HUFFPOST HILL - You're Very Attractive, But You Should Read This Anyway

07/18/2013 05:36 pm ET | Updated Sep 17, 2013

Liz Cheney said Mike Enzi is old and losing his grip on reality, a HUGE compliment from a Ronald Reagan fan. The writers of "Veep" scripted Rep. Steve Cohen's day. And a hacker claims to have acquired Hill staffers' passwords, though it's unclear just how weakened our national security will be by "Dear Colleague" letters from lobbyists and emails about smokeshow interns. This is HUFFPOST Hill for Thursday, July 18th, 2013:

DETROIT DECLARES BANKRUPTCY - Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive! and Detroit is also dead. AP: "Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection. Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state in March to lead Detroit out of a fiscal free-fall and made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court. A number of factors – most notably steep population and tax base falls – have been blamed on Detroit's tumble toward insolvency. Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them. In recent months, the city has relied on state-backed bond money to meet payroll for its approximately 10,000 employees. Orr was unable to convince a host of creditors, the city's union and pension boards to take pennies on the dollar to help facilitate the city's massive financial restructuring. If the bankruptcy filing is approved, city assets could be liquidated to satisfy demands for payment. 'Only one feasible path offers a way out,' Gov. Rick Snyder said in a letter to Orr and state Treasurer Andy Dillon approving the bankruptcy." [AP]

WHITE HOUSE FLEXES MUSCLE ON SENATE DEMS - The student loan deal between the Obama administration and Senate Democrats and Republicans was reached in recent days after the White House threatened some Senate Democrats to either support the deal or risk being publicly blamed by the White House for allowing interest rates for some borrowers to soar, Democratic congressional aides said. "The WH isn't really in a position to take on Senate Dems. Senate Dems proved this week they're all he has," said one senior Senate Dem aide. Positioned or not, they're doing it. Some Senate Democrats, who had resisted signing off on the compromise, reluctantly followed the White House. In a sign of displeasure, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate education committee, said that if the compromise is signed into law he may revisit it in the coming months as the Senate works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. USA Today has more on its website today, which will presumably be in USA Today tomorrow.

PRESIDENT EMERGES FROM HIDING, TALKS ABOUT HEALTH CARE - Barack Obama was starting to rival Marian Robinson as the most reclusive White House resident. Times: "President Obama, slipping back into his episodic role as a vigorous campaigner for his new health care act, said Thursday that thanks to the law, more than 8.5 million Americans are getting rebates this summer from their insurance providers. Mr. Obama was flanked by families who have benefited from a provision in the law, which requires health insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the revenue from premiums on medical care rather than on administrative costs. Insurers who fail to meet that benchmark must reimburse customers, a process that began in 2012. 'Last year, millions of Americans opened letters from their insurance companies, but instead of the usual dread that comes with getting a bill, they were pleasantly surprised with a check,' Mr. Obama said in a midday ceremony at the White House...For Mr. Obama, it was a high-profile return to a debate in which his voice has sometimes seemed like it was missing. For example, he has said nothing publicly about theadministration’s decision to delay for a year a part of the law dealing with employer-provided insurance." [NYT]

In our inbox: "Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) released the following statement in response to news that the American Mustache Institute has decided to relocate from St. Louis, Missouri to Pittsburgh. 'The American Mustache Institute’s decision confirmed what we already knew- that Pittsburgh is not only one of the country’s most livable cities but one of the most stylish,' Senator Casey said. 'From the Handlebar to the Horseshoe, Pittsburghers can do it all. With football season around the corner, this announcement will up the pressure on the Steelers’ Brett Keisel to grow something truly extraordinary this year.'"

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - At a downtown D.C. job fair today a line of people in business clothes snaked out onto the sidewalk and around the block and it felt like 100 degrees and the unemployment rate in the Washington area is only 5.6 percent. [Hang in there!]

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HOUSE GOP GIVE UP DOMA DEFENSE - Pity the Republican conference: We hear Bob Goodlatte is just aimlessly wandering his house, limply holding a half consumed bottle of Maker's Mark, trying to nullifying the gay marriage on TV by waving his hand. BuzzFeed: "House Republican leaders announced in a court filing Thursday that they will not be defending remaining statutes similar to the Defense of Marriage Act that ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages. The move comes three weeks and one day after the Supreme Court ruled in Edith Windsor’s case that the federal definition of marriage in DOMA was unconstitutional because it banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages. '[T]he House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute,' lawyers for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), controlled by House Republicans, wrote about veterans’ benefits statutes that similarly ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages. 'The document from the legal team speaks for itself,' House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, told BuzzFeed, when asked for comment on the move." [BuzzFeed]

WALL STREET MAAAAAD AT MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE GOP - A bank lobbyist tells HuffPost Hill that every conference call he's had with a client since Richard Cordray began his five-year term as the confirmed, official, that's-it, negotiations-are-over, you-lose director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has devolved into whining about why Republicans didn't stop it from happening. "It's coming up in all of our meetings now. They're furious. They're all [metaphorically defecating] on McConnell," the lobbyist said, but added that it's Wall Street's own fault for going silent the past two years on the CFPB, keeping the checkbooks closed and assuming that the Supreme Court would rule Cordray an illegitimate recess appointment. They got what they paid for. "They should expect nothing else. I think it's funny they just assumed Republicans would carry their water. Now they're stuck with their version of the EPA." Now what? "The bankers are trying to understand what happens and what this means because they haven't thought about it." We hear you, Wall Street. You just can't find good help nowadays!

John Boehner saying this Congress hasn't been ineffective is like WMATA chief saying Metro's escalators are the best in the nation: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) bristled at a suggestion on Thursday that Congress has been 'historically unproductive.' 'That's just total nonsense,' he told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill... If the measurement of productivity is passing as few bills as possible, then yes, the last Congress was indeed the most productive ever. But under the more traditional measurement of how many bills Congress passed and how many were signed into law by the president, it actually was the least productive since at least the 1940s." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

DARRELL ISSA COMPARES ELIJAH CUMMINGS TO A 'LITTLE BOY,' BECAUSE THAT ALWAYS GOES OVER WELL - T-minus three weeks until the Oversight Committee's chairman and ranking member get into a slap fight during a markup. Mike McAuliff: "The latest hearing on the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of tea party and other groups turned heated Thursday, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) comparing his Democratic counterpart, ranking member Elijah Cummings, to a 'little boy.' The testy exchange came after Cummings, a 62-year-old African-American congressman from Baltimore, challenged past insinuations by Republicans that the White House was behind the IRS targeting... But Issa took issue with Cummings, denying that he had implied the orders came from the highest office in the land and insisting that he only said the targeting came from Washington. Issa interrupted at the start of another member's remarks to express his 'shock' at Cummings. 'I'm always shocked when the ranking member seems to want to say, like a little boy whose hand has been caught in a cookie jar, 'What hand? What cookie?' I've never said it leads to the White House,' Issa said." [HuffPost]
Issa later clarified he didn't mean it that way, and Cummings was like, thanks dude.
Another Senate confirmation: "The Senate voted to confirm Gina McCarthy as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, ending what had been the longest delay for any of President Obama’s second-term Cabinet picks. The 59-40 vote was the second such successful confirmation vote Thursday, as the Senate follows through on a deal this week to advance long-stalled executive branch nominations" [LA Times]

And another: "The Senate on Thursday voted 54-46 to confirm Tom Perez as secretary of Labor. It was a party-line vote, with no Republicans supporting President Obama's nominee. Several GOP senators have charged that Perez had engaged in “ethically questionable” actions while heading the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice." [The Hill]

LIZ CHENEY THINKS MIKE ENZI SHOULDN'T DRIVE, SHOULD HAVE LIVE-IN HELP - The Wyoming Senate candidate is convinced Mike Enzi is a few dead brain cells away from shuffling around the Senate in an open bathrobe and confusing the Clerk with his third grade French teacher. NBC News: "Cheney made official her Republican primary challenge in Wyoming to veteran Sen. Mike Enzi on Wednesday, calling for a 'new generation' of conservative leaders in Washington. And, in the first of two campaign stops today, she said the state's senior senator must have been 'confused' when he said Cheney had promised not to challenge him if he sought re-election... 'It's not true -- I did not tell Sen. Enzi I wouldn't run if he did. I suppose he's just confused.'" [NBC News]

PAUL RYAN MAKING FIRST 2016 VISIT TO IOWA - Where he will eat fried things, ride a roller coaster and profess his love of one of America's most unremarkable states. National Review: "Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, will headline a prominent Republican dinner in Iowa this fall, a visit that is sure to stoke talk of a potential presidential bid. According to Iowa governor Terry Branstad, Ryan will deliver the keynote speech at the governor’s birthday party in November. Last year, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida spoke at the event. Branstad, in an interview at his capitol office, says he’s excited to welcome back Ryan to the Hawkeye State...Branstad says his birthday bash will be held at Adventureland, a theme park in Altoona, Iowa. It’s famous for its fried food, water rides, and the Tornado, a large wooden roller coaster. Ryan’s appearance will be his first in Iowa, the home of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, since the election. Until now, he has avoided making trips that would hint at a possible run." [National Review]

Because who wouldn't want Judge Napolitano as their attorney general? ABC News: After surveying the field of contenders expected to enter the Republican presidential primary in 2016, Rep. Pete King, an 11-term Republican from Long Island, N.Y., said he is considering running for the country’s highest elected office. ;I’m going to certainly give it thought. I’m going to see where it goes,' King said during an interview with ABC News today. 'My concern right now is I don’t see anyone at the national level speaking enough on, to me, what’s important – national security, homeland security, counterterrorism.' As King weighs an improbable campaign, he called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 'solid candidates,' but said he has been disappointed by the lack of focus on foreign policy by other candidates that are presumed to enter the Republican primary." [ABC News]

STEVE COHEN HAS AN ODD DAY - WaPo: "Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) declined Thursday to comment further on a paternity test that revealed that a woman he though was his daughter is not. But in doing so, Cohen may have created a whole new issue for himself, telling a female reporter, 'You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it,' according to the reporter, Real Clear Politics’ Caitlin Huey-Burns. Cohen last year revealed the existence of what he said was his daughter, a young woman he said he found out about only in recent years. CNN facilitated a paternity test on Cohen and the woman, Victoria Brink, and reported Thursday morning that there is a zero percent chance he is her father." [WaPo]

A hacker associated with Anonymous claims to have gained access to Hill staffers' passwords -- that or Legistorm is expanding in a REALLY aggressive way: "A Twitter account that claims to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous said it posted the email addresses and alleged passwords of hundreds of current and former Hill staffers online late Wednesday. The Twitter handle @OpLastResort warned Congress in a tweet that it's closely watching how lawmakers respond to the revelations over a pair of controversial National Security Agency surveillance programs. The tweet included a link to a website that listed the email addresses to hundreds of current and former Hill staffers and their alleged passwords for those accounts." [The Hill]

RICK PERRY SIGNS SWEEPING ANTI-ABORTION LAW - Laura Bassett: "Following weeks of heated protests at the state capitol, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed into law on Thursday a package of abortion restrictions that is expected to drastically reduce access to abortion across the state. House Bill 2 bans abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, four weeks earlier than the standard set by Roe v. Wade.... it requires all clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, even if they do not provide surgical abortions. The bill mandates that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility and requires them to administer the abortion-inducing medication RU-486 in person, rather than allow women to take it at home... Opponents of the bill have vowed to fight it in court, arguing that it is unconstitutional because it prohibits abortions before the fetus is viable outside the womb, which usually occurs around 24 weeks. The Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that women have a legal right to end their pregnancies up until viability." [HuffPost]

And, like clockwork: "Planned Parenthood on Wednesday informed staff at three of its facilities in Texas that they would be closing, according to people familiar with the decision. The three clinics are located in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin, Texas. They are closing in response to a new package of abortion restrictions signed into law on Thursday and funding cuts to Texas' Women's Health Program that were passed by the Texas state legislature in 2011. Out of the three Planned Parenthood clinics that are closing, only the Bryan clinic performs abortions." [Bassett]

North Carolina Republicans have introduced a voter ID bill, though it's surprisingly not tied to dune buggie safety legislation: "Senate Republicans in North Carolina introduced a new voter ID bill on Thursday that would require all voters to present specific, state-approved forms of ID at the polls. Unlike an earlier bill passed by the North Carolina House, the new bill does not include college IDs in the list of acceptable documents. Supporters say the bill is needed to combat voter fraud. But critics point out that voter fraud is rare and argue that the measure would disenfranchise a large number of voters who lack state-issued ID, among them many members of low-income and minority groups." [HuffPost's Saki Knafo]

AL GORE ROBBED! Darryl Fears: "At an event Wednesday celebrating the renaming of the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in his honor, former president Bill Clinton began his remarks by saying the accolade could easily have gone to his vice president, Al Gore. During the eight years of his presidency, Clinton presided over some of the most sweeping environmental protections in the nation’s history, pushed by Gore and others in the administration. Clinton’s environmental agenda included a massive cleanup of polluted Superfund sites, protections for millions of acres of wildlands and the enforcement of tougher air-quality standards under the Clean Air Act." [WashPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat trying to sneak past Great Dane

JIMMY CARTER CONTINUES NOT GIVING A DAMN, DEFENDS EDWARD SNOWDEN - Nick Wing: "Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency's massive surveillance programs had proven 'beneficial.' Speaking at a closed-door event in Atlanta covered by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Carter also criticized the NSA's domestic spying as damaging to the core of the nation's principles. 'America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time,' Carter said,according to a translation by Inquisitr. No American outlets covered Carter's speech, given at an Atlantic Bridge meeting, which has reportedly led to some skepticism over Der Spiegel's quotes. But Carter's stance would be in line with remarks he's made on Snowden and the issue of civil liberties in the past. " [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- What does space smell like? Our first answer was Clyde Frazier. That was wrong. [http://bit.ly/17nKf8t]

- "Seven Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now" [http://huff.to/16KgMU9]

- Jon Hamm's ESPYs monologue was a hoot. [http://bit.ly/12z2lB7]

- The "Game of Thrones" characters are just as anxious for the new season to begin as you are. [http://bit.ly/1203neu]

- World's most fashionable five-year-old lives up to his label. [http://bit.ly/15OEO38]

- Kind-hearted bro saves mole from a crow. [http://bit.ly/1aT0HmI]

- A thermite explosion in slow-mo. [http://bit.ly/1auCqzB]

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: It's been a tough day for my dad, Congressman Steve Cohen.

@KagroX: This cover is the last straw, and I will never roll stones again!

@indecision: Chapter 9 is filing for bankruptcy. Chapter 10 better be finally building a working RoboCop.

ON TAP

HuffPost Hiccup: The book party for "This Town" is NEXT Wednesday.

TONIGHT

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Do you like borscht? Do you like Congressman Adam Schiff? Then head on over to the California lawmaker's "Taste of Ukraine" fundraiser. [Home of Igor Pasternak]

7:00 pm: Cory Booker, scourge of the ghost of Frank Lautenberg, attends a fundraiser in his likely future home of Washington, D.C. [The Park at 14th, 920 14th Street NW]

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