal of Louisiana, Kasich of Ohio and McDonnell of Virginia ventured over to the Venetian for separate private meetings with Adelson while they were in Las Vegas for the Republican Governors Association winter meeting, held last month at the rival Wynn Resort. So, too, did a pair of governors not considered presidential aspirants — Rick Scott of Florida, who is up for reelection in 2014, and Jan Brewer of Arizona, who will be term-limited out of office." [Politico]
Mitt Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, thinks the GOP's far-right immigration stance hurt his candidate. Jon Ward: "Matt Rhoades, who oversaw Romney's campaign, gathered with other top decision makers from both Romney's and President Barack Obama's campaigns at Harvard University's Institute of Politics Thursday for the 'Campaign Managers Conference,' which the school has hosted every four years since 1972. The session was on the record, but embargoed until an audio recording was posted online Monday. During a discussion of the primary, Rhoades and top Romney strategist Stuart Stevens were asked whether they regretted attacking former GOP candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the immigration issue in the summer and fall of 2011. Stevens, 59, shook his head. But Rhoades, 37, answered the question. 'I regret that ...' Rhoades said, before stopping himself, and phrasing his answer differently. Rhoades went on to describe how the Romney campaign may have regarded Perry as a mortal threat for too long, leading it to engage him beyond the point when it was necessary, and setting itself up for a hard-right turn on immigration." [HuffPost]
BEWARE THE WRATH OF BOEHNER - It's kind of hard to know if the speaker is giving you the stink eye since he's crying half the time. Still, consider yourself warned... Roll Call: "GOP leadership has removed Rep. David Schweikert from his spot on the Financial Services Committee for bucking the party line too often. The Arizona Republican's spokeswoman confirmed he was removed from the committee. A person close to the situation said Schweikert was told that 'his votes were not in lock step with leadership' as the reason for his ouster...Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will be joining the Financial Services Committee, which will be headed in the 113th Congress by outgoing GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas." [Roll Call]
It's a great committee for raising money.
Scott DesJarlais, who has made a name for himself telling Hippocrates to shove it, is losing support from medical professionals. Times Free Press: "Political action committees connected to the health industry gave a combined $71,000 to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais' successful re-election effort. But at least six PACs that gave to DesJarlais' 2012 campaign, including local insurance giants BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Unum, said they won't give again in 2014...Another half-dozen PACs representing health professionals, hospitals, nursing homes and health insurance companies said they haven't decided on DesJarlais. The remaining 15 that donated to the physician-turned-congressman did not respond to a Chattanooga Times Free Press inquiry." [Times Free Press]
FIX THE DEBT NOT ACTUALLY BIPARTISAN - Keeping with the new political rule that the more innocuous the organization's name, the more partisan its initiative. "Baby Panda Assassins" is probably the most tree-hugging animal rights organization around. Paul Blumenthal and Christina Wilkie: "Members of the influential Campaign to Fix The Debt struck a posture of post-partisan political neutrality this past week, as they swarmed Capitol Hill to persuade lawmakers to resolve the high-stakes standoff over a deficit reduction deal and avoid the so-called 'fiscal cliff.'... But the bipartisanship is only skin deep, according to campaign finance records and non-profit tax filings reviewed by The Huffington Post, which reveal that Fix The Debt's biggest backers and partners are Republicans and Republican-allied...Of the 86 CEOs on the council, all but 10 donated to political candidates in 2012, for a total of more than $3.2 million through Oct. 17. Of that, 79 percent, or $2.5 million, was donated in support of Republicans, while only 21 percent aided Democrats. CEO contributions to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outpaced those to President Barack Obama by more than three to one. Overall, contributions supporting Romney's bid, including donations to allied super PAC Restore Our Future, reached $1.6 million, accounting for more than half of all contributions made by the Fix The Debt CEOs." [HuffPost]
News from Warrenland: "Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has tapped three top campaign aides to work with her on Capitol Hill. Campaign manager Mindy Myers will be her chief of staff. Senior adviser Dan Geldon will serve as deputy chief of staff. And political director Roger Lau will become her state director." [WaPo]
REP. JO ANN EMERSON TO RESIGN - WaPo: "Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will resign from Congress next February to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, she announced on Monday. 'I am not leaving Congress because I have lost my heart for service -- to the contrary -- I see a new way to serve. I did not go seeking this opportunity, but I am excited about the new challenge it offers to find ways to promote strong rural policy,' Emerson said in a statement. A special election will be held to replace Emerson, who was first elected to the House in 1996 to replace her husband Bill Emerson, who died in office that year. She represents Missouri's 8th District, which lies in the southeastern part of the Show-Me State." [WaPo]
MITT ROMNEY REJOINS MARRIOTT BOARD - Because car elevators won't repair themselves, the former Republican candidate announced today that he would rejoin the corporate board he served on from 1993 until 2002 and from 2009 to 2011. "It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is," Romney said in a statement, presumably made between solitary trips to McDonald's and a retail therapy session. [HuffPost]
No Labels: "Mitt Romney supporter Kid Rock said on Sunday that he told President Obama there are 'no hard feelings' over his re-election victory. In an interview with CNN, the rock singer said he spoke with the President on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors event." [TPM]
The U.S. government wants you to know that the world will not end on December 21st
THE DAILY FOLDS - Find me the most misguided Rupert Murdoch vanity project. Rebecca Shapiro: "After months of downsizing and rumors of its imminent closing, News Corp. announced its decision to cease publication of The Daily effective mid-December. News Corp. made the announcement on Monday. Murdoch called the daily iPad news publication, the only one of its kind, 'a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation' that 'could not find a large enough audience ... to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term.' Daily chief Jesse Angelo, who also serves as executive editor of the New York Post, will become publisher of The Post. According to the News Corp. press release obtained by Business Insider: 'As part of a digital restructuring initiative, the company will cease standalone publication of The Daily iPad app on December 15, 2012, though the brand will live on in other channels. Technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into The Post.'" [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Cat and bird chase laser.
DEFENSE SPENDING CREATES JOBS, 'THAT'S NO MOON' EDITION - Democracy in action: "A petition on the White House's 'We the People' website calls for the United States to find funding and begin construction on a Star Wars-style Death Star by 2016. 'Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016,' the petition reads. 'By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.'" [The Hill]
- The creator of the Bill Cosby sweater ... history's greatest/worst human being. [http://bit.ly/Vgp40i]
- A mashup of "Gangnam Style" parodies. [http://bit.ly/QC4Yk3]
- A timelapse video of all the landings at San Diego International Airport on November 23rd. It looks like the Blitz but with 737s. [http://chzb.gr/WCUoXS]
- A New York City cab... that's a DeLorean. [http://bit.ly/11BT7F1]
- DMX singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is why Jesus invented Christmas. [http://bit.ly/Ubt7tp]
- Twelve unusual questions for Woody Allen. [http://huff.to/XcgVQl]
- This burger robot can assemble 360 burgers per hour -- it's also our new best friend. [http://bit.ly/Ssevsr]
@PontiFact: Rated "True. Also more movie credits." MT @HuffPostHill Fred Thompson (@fredthompson) has more Twitter followers than the Pope (@pontifex)
@daveweigel: WASHINGTON -- A spokesman took questions from reporters today, but gave few concrete answers.
@darth: OK RT @stefanjbecket: I need a photoshop of Bo the Dog using that laptop STAT pic.twitter.com/QWoiUhKg
5:00 pm: Thad Cochran, senator from America's bellwether state -- also known as Mississippi -- raises funds for his
reelection primary campaign. [The Webber House, 218 Maryland Ave NE]
8:30 am: Future Tim Pawlenty John Thune hosts a fundraiser for his
presidential Senate campaign. [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW]
6:00 pm: Susan Collins celebrates her birthday in the most American way possible: With champagne, cupcakes and people writing her checks for thousands of dollars. [Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]
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