Huffpost Politics

HUFFPOST HILL - Mitch McConnell Tut-Tuts

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Chris Christie, the man who said "The Jersey Shore" gave the Garden State a bad name, had flags flown at half staff to honor a TV mobster. Louie Gohmert thinks food stamps should be cut because so many poor people are obese, though someone should inform Gohmert that the stamps themselves aren't high in trans fats. And on Monday, the Senate will hold crucial votes on immigration reform and the Supreme Court might deliver key rulings on gay marriage and voting rights. Whatever the case, a lot of reporters will end up getting drunk. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, June 21st, 2013:

IMMIGRATION VOTE SET FOR MONDAY - Elise Foley: "The Senate is set to hold its first vote Monday on a broad amendment that addresses border security and other GOP concerns with the comprehensive immigration bill, putting the body in a good position for passing reform before the upcoming recess. The final deal for an amendment was reached on Friday, based on an initial agreement over border security led by the 'gang of eight' and Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). Senators believe that, with the amendment, they should get close to 70 votes, giving the broader bill well over what it needs to pass and more momentum when it heads to the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that the first vote on the Corker-Hoeven amendment will be held on Monday evening, putting the body on track to pass the entire bill by the Fourth of July recess. If the legislation passes, it will be a major victory for the bipartisan gang of eight who drafted it and immigration reform supporters who want to see a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented people currently living in the United States." [HuffPost]

The White House has set up a forward base of operations in the Capitol complex: "Strategically located down the hall from the Senate Judiciary Committee in one of the city’s massive Congressional office buildings, the work space normally reserved for the vice president is now the hub of a stealthy legislative operation run by President Obama’s staff. Their goal is to quietly secure passage of the first immigration overhaul in a quarter century. 'We are trying hard not to be heavy handed about what we are doing,' said Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and the president’s point person on immigration." [NYT]

There aren't 70 votes yet, according to Chuck Schumer. The Hill: "But Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill, said Friday that supporters are still short of the 70-vote target. 'We’re not there yet,' he said on the Senate floor. 'We’re climbing each day, but we’re not there yet. But I think we will get there.' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) admitted Friday that he did not think Schumer’s 70-vote goal for final passage of the bill was realistic. He said Schumer was the only one who thought it was possible." [The Hill]

John Dingell, who was born during the phonograph era, tries on Google Glass. To quote the congressman, "This is quite a machine!"

LeftyLand news: The head of the beleaguered, pro-immigration FWD.us has referred to the Silicon Valley-backed group's tactics as "Machiavellian" amid rising criticism. The princely adviser, however, might be surprised to learn what types of tactics are being employed in his name. FWD.us's founder and president Joe Green said the organization will refrain from running ads against opponents of immigration reform, according to a source who was briefed by Green on the tactic. Green, according to PandoDaily and The New Yorker, has failed at everything he tried. But he was Mark Zuckerberg's roommate. [Pando Daily]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Steve Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson started the SNAP Challenge on Sunday. After two days of Ferguson's food stamp dieting, Stockman's office declared it had "debunked" the challenge. "I wanted to personally experience the effects of the proposed cuts to food stamps," Ferguson said in a statement on Stockman's House website. "I put my money where my mouth is, and the proposed food stamp cuts are still quite filling." On Wednesday, Ferguson said he was feeling great and optimistic about the rest of his week. "Traveling tomorrow through Tuesday, so I’m trying to pack the rest of my 'SNAP' food in my checked luggage," he emailed. But on Friday, Ferguson tweeted that he didn't want to check his luggage after all because of bag fees. No more food stamp diet for him. That's some nice debunking there, Donny! [HuffPost]

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: IT IS TIME TO DO SOMETHING FOR SENIORS WHO ARE DROWNING. WE NEED HELP. WE CAN'T EVEN SURVIVE, BUY NECESSITIES AND MEDICINE AND PAY RENT, ETC. WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE HELP. -- ELEANOR EARLEY

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REID FIGHTING TO RESTORE NIH FUNDING - Sam Stein: "Over the past few weeks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has privately and publicly pushed his fellow lawmakers to replace cuts to basic scientific research, one of the most insidious impacts of sequestration. Reid's efforts have yet to produce any legislative breakthroughs on the Hill. But aides and associates of the majority leader say he is committed to finding a way to replace the $1.7 billion in cuts facing the National Institutes of Health or at least soften the blow. One aide said that Reid is meeting with members of the Senate appropriations committee to "figure out a way to get something through the Senate that increases NIH funding" from its current level of $29 billion. Publicly, he's been greasing the wheels for weeks. He has twice gone to the floor of the Senate to warn that forcing the NIH to award 700 fewer competitive grants will have generational consequences, setting back research on gene sequencing, brain treatments and anti-viral therapies." [HuffPost]

Mitch McConnell is fighting his own battles: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came to the American Enterprise Institute on Friday to give a speech on the First Amendment, but the most memorable moment was his awkward exchange with Norm Ornstein, a centrist political pundit who has apparently irked McConnell over the years. Ornstein, also an AEI scholar and congressional expert, was among those who rose to ask McConnell a question after his speech. As soon as he identified himself, McConnell let him have it. 'I've enjoyed dueling you, Norm, over the years. You've been consistently wrong on almost everything,' McConnell said to laughs. 'I've always wondered, you know, who eats lunch with you over here?' Ornstein still hadn't asked a question yet as McConnell kept going. 'Actually, some of the worst things that have been said about me over the years have been said by Norm Ornstein,' he continued. 'You've been entirely wrong on virtually every occasion. I'm glad to see you. What's on your mind?'" [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

@chrisgeidner: In the past week, Obama has named 4 out people — all gay white men — to be ambassadors of Spain, Denmark, Australia & Dominican Republic.

RNC CRUSHING DNC IN FUNDRAISING - E Priebus Unum: "The Republican National Committee maintained its fundraising lead over the Democratic National Committee in the month of May, as the RNC raised $7.5 million to the DNC's $5.9 million. Since the beginning of the year, the RNC has beaten the DNC in fundraising by $9 million. The Republicans ended May with a cash-on-hand advantage of $4 million. Most troubling for the DNC is that it still has $19.8 million in debt, compared to zero debt for the RNC. The RNC is the historically dominant political party committee, and in the post-soft money era -- since McCain-Feingold restrictions went into effect in 2003 -- it has only been outraised by the Democrats during the 2010 election and, thanks to transfers from then-Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, during the 2004 election. The DNC's troubles contrast starkly with the successes of the Democratic congressional party committees. In May, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $6.1 million to beat the National Republican Congressional Committee in every month of 2013 so far. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.9 million in May, compared to just $3.6 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee." [HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal]

JAY CARNEY IS PREDICTABLE - Yahoo News: "A Yahoo News analysis of the 444 briefings that Carney has held since becoming White House press secretary has identified 13 distinct strains in the way he dodges a reporter's question. Since Carney held his first daily briefing with reporters in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room on Feb. 16, 2011, for example, he’s used some variation of 'I don’t have the answer' more than 1,900 times. In 1,383 cases he referred a question to someone else. But will he at least speculate on hypotheticals? No. In fact, he has refused to do so 525 times...The referral to another agency or person is one of Carney's favorite evasive maneuvers. Over the course of the 43-minute briefing on Jan. 25 alone, for example, Carney referred reporters to the Justice Department four times, the National Labor Relations Board twice, the State Department twice, once to the historic precedent of recess appointments, once to a New York Times article, once to a speech that President Barack Obama delivered earlier in the week, and once to the Defense Department." [Yahoo News]

LOUIE GOHMERT HAS THOUGHTS ON FOOD STAMPS - For all of you government moochers out there planning on spending your SNAP on horns o' plenty, the congressman from Texas is on to you. Nick Abrams: "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) argued to the House of Representatives on Thursday that cutting food stamp benefits is not evil. Constituents have repeatedly experienced people buying seemingly lavish items with food stamps, he said, giving one example of a man in a grocery store who said he watched the person in front of him purchase king crab legs with food stamps. 'He looks at the king crab legs [being bought by a person with food stamps] and looks at his ground meat and realizes because he does pay income tax, he doesn't get more back than he pays in. He is actually helping pay for the king crab legs when he can't pay for them for himself,' Gohmert said. 'People across the aisle want to condemn anyone who is working, and scraping, and can't save any money,' he continued...In the same speech, Gohmert also suggested that it shouldn't be controversial to discuss cutting food stamps because some poor people are obese." [HuffPost]

MONEY-IN-POLITICS QUAKING IN ITS CHELSEA BOOTS - Paul Blumenthal: President Barack Obama on Friday announced the nomination of Ann Ravel and Lee E. Goodman to fill two commissioner seats at the Federal Election Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, one nominee will take the seat left empty by the February resignation of Cynthia Bauerly, and the other will replace Commissioner Don McGahn, who, like every other current FEC commissioner, is serving an expired term. Campaign finance reform advocates and watchdogs have long pressured Obama to pick new commissioners for the FEC and they were quick to hail Friday's nominations. 'It’s good to see the President put some action behind his often-stated desire to do something about the corrosive influence of money on our politics and elections,' Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs, said in a statement." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A veritable onslaught of yawning animals.

HuffPost Hill endorses: "Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) ordered all New Jersey state buildings to fly flags at half-staff on Monday to mark the passing of actor and New Jersey native James Gandolfini, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported on Friday...According to the Star-Ledger, Christie said the people of New Jersey "had a connection" to Gandolfini, who was from Westwood. 'All the people in the state really felt a connection to him, not just his character, but to him,' Christie said Thursday. 'He died much, much too young.'" [HuffPost's Gabrielle Dunkley]

COMFORT FOOD

- A supercut of John Goodman going absolutely haywire. [http://huff.to/11Dm8Pa]

- Eight Gmail hacks that will make your life -- that is, Gmail and Gchat -- better. [http://bit.ly/12eq1J8]

- The "Batman" theme performed by... bats. [http://bit.ly/12NWZq7]

- Puppy takes on dandelion in a scene so sweet you'll probably develop diabetes of the eyeballs just watching it .[http://huff.to/125XA4uf]

- Because the 2D fighting genre was in desperate need of a feline remake: Cat Fighter. [http://bit.ly/10DNKZt]

- James Gandolfini's touching and hilarious appearance on Sesame Street. He talked about feeling scared. [http://bit.ly/15nwV14]

- Ashton Kutcher stars as Steve Jobs in a movie that is apparently happening. [http://bit.ly/14OnY3X]

TWITTERAMA

@joshmalina: Tempted to have another baby just so I can name it Compass and raise it to point constantly at Kanye's kid.

@indecision: Today is the first day of summer: one of the few days you can get a Republican to admit it's getting warmer.

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