The Senate passed the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013" while the House readied its alternate proposal, the "Texas' Electoral Votes Are Overrated, Anyway Act of 2013." The White House is vetting replacements for Ben Bernanke, though the only guy we can think of with a really thin beard and strong interest in finances is the TaxMasters dude. And Texas executed its 500th prisoner this week, meaning the next batch of potassium chloride is on the house. It pays to be a loyal customer. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 287th, 2013:
SENATE PASSES IMMIGRATION REFORM, HOUSE JUST KIND OF SITS THERE - Elise Foley: "The Senate passed a politically fraught immigration reform bill on Thursday that would give a path to citizenship to some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., bringing them out of the shadows and preventing continued record deportations that have separated hundreds of thousands of families. The bill passed 68 to 32, picking up all Democrats and 14 Republicans. Undocumented immigrants and advocates in the crowd, many of them young so-called Dreamers, broke out into applause and chants of 'yes we can!' after Vice President Joe Biden, who came to the Senate to preside over the proceedings, read the results... Although sponsors didn't get to the 70 votes they hoped for, the full support from Democrats and addition of Republican votes was significant. McCain, Rubio, Flake and Graham were joined in voting "yes" by Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Chiesa (N.J.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). " [HuffPost]
@kasie: Sen. Schumer spent a half hour on the phone with Gov. Christie earlier today, urging him to ask Sen. Chiesa to vote yes
@ShaneGoldmacher: Note: Not a single member of the Senate GOP leadership, or NRSC leadership, voted for immigration bill.
Actually, the House did do something. By a vote of 213-213, it cast a tie on an Alan Grayson amendment that would allow states to ban offshore drilling if they felt like it. Well done, folks.
BOEHNER STANDING ROUND ON IMMIGRATION - The speaker is being more stubborn than the cork in his favorite bottle of Merlot, which he'd much rather be decanting right now than dealing with this crap. Mike McAuliff: "The Senate may have passed a long-awaited bipartisan overhaul of the immigration system Thursday, but House Speaker John Boehner stood by his plan to set an exceptionally difficult path for a similar measure to succeed in his chamber. 'The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,' Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters, speaking shortly before the Senate bill passed. 'We're going to do our own bill, through regular order.' Not only will that legislation have to go through the entire committee process in the House, whatever emerges will have to meet the 'Hastert rule,' named after former Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.), which says the majority of the party in control of the House must back a given measure for it to receive a vote by the full chamber...Boehner declined to give his own position on a pathway to citizenship, but said his caucus would meet July 10 to hash out a plan going forward." [HuffPost]
We're raising or Natty Lights to Elise Foley, who has been awarded the 2013 Media Leadership Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association for her stellar work on all things migratory.
WHITE HOUSE CONSIDERING BERNANKE REPLACEMENTS - Journal: "Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is putting together the list, working closely with a small number of senior White House officials...Obama administration officials have spoken to the Senate about putting forward a nominee so that legislative staff can begin the vetting process and prepare for confirmation hearings, according to a senior Senate aide...People familiar with the process wouldn't divulge any names on the short list, but said there was no front-runner. The White House is still in an early stage of the process and might not announce its selection until the early fall, they said...Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chairwoman, is widely seen in financial markets as the leading contender for the job. Ms. Yellen is a Democrat who served as the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and has held a variety of posts at the Fed, including governor, San Francisco Fed president, and Mr. Bernanke's second-in-command since October 2010." [WSJ]
OBAMA WILL HAVE JETS SUNNY SIDE UP - NBC: "President Obama said he should not have to speak personally with the leaders of Russia and China regarding self-professed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and said he was 'not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker' during a press conference in Senegal on Thursday." [NBC.com]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Conservative Republicans want farm subsidies to divorce food stamps, the better to slash the latter. All of a sudden Republican leadership is actually entertaining the idea. Anti-hunger advocates hate it, and so does the agriculture industry. "We would not be supportive at all of splitting the two," Farm Bureau lobbyist Mary Kay Thatcher said. "This is a marriage that's been working for 50 years and it will continue to work." Sadly, thanks to a tyrannical Supreme Court, looks this marriage is in trouble. [HuffPost]
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WHAT JOHN BOEHNER FEELS ABOUT THE DOMA RULING IS WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOUR MLS TEAM LOSES - You just. Don't. Really. Care. Jen Bendery: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wasn't celebrating when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday. But he's not exactly brimming with outrage and demanding that Congress resurrect the law, either. 'The court's made its decision," Boehner told reporters at a Thursday press briefing. 'I have no plans at this point in terms of how the House would move ahead on this.' Boehner said he was disappointed in the ruling and that he supports the aim of DOMA, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. But he said he knows that people on both sides of the issue have strong feelings about it. 'I respect those views,' he said."' [HuffPost]
The Senate confirmed Anthony Foxx to be the next transportation secretary. He replaces Ray LaHood, who was famous for not being a hipster and not believing in things. AP: "Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., and a political ally of President Barack Obama, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Thursday to be transportation secretary. The Senate voted 100-0 in favor of Foxx....Foxx takes over the department in an era of constraint as federal agencies are grappling with across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to ratchet up next year. At the same time, years of pushing off expensive repairs and improvements to roads, airports, air traffic control systems, rails and ports have left the nation with an overstrained transportation system." [AP]
@samsteinhp: And Ray LaHood, walking a bike by his side, heads off into the sunset, his replacement confirmed by a 100-0 vote.
IRS INVESTIGATOR: CONSERVATIVE GROUPS MORE SCRUTINIZED THAN LIBERAL ONES - Sam Stein: "The Treasury inspector general's office said Thursday that while the Internal Revenue Service screened both progressive and conservative groups between 2010 and 2012, the latter faced more scrutiny. In a letter to Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), defended his initial audit from accusations that it did not provide a full picture of IRS screening practices for tax-exempt organizations. The reason his team did not mention progressive organizations, George explained, was that they had been subjected to a different level of scrutiny. Whereas conservative groups were flagged as 'potential political cases' on so-called Be On The Lookout (BOLO) lists, no instructions were given to IRS agents about how to handle their progressive counterparts. George did acknowledge in the letter that the initial TIGTA report did not disclose what is likely a relevant detail: progressive groups were flagged as 'potential political cases' in some instances. In one telling line, he noted that some groups were flagged as such despite not even appearing on BOLO lists. But he also continued to make the case that tea party groups faced significantly different treatment when seeking 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status." [HuffPost]
RICK PERRY: NOT A NICE GUY - Laura Bassett: "While many have called Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) a hero for standing on her feet for 11 hours to filibuster an anti-abortion bill, Gov. Rick Perry (R) couldn't resist taking a jab at her for having been a teenage mother. 'Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate," Perry said Thursday in a speech to the National Right to Life Convention. "It is just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.' Davis was raised by a single mother, and she became a single mother herself at 19. She went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and was elected to the Texas state Senate in 2008." [HuffPost]
It's really a banner year for the Heritage foundation. Cue the "For Demint, A Shaky Start As Think Tank Chief" stories. Mike McAuliff: "It's not often you get to see a Heritage Foundation scholar testifying side-by-side with a 10-year-old girl over the impacts of sequestration on early childhood education programs like Head Start. And that's probably a good thing for the scholars. At a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, the conservative think tank's David Muhlhausen came equipped with recent studies (widely disputed by many independent scholars) to argue that the 700,000 children losing Head Start programs were not suffering because, he said, Head Start doesn't work....Of course, anecdotal testimony does not science make, but it's hard to argue with an adorable success story sitting right next to you." [HuffPost]
PAUL LEPAGE MIGHT NOT SEEK REELECTION - The Maine governor, who we're still not convinced ISN'T John Sununu in an elaborate, "Mission Impossible"-style mask, could call it quits soon. Amanda Terkel: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) announced on Wednesday that he may not seek a second term in office. According to the Maine Sun Journal, LePage was 'clearly frustrated' over the legislature's override of his budget bill veto, and told reporters in Augusta that he was uncertain about his political future. 'I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,' LePage said. 'Quite frankly, I don't know how you recover from this. I really don't know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It's like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.'" [HuffPost]
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 500TH EXECUTION, TEXAS - AP reporter Michael Graczyk, who covers executions in the state (among other things) wrote about his experiences witnessing hundreds of people be put to death. AP: "About once every three weeks, I watch someone die. Beginning in 1984 when I arrived in Texas for The Associated Press, I've been just a few feet away as one convicted killer after another took a final breath in the Texas death chamber in Huntsville, where the state's 500th execution in modern times took place Wednesday...One inmate, Jonathan Nobles, sang 'Silent Night' as his last words as he was receiving the lethal injection. He got to 'Round yon virgin, mother and child' before gasping and losing consciousness. Christmas, for me, never has been the same. When I walked into the death chamber to witness Bob Black's execution, he called my name, said hello and asked how I was doing. What do you say to an otherwise healthy man seconds away from death?" [AP]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Beagle brother and sister set out on an epic journey to the park.
NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL PASSES PAID SICK LEAVE BILL OVERRIDING VETO - Congratulations, Big Apple, now you can take a day off after ODing on 64oz Mountain Dews. AP: "New York City is becoming the most populous place in the United States to make businesses provide workers with paid sick time, after lawmakers overrode a mayoral veto early Thursday to pass a law expected to affect more than 1 million workers. With the vote, the city joined Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Connecticut in requiring the benefit for at least some workers. Similar measures have failed in some other places, including Milwaukee, Denver and Philadelphia. Supporters see the New York measure as a pace-setter, although it has some significant limits and conditions, and they envision such laws becoming a national norm in coming years." [AP]
- True facts about the mantis shrimp, which looks like a clown but acts like a drunk with anger management issues. [http://bit.ly/10nLPWs]
- The always enjoyable and informative John Green describes the names of 26 popular alcoholic drinks. [http://bit.ly/12tceP2]
- Minus the Eurotrash dance music, this supercut of first-person videos is pretty great. [http://bit.ly/14ynpsX]
- Henri, a cat filled with profound ennui. [http://bit.ly/1co5o3f]
- People with larger desks are typically more dishonest, a totally necessary study finds. [http://bit.ly/12qm8AW]
- Turtles explain why Monsanto is a source of controversy. [http://bit.ly/14Y1zkI]
- Person gets in fight with a box. [http://chzb.gr/17hggjg]
@mattyglesias: Snowden aside, if I were president I would scramble the jets every once in awhile just for fun.
@johnlegend: They still allow Rick Perry to talk?
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Anthony Weiner, a low-profile politician who is running for a relatively obscure position in an out-of-the-way hamlet in Southeastern New York, holds a fundraiser. Whatever. [New York, NY]
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