Temperatures reached the 90s today, so please drink plenty of water and allow us to remind you that you look like a total asshat in that seersucker suit. Anthony Weiner is considering a run for mayor of New York -- if a lapsed Red Sox fan can, why can't he? And Republicans attacked Obama from the left on Social Security while Rand Paul spoke at an historically black university. The is HUFFPOST HILL for Opposite Day, Wednesday, April 10th, 2013:
GUN CONTROL BILL TAKING SHAPE - The upper chamber moved closer to an agreement on background checks, which are supported roughly 90 percent of Americans. Heaven forbid water slides and/or chocolate lab puppies ever factor into the gun control debate. Mike McAuliff: "Momentum grew for Senate passage of gun legislation when a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday announced agreement on deals to expand background checks and tighten laws against gun trafficking. The first breakthrough came in a deal on background checks announced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who agreed on an amendment that would exempt all "personal" transfers of weapons between individuals, but would close the infamous gun show loophole and also require background checks on Internet sales...The other step forward came from Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said they had come to an agreement with the NRA to beef up restrictions on gun trafficking. The proposed Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act includes the first federal measures that would specifically prohibit the trafficking and straw purchase of weapons. Currently, the only federal law on straw purchases concerns filling out the paperwork to buy the weapon." [HuffPost]
Senate Republicans called a caucus-wide meeting today to discuss immigration reform. They talked for more than an hour and it never came up. Seriously.
Lindsey Graham is proposing his own gun bill, one he thinks will garner enough support to pass the Senate. With Jen Bendery: "The new bill will include provisions focused on 'increasing prosecutions of those who fail background checks,' include more money for armed school protection, fold in Graham's bill that tightens background checks on people with mental illness and reform health care privacy laws 'so we can get better access to troubled folks -- the Virginia Tech situation,' Graham told reporters at the Capitol. The senator said his bill will also include a federal gun trafficking amendment authored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)." [HuffPost]
BURNED OUT, WENT DOWNTOWN LOSES
VALUE AS LOBBYIST HILL CONTACTS - HuffPost Hill's newest contributor, Burned Out, Went Downtown, is our in-house K Street sellout. He grew tired of rationalizing his decision to work on K Street by saying it will "deepen" his understanding of the legislative process, and decided to write us instead. "Broke into a cold sweat today when my email to a House staffer bounced back," BOWD wrote. "Sweat turned into a torrential downpour when our IT guy informed me that my Hill email contacts had been corrupted when I transferred them over." Good luck with that, BOWD! Don't tell the partners!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Jay Haney of Tennessee said he had a string of temp jobs before one firm let him go because they claimed he smelled. "It made me feel bad but I don't think it made me feel nearly as bad as when I was looking for a work for a year and a half and couldn't find a job," Haney, 37, said in an interview. It gets worse: after all that time with no work, the temp agency called him up and said they had a gig for him -- the day after his car had been repossessed. The job was 60 miles away. "I didn't have a way to get there," he said. [Hang in there!]
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ENSHRINES PROGRESSIVE VALUES - CNN: "Obama's budget blueprint -- which has already drawn criticism from the left and the right -- offers changes to Medicare and Social Security. It also includes tax increases that would primarily hit high-income households and corporations. The plan calls for greater spending on infrastructure, early childhood education and nondefense research. Those investments would be paid for by other measures so that they don't add to deficits, Obama said...The president's budget calls for a $50 billion investment to, among other things, repair highways, bridges, transit systems and airports. He would also create a National Infrastructure Bank to bring together public and private capital for important projects. Obama has already gotten blasted from the left for supporting a switch to 'chained CPI,' which is a new way to measure inflation that would reduce projected federal spending by slowing the growth in federal benefits that are annually adjusted for cost of living. Those include Social Security benefits." [CNN]
The $3.7 trillion budget includes a variety of stimulative measures, some of which are new. But lawmakers have seen most of them before and aren't any likelier to pass them now. It's not like there's a continuing jobs crisis or anything.
The left is really not happy with the cuts. Here's an email from Elizabeth Warren: "I was shocked to hear that the President's newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch...In short, 'chained CPI' is just a fancy way to say 'cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans.'" [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]
Neither is the far-left wing of the... Republican party? Oregon Republican Greg Walden called Obama's budget "a shocking attack on seniors." [National Journal]
Wait, which side is the Democrats? "It was pretty clear up to this point that the Republicans were the party in favor of cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare, cutting Medicaid, and the Democrats were the party against it," Alan Grayson said today. "Now with the president's proposal, we face the threat we'll be stigmatized as the party that kinda is for it, kinda against it." Not so fast! Obama only wants to cut your Social Security if he can raise your taxes, too. Cool? [HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]
Grover Norquist says chained CPI violates the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
RAND PAUL GIVES SPEECH AT HOWARD U, GOES AS WELL AS YOU'D EXPECT - Melissa Jeltsen: "During an appearance at Howard University on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made misleading claims about his past support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 'I've never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act,' he said, speaking at the traditionally black school. 'The dispute, if there is one, has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal, or state, or private purview.' But that's just not true. In 2010, as a Senate candidate, Paul came under fire for a series of comments he made criticizing the Civil Rights Act. On her MSNBC show at the time, Rachel Maddow asked Paul about an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, in which he voiced reservations about one section of the Civil Rights Act." [HuffPost]
@BenjySarlin: Oooof. Rand Paul asks if anyone would know NAACP was founded by Republicans. Whole room goes "Yes!"
Barbour out: "The powerful fundraising team that American Crossroads deployed in 2012 to pull in more than $300 million has lost ace fundraiser Haley Barbour, according to three GOP operatives close to the super PAC...According to two GOP operatives with knowledge of Crossroads' operations, Barbour was upset with the way the new affiliate, the Conservative Victory Project, was rolled out on the front page of The New York Times in early February by the group's president, Steven Law. 'Barbour was blindsided and appalled at Law's announcement in The New York Times about taking on the grassroots,' said one of the operatives." [HuffPost's Peter Stone]
ANTHONY WEINER MULLING MAYORAL RUN - The Times published an in-depth, confessional profile of the former congressman and Huma Abedin, his wife and longtime Hillary Clinton confidant. On the personal side, Weiner paid for his social media philandering by moving to a spacious apartment on Park Avenue, eating at his brother's upscale restaurants and spending time with his compelling and drop-dead gorgeous spouse. Rehabilitation isn't easy. As for the political side: "[H]e is eyeing the mayor's race. He told me that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama's longtime pollster, David Binder (a detail that would be made public -- and prompt a flurry of news reports -- in mid-March when a spending report was filed with the city's Campaign Finance Board). The focus of the poll, Binder says, was the question 'Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, regardless of what race or what contest?' And the answer? 'There was this sense of "Yeah, he made a mistake. Let's give him a second chance. But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we're going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?" They want to know that they've put it behind them.'... As for his actual odds? 'David said I'd be the underdog in any race I ran.'" [NYT]
Sandy Hook families are saving themselves some unnecessary grief. With Christina Wilkie: "The lobbying firm representing Sandy Hook families in the nation's capital this week to pressure lawmakers on gun control has avoided scheduling meetings with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or most other GOP senators who have pledged to block a vote on the bill...the strategy being employed this week on Capitol Hill aims to avoid confrontational meetings between the visiting family members and the filibustering senators. So far, the 11 family members have avoided those lawmakers most strident in their opposition to holding any vote at all, according to congressional aides who've met with the families." [HuffPost]
COURT TELLS KEN CUCCINELLI TO JUST DEAL WITH GAY PEOPLE HAVING SEX - Luke Johnson: "A court has denied Virginia Attorney General and 2013 gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli a full hearing to challenge a ruling that struck down the state's anti-sodomy statute as unconstitutional. The court issued a short, two-sentence statement on Monday denying the petition, filed on March 26, for an en banc hearing. The court noted that no judge requested the full hearing in front of 15 judges, after a three-judge panel ruled the statute unconstitutional on March 12. The decision is a blow for the attorney general, a steadfast social conservative who is running in an increasingly liberal state... The Virginia court ruled that the entire state statute was unconstitutional based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas striking down Texas' anti-sodomy law. The Virginia court said the statute could not be used to convict the defendant, but that the state Legislature could pass a new, constitutional law covering sodomy between minors and adults." [HuffPost]
JOE BARTON WILL SEE YOUR SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS AND RAISE YOU... THE BIBLE - BuzzFeed: "A Republican Congressman cited the biblical flood as an example of climate change that had not been caused by humans. Texas Rep. Joe Barton made those remarks Wednesday at the Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, a bill that would give Congress the authority approve the Keystone pipeline...Barton [said] he didn't deny the climate was changing, but argued that the change was due to natural causes, as he has in the past...'I would point out that if you're a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.'" [BuzzFeed]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Yawning cats.
STILL OPEN - HuffPost DC: "Piratz Tavern, the pirate-themed restaurant that committed mutiny after last season's 'Bar Rescue,' is still open. And the owner has a surprising new disclosure." [HuffPost]
- "Seven Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now." [http://huff.to/16RaQc4]
- Dog just wants to have a go with the Playstation. [http://bit.ly/10TA2xT]
- A handy explanation of why LCD and LED monitors are different. [http://bit.ly/10KM3o9]
- The trailer for the new G.I. Joe movie, reimagined as a 1980s commercial for G.I. Joe toys. [http://bit.ly/YdfH3I]
- What cultures from across the globe consume to ease hangovers. [http://bit.ly/10MlBdE]
- Hyperlapse is a tool that lets you make Google street view timelapses. [http://bit.ly/16Rkwn7]
- Color footage of V-J Day in Hawaii. [http://bit.ly/14awSeo]
@jbarro: Everyone's panicking, but a weaker Bitcoin is great news for manufacturers in Bitcoin jurisdictions and Bitcoin-denominated tourism.
@JC_Christian: I'm sure North Korea would become much less belligerent if Rand Paul was allowed to explain their history to them
@daveweigel: I'm married to Tim Johnson now. RT @SabrinaSiddiqui: Wait so how many gay marriage reversals did I miss since last Thursday?
6:00 pm: Dean Heller raises funds for his HellerHighWater PAC, which had us scratching or heads and protesting, in a Mike Birbiglia-style idiot voice "There's no water in Nevada!" before realizing the wordplay. Haha, "Heller high water!" Love it! [The Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW]
6:30 pm: In keeping with his PAC's name, John Thune's Heartland Values PAC invites its supporters to a four-figure fundraiser at a place that serves ahi tuna steaks. [Del Frisco's, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW]
8:30 am: Orrin Hatch attends a breakfast fundraiser because who cares that he'll be 84 when he's up for reelection in 2018? [Monocle, 107 D Street NE]
12:00 pm: What can brown do for you? Keep you in for Senate seat, for one thing. Tim Scott attends a "transportation lunch" at the UPS Townhouse. We much prefer the FedEx bungalow. [421 New Jersey Ave SE]
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