POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Doomed Thing Goes Nowhere, Washington Cheers

04/11/2013 06:02 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2013

Rep. Steve Cohen hit on Cyndi Lauper, though surprisingly not in the wee hours of a terrible White House Correspondents Dinner after party. In Delaware, it's legal for hundreds of thousands of corporations to be housed in the same building, but the state is just now getting around to letting two dudes get hitched. And a new survey indicates Americans will argue over the merits of nonexistent legislation, amusing pollsters and utterly crushing the editors of THOMAS. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 11th, 2013:

SENATORS BRAVELY AGREE TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING - Jen Bendery: "The Senate cleared a major procedural hurdle on Thursday as it voted to overcome a Republican filibuster effort and begin debate on a gun control package. . The procedural motion required 60 votes to pass, and Republicans had been dodging questions for days on how they would vote...Its opponents are expected to use the full 30 hours allotted before debate can actually begin on the bill, which means senators can't begin offering amendments until next week. Once the amendment process does begin, Republicans are expected to put forward several measures designed to weaken the bill, including an amendment by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would gut it and replace it with a watered-down alternative. Beyond that, 60 votes will again be needed in order to end debate on the bill and move to final passage -- a key vote that the National Rifle Association announced it will score." [HuffPost]

Naturally, GOP senators are totally comfortable with all of this. Mike McAuliff and Jen Bendery: "The Huffington Post tracked down more than a dozen Republican and conservative Democratic senators to ask their reaction to the deal. Some literally ran away. 'You'll have to get out of here, this door will close,' Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said as he stepped into an elevator. 'I've got to do TV at 2 o'clock.' 'I actually try to be pretty helpful with you all, but I've got a 2 p.m. meeting,' said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who walked away without responding when a reporter asked to walk with him." [HuffPost]

JOHN BOEHNER WILL NEED A LOT OF MERLOT BY MONTH'S END - Predicted Merlot consumption: 17 carafes. Predicted Marlboro consumption: Two cartons. Predicted eye wateriness: high. Politico: "Speaker John Boehner is once again trapped in a tough position: If he doesn't move on Senate-passed gun and immigration compromises, the House risks looking like it is obstructing the will of the American people. Should Boehner achieve consensus among Republicans on both issues, it could re-establish him as a deal maker and a central figure in upcoming legislative debates, while helping the House move on to more comfortable political and policy grounds. Publicly, Boehner is being circumspect about how he'll handle eventual gun and immigration legislation, promising to consider both issues if they pass the Senate -- his aides are still skeptical they will. But behind the scenes, his team is planning, and GOP lawmakers are pushing him and Republican leaders in multiple directions." [Politico]

POLITICIAN BREAKS PROMISE - In case you forgot, the president hasn't always wanted your grandparents to survive by rummaging through other people's garbage and licking day-old yogurt off of discarded Yoplait tops. In 2008, then-Senator Obama vowed not to support Social Security "adjustments"-as-cuts like chained CPI. "John McCain's campaign has gone even further, suggesting that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age," he said. "Let me be clear: I will not do either." Thanks, Mr. President!

Because of course: Carne Ross, a once prominent Occupy Wall Street-er, is now lobbying on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

GAY MARRIAGE BILL INTRODUCED IN DELAWARE - Luke Johnson: "Democratic lawmakers in Delaware introduced a bill Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, with the support of legislative leaders and Gov. Jack Markell (D).
Delaware legalized civil unions in 2011. If it were to pass a marriage equality bill, it would become the first state to do so since the Supreme Court arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 triggered a significant public debate, with many lawmakers publicly expressing support for gay marriage. Concurrently, public opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted rapidly in its favor, buoyed by broad support among young voters. [HuffPost]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST READIES FOR WAR - Even as Kim Jong un, the greatest Washington politician that never was (elite upbringing, faux-populist political rhetoric), sabre rattles to an unprecedented degree, HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist remains calm, cool and collected. "Thank God we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House at times like these," PSLGOPL writes. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - With Amanda Terkel: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) recently bullied state workers to resolve unemployment claim disputes in favor of businesses, according to an investigation by the Maine Sun Journal published on Thursday. According to the paper's report, LePage called a mandatory meeting on March 21 with more than a dozen state Department of Labor employees. He allegedly scolded the hearing officers and their supervisors, complaining that they too often decided against businesses that challenge laid-off workers' unemployment claims. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - With John Celock: "Republicans from coast to coast this year have sought to make the poor and jobless pee in cups to prove they're not on drugs, and in several states they are achieving or nearing their goal. The Republican-controlled Kansas legislature passed a welfare drug testing bill late last week, and similar legislation is on the move in Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina and West Virginia. 'These are copycat bills that feed off of each other and are based on stereotypes,' said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy analyst for the Center for Law and Social Policy." [HuffPost]

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POLL: OBAMA'S APPROVALS DROPPING - Ariel Edwards-Levy: "President Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped six points since he was reelected, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday. Forty-seven percent of Americans approved of Obama's job performance, while 48 percent disapproved -- the first time his ratings have been underwater in an NBC/WSJ poll since last August. The numbers echo the results of most national surveys in showing Obama's post-election approval boost gradually disappearing. HuffPost Pollster's average, which combines all publicly available polling, still gives the president a narrowly positive rating." [HuffPost]

Nixonian Gestapo tactics update: "Officials with Progress Kentucky, a liberal super PAC that has targeted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the past, were named by a top Democratic source on Thursday as the parties responsible for secretly recording a private meeting between McConnell and his staffers on Feb. 2, according to a report by Kentucky's WFPL." [HuffPost's Nick Wing]

SCHNEIDERMAN'D - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited Washington this week to press the White House to remove Ed DeMarco as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He came armed with legal reasoning as to just how the administration could go about doing that, according to people he met with, in the form of a legal memo (DeMarco is in the doghouse for refusing to modify mortgages in Fannie and Freddie's portfolio, but his independent status makes him tough to fire.). [Memo]

MARK PRYOR NOT DEAD YET - Expect Bill Clinton to basically move back to Arkansas for the months of September and October. Politico: "Endangered Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) raised nearly $2 million in the first quarter of this year, a financial show of strength his campaign hopes sends a message to state and national Republicans still looking for a candidate to take him on next year. Pryor brought in $1.9 million over the last three months, officials told POLITICO, and has $3.4 million in the bank. His first-quarter posting puts him ahead of some of his fellow Democrats up in 2014 and is an impressive figure from a small-state senator not in the leadership or atop a major committee...Whether Pryor, the son of a popular former governor and senator, can survive offers perhaps the best test yet of how much Arkansas's politics have shifted in the Obama era. Even as the rest of the South was moving to the GOP over the last three decades, Arkansas remained a Democratic stronghold in the statehouse and in its federal delegation. But that has changed in the last two election cycles, with Republicans taking over both chambers of the legislature, defeating Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) and taking control of the entire House delegation." [Politico]

Because "I Won The Ames Straw Poll!" is a terrible campaign slogan, Michele Bachmann should probably be worried: "After months of hinting that his mission to oust Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) wasn't over, Jim Graves, a Democratic hotel executive who came within 4,300 votes of defeating the conservative firebrand in 2012, announced Thursday that he was running again in 2014...Graves' campaign manager Aaron Wells told the Times that the election dynamics would work in Graves' favor this time around, as '[t]he 2012 cycle was truncated by the once-a-decade redistricting, which forced candidates to wait until spring 2012 to determine where district boundaries would fall.'" [HuffPost's Nick Wing]

WHAT ABOUT YOUR RAPS??? - See, this is exactly why we can't have hip hop barbecues: "White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a question Thursday about rapper Jay-Z's lyrics implying that the White House cleared his trip to Cuba. 'It's a song,' Carney said during his daily briefing. 'The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.' A reporter quoted lyrics from Jay-Z's new song, "Open Letter," in order to see if the administration was involved in the celebrity's controversial trip to Cuba. 'Boy from the hood but got White House clearance,' quoted the reporter. 'Obama said chill you're going to get me impeached.' Carney laughed off the implication that the White House had anything to do with the rapper's vacation. 'I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,' Carney joked. 'Because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it.'" [HuffPost's Nick Abrams]

SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE STEVE COHEN'S TWITTER AWAY FROM HIM - Just, no. Just... no. National Journal: "The White House hosted a special 'Memphis Soul' concert on Tuesday, and one singer in particular captivated a House member from Tennessee After the concert, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee tweeted '@cyndilauper great night,couldn't believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness,' along with an up-close photo of Lauper. Although that tweet was deleted shortly after it was sent out--but not before being archived on Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops site--Cohen took to the House floor on Thursday afternoon to talk about the concert and 'put a particular shout-out to Cyndi Lauper. She's special,' he said." [National Journal]

Hill staffer gets laid off, survives on the free food provided at Washington-area panels, blogs about it.

AMERICANS ITCHING FOR A FIGHT: TRICK POLL - It's like the whole "Friends of Hamas" scandal, but even more depressing: "As they do on many obscure policy issues, Americans polarize sharply along partisan lines when they learn that President Barack Obama supports a repeal of the 1975 Public Affairs Act. Republicans are over 10 times more likely to disagree with the president on this issue than are Democrats. There's one striking problem here: The 1975 Public Affairs Act does not exist. The Huffington Post and its polling partner YouGov recently repeated a classic survey experiment that highlights both the tendency of Americans to divide along partisan lines on almost any issue and the dangers of over-interpreting the results of political poll questions." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Because it's a cat, this cat doesn't like things.

COMFORT FOOD

- Want to see a giant cylinder of concrete explode under intense pressure? Of course you do. [http://bit.ly/XukIri]

- How much ice cream could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck ice cream? Let's find out. [http://huff.to/XFGMBz]

- Go digging in a parking lot and you're liable to discover all kinds of weird historical artifacts. [http://bit.ly/12MfFXt]

- Girl reacts adorably, if a bit ignorantly, to a flock of geese. [http://huff.to/16RaSRp]

- Body parts correspond with one another. [http://bit.ly/10Wzjts]

- This British dude's laptop was stolen, ended up in Iran, and now, thanks to an app he installed on it before it got lifted, can now its new Iranian owners. [http://bit.ly/10Oe5PC]

- "Oh, The Places You'll Go" read in 68 different accents. [http://bit.ly/12MOpIl]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: The news gods listened to all of us whining about last week's slow pace. Thank you, news gods. Accept my animal sacrifice.

@pourmecoffee: I hope the House Standing Committee on Jay-Z And Beyonce Activities gets to the bottom of this Cuba trip.

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