Scott Brown might become a contributor to Fox News, where he'll get to speak to Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly daily, but, alas, not to kings and queens. Hallmark's lobbyists are diverting some of their resources from making Valentine's Day a national holiday to fighting the Postal Service's cancellation of Saturday mail delivery. And President Obama nominated the CEO of REI to be his next secretary of the Interior and dad clothes. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 6th, 2013:
TONIGHT ON FOX: 'CONBROSATIONS WITH SCOTT BROWN' - We Bqhport You Bqhside: "Scott Brown is in discussions with Fox News about becoming a contributor, a spokesperson for the cable network confirmed to POLITICO's Mike Allen. A source told POLITICO that Brown has told people he's working out a deal to offer commentary." [Politico]
A date has been set for the president's upcoming trip to Israel. Haaretz: "The U.S. president's visit is expected to take place after the new Israeli government is already formed. The assumption is that this will happen by mid-March, and a likely date for the visit is March 21. According to a senior Israeli official, the visit may be postponed until after Passover if the coalition-building process is delayed." [Haaretz]
JOHN BOEHNER ON IMMIGRATION: '....IMMIGRATION' - Elise Foley: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hedged on Wednesday when asked whether he agrees with his number two, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), that undocumented young people should be given a pathway to citizenship, but said he was open to discussing the idea.'There are a lot of members with a lot of good ideas, and there's a lot of bipartisan work going on here in the House, and bipartisan work going on in the Senate,' Boehner told reporters at a press conference. 'I want to do everything I can to foster this continuing conversation in a bipartisan fashion to deal with what is a very difficult issue in our country. But it's certainly worthy of consideration.'" [HuffPost]
Joe Biden administered the (ceremonial) oath of office to Secretary of State John Kerry this afternoon. There were no frisking jokes.
The 69th Annual Congressional Dinner is tonight at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It's a glamorous occasion when lawmakers and members of the Capitol press corps rub shoulders with... lawmakers and members of the Capitol press corps. OK, so the White House Correspondents Dinner it ain't, but a bunch of people with questionable social skills will be getting sloshed, so there will undoubtedly be stories. Roll Call is sponsoring the after-dinner reception.
Speaking of Roll Call, the Capitol Hill rag will publish its "Fabulous 50" on Monday, its annual ranking of Hill staffers to watch. Thankfully, unlike some other trade publication's ranking, no one is ranked by beauty.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would slash unemployment benefits and cause the state to lose roughly $600 million worth of extended jobless compensation paid entirely by the federal government. The measure would reduce the maximum weekly benefit from $530 to $350 per person. If it passes, North Carolina workers will no longer receive long-term compensation starting in July, since states cannot remain eligible for federal unemployment insurance if local lawmakers cut weekly benefit amounts. An estimated 80,000 people would miss out on federal extended benefits, according to the North Carolina Justice Center, a worker advocacy nonprofit. At $25 million per week, the total loss over time amounts to more than $600 million. Policy experts said the move would be unprecedented. "It is pretty amazing," the center's Alexandra Sirota said in an interview. "As far as we know, no other state has rejected federal dollars to push that level of benefit cuts." [HuffPost]
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PURVEYOR OF KAYAKS YOU NEVER USE NOMINATED FOR INTERIOR DEPARTMENT - The fleecing of America, literally. AP: "President Barack Obama has picked Sally Jewell, a business executive who has earned national recognition for her support of outdoor recreation and habitat conservation, to lead the Interior Department, the White House said Wednesday. Jewell is the president and chief executive officer at the outdoors company Recreational Equipment, Inc., known as REI, which sells clothing and gear for outdoor adventures with more than 100 stores across the country. Before joining Kent, Wash.-based REI in 2000, Jewell worked in commercial banking and as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corp. She took the top post at REI in 2005. If confirmed, Jewell would replace current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who held the post throughout Obama's first term. Salazar announced last month that he would step down in March. Jewell, 56, donated $5,000 to Obama's re-election effort. She would be the first woman in Obama's crop of second-term Cabinet nominees. The White House faced criticism that the new Cabinet lacked diversity after Obama tapped a string of white men for top posts, but Obama promised more diverse nominees were in the queue for other jobs." [AP]
Gov. Rick Scott, who is about as loved in Florida as a category 4 hurricane, is planning to spend $100 million on his reelection. Politico; "Scott is no stranger to heavy spending; the former hospital care executive put some $73 million of his own money into an insurgent 2010 primary campaign and a narrow general election win. His TV ads saturated the Florida airwaves for months. But Scott's 2014 campaign -- possibly pitting him against party-switching former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist as the Democratic candidate -- won't just be a jacked-up version of the 2010 version, knowledgeable Republicans said. In addition to darkening the sky with paid media, Scott's team is looking at the possibility of creating a state-specific data and analytics division, either within the campaign or at the Republican Party of Florida." [Politico]
SATURDAY MAIL DELIVERY TO END, SADLY DOESN'T EXTEND TO CHINESE MENUS - Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds... except for hella large budget shortfalls. AP: "The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to disburse packages six days a week, an apparent end-run around an unaccommodating Congress. The service expects the Saturday mail cutback to begin the week of Aug. 5 and to save about $2 billion annually, said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe. 'Our financial condition is urgent,' Donahoe told a press conference. The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points - package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services. Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays." [AP]
Letter carriers are not happy, even though their Saturday brunch opportunities just increased infinitely. Dave Jamieson: "The announcement Wednesday by the U.S. Postal Service that it would end Saturday delivery of first-class lettershas infuriated postal employee unions and set up a struggle with members of Congress, many of whom believe the agency doesn't have the authority to implement service cuts on its own... The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) union called for Donahoe's resignation on Wednesday. Fred Rolando, the union's president, said the move 'flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery,' and the union said it was 'exploring all legal and political options to block Donahoe's gambit.'" [HuffPost]
Silver lining: fewer Hallmark cards: "Hallmark has hired new lobbyists to tell members of Congress how proposed cuts in Saturday mail delivery would hurt the company and its employees. As the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service seeks ways to trim costs, ending Saturday mail delivery is an increasingly attractive option. Lobbyists for Hallmark will advocate for lower pension costs for postal workers, and for a House resolution that expresses support for six-day-a-week mail service." [HuffPost's Christina Wilkie]
AMERICAN CROSSROADS PLUCKS SOME LOW-HANGING FRUIT - Karl Rove's Super PAC has taken note of Ashley Judd's potential Senate bid and dished out $10,000 to load up some fish in a barrel, take an AR-15 (God bless America) and pull the trigger. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "The ad, released Wednesday and called 'Ashley's Story,' highlights clips of the actress professing her support for Obama and his health care plan, and quotes a Daily Caller story where her grandmother called her a 'Hollywood liberal.' It also hits Judd for saying, "Tennessee is home." While Judd grew up in Kentucky, she currently lives in Tennessee, and attended the DNC as a delegate for that state. 'Ashley Judd: An Obama-following radical Hollywood liberal, who's right at home in Tennessee. I mean Kentucky,' the narrator of the ad intones." [HuffPost]
Good news, Virginia Democrats, it looks like your state WON'T be home to a congressional district that spans from Ballston to Norfolk! Luke Johnson: "Virginia House Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) killed a controversial redistricting plan Wednesday that the state's Senate Republicans passed on the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated, capitalizing on the absence of a Democratic state senator. 'House Bill 259 has been modified to stray dramatically, in my opinion, from the original legislative proposal,' Howell said Wednesday. The Washington Post reports that Howell used a procedural move to kill the map that Republicans passed 20-19 on Jan. 21, the date of Obama's second inauguration and the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr." [HuffPost]
BP HIT ME (AND IT FELT LIKE A KISS) - A few years back British Petroleum took a giant bottle of petrol-flavored Mio and sprayed it in the Gulf Coast. Apparently the Defense Department is into that kind of thing. Bloomberg: "BP Plc's Pentagon contracts have more than doubled since the year of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the biggest in U.S. history. The company's awards surged to $2.51 billion in the year ended Sept. 30 from $1.04 billion in fiscal 2010, the year of the oil rig explosion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. BP's share of the military's petroleum market jumped to 12 percent from 8.5 percent during the period. The London-based supplier was suspended Nov. 28 from winning new government work after it agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for its role in the spill. Until then, the Defense Department was free to boost its purchases with BP...BP is among the companies that have gained from the Pentagon's appetite for oil. The Defense Department, the world's single largest consumer of energy excluding countries, spent $17.3 billion on petroleum in fiscal 2011, a 26 percent increase from $13.7 billion the previous year, according to military figures.Rising oil prices accounted for most of the department's increase in petroleum costs in fiscal 2011. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also have contributed to a boost in petroleum spending since 2005." [Bloomberg]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Adorable girl likes trains.
- LeBaby James: Young child is incredibly good at basketball. [http://bit.ly/11IFRkD]
- Japanese man eats an entire pizza in one minute. We're pretty sure Ryan could give him a run for his money. [http://chzb.gr/WufSIN]
- A slightly less one-minute challenge: every Red Hot Chili Peppers album in 60 seconds. [http://bit.ly/WOLjyM]
- "7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now" [http://huff.to/WusiC4]
- Say goodbye to the iron Monopoly game piece. It will be replaced by -- cue the celebrations at BuzzFeed -- a cat. [http://huff.to/UXvdlQ]
- Making mixed drinks with diet soda will have you tweeting like Scott Brown faster than you'd think. [http://n.pr/YCVMfL]
- Skyfall, the honest movie trailer. [http://huff.to/WPaPke]
@politicoroger: If Dick Morris can be fired for being wrong and dumb, that means that no pundit is safe.
@lucia_graves: Love how when anyone actually wants something answered on twitter they have to label it "serious."
@nickbaumann: D.R.E.A.M.: Drones Rule Everything Around Me.
5:30 pm: Mitch McConnell takes a break from praying for an Ashley Judd candidacy to raise funds for his leadership PAC. Guests include John Cornyn, John Barrasso, John Thune, Roy Blunt and Jerry Moran. [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE]
6:30 pm: The NRSC is ostensibly the beneficiary of this fundraiser, but we suspect everyone will just drink to forget about Scott Brown's decision to not run for John Kerry's seat. Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman and Jerry Moran are set to appear. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]
5:30 pm: Mark Kirk, who has definitely earned himself a gazillion badass points lately, is the beneficiary of a fundraiser for his reelection campaign. [ RB Murphy and Associates,220 E Street NE]
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