POLITICS
10/08/2013 06:16 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Dog Poop 1, Congress 0

President Obama said he won't negotiate with Republican hostage takers -- first he wants a proof-of-life showing the government's credit holding that day's USA Today. Lawmakers are being forced to reuse towels in the congressional gym, a development that will absolutely ruin their selfies. And John Boehner thinks Democrats are being unreasonable. We'll see how he feels when all this happens again in 2019 with President Christie, House Speaker Hoyer, and Majority Leader Cruz. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, October 8th, 2013:

OBAMA STANDS GROUND, WON'T 'PAY RANSOM' - Luke Johnson: President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he is willing to negotiate with Republicans over health care or any other topic, but only after Congress passes a short-term government funding measure and increases the debt limit. 'What I've said is that I will talk about anything,' he said, after declaring in his opening statement, 'We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy.' Obama said that the United States could not afford to deal with 'manufactured crises' over funding the government and paying its existing obligations. 'Think about it this way: The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs,' he said. 'You don't get a chance to call your bank and say I'm not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox.' Obama also pointed out that the shutdown had occurred as a result of Republicans' strong opposition to the health care law he passed. 'The way we got to this point was one thing and one thing only: this Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act,' he said. 'Most Americans -- Democrats and Republicans -- agree that health care should not have anything to do with keeping our government open or paying our bills on time.'" [HuffPost]

OH GOD THE SYMBOLISM

BOEHNER: CLEAN DEBT CEILING VOTE 'UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER' - Seriously, did America's fighting men throw in the towel at Bastogne when Hitler wanted to maintain Head Start funding at its current levels? Were the Texans scared into submission at the Alamo when Santa Anna mandated that Mexicans purchase health insurance? Hell no! Sabrina Siddiqui: "Less than two hours after President Barack Obama turned up political pressure on Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, 'The president said today if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us. That's not the way our government works.' The Ohio Republican addressed reporters just outside his office to rebut Obama's earlier press conference. His message to the president was clear: The ongoing government shutdown and pending debt ceiling deadline would not be resolved without negotiations. 'It's time to have that conversation,' Boehner said. 'Not next week, not next month -- the conversation needs to begin today. The long and short of it is, there's going to be a negotiation.' Boehner ducked a question on what would happen if Congress found itself in the final minutes before a debt ceiling breach without an agreement, reiterating the need to talk." [HuffPost]

TOM COBURN'S OFFICE NOW HAS MORE STAFFERS THAN THE AGENCY OVERSEEING WORKERS' RIGHTS - Dave Jamieson: "The federal agency that enforces labor law on companies and unions has been almost entirely shuttered since the government shutdown began, delaying union elections and stalling the investigation of unfair labor practices. The National Labor Relations Board was nearly derailed earlier this year due to fights in Congress and the courts over President Obama's recess appointments to the board. Although the agency survived that political spat intact, it isn't faring so well during the shutdown. Out of more than 1,600 employees, the agency planned to furlough all but 11 of them in the case of government closure, leaving less than 1 percent of its workforce as 'accepted' shutdown personnel, according to the agency's contingency plan. That would mean the federal agency is working with fewer employees nationwide than the individual D.C. offices of certain senators, many of whom have deemed their entire staffs accepted personnel during the shutdown. Ten senators -- seven Republicans, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and three Democrats -- haven't furloughed any staffers at all, according to a HuffPost count." [HuffPost]

Joe Manchin won't let this crisis keep him from Manchining: "Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told The Weekly Standard Tuesday that he opposes a clean debt limit hike, saying he wants to use it as an opportunity to solve the country's financial problems...On Monday, an aide to Senate majority whip Dick Durbin told Yahoo News on Monday that 'all 54 Senate Democrats' would vote for a clean debt limit bill, but Manchin's opposition indicates that that isn't true." [Weekly Standard]

Think of the victims: "House lawmakers are picking up their own towels at their private gym, which has remained open during the government shutdown. The gym was to have been closed, but the Architect of the Capitol decided to keep the facility open because several House members store personal items inside...'This job is very stressful and if you don't have a place to vent, you are going to go crazy and that's why I've used it all these years,' said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who has used the facility since 1973." [The Hill]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Poor women enrolled in North Carolina's nutrition program for new moms won't be able to get food vouchers after Tuesday thanks to the federal government shutdown, the state's Department of Health and Human Services has announced. Roughly 80 percent of the state's enrollees in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children had already received their vouchers, the department said, and those benefits can still be redeemed at grocery stores for the rest of the month. But the remaining 20 percent of clients who haven't drawn their vouchers are apparently out of luck. "Some of our most vulnerable citizens, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children, will be affected by the interruption of WIC services due to the federal shutdown," department head Aldona Wos said in the release. [HuffPost]

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GOP PROPOSES FISCAL SUPERCOMMITTEE, BECAUSE THOSE ALWAYS WORK - Dems should counter with a lockbox proposal. The Hill: "The House will vote as soon as Tuesday on forming a special committee of House and Senate members to work out a deal on reopening the government and raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, multiple GOP sources told The Hill. The move is an attempt to highlight what the GOP sees as a refusal by Democrats to compromise in order to end the budget crisis. It also echoes the creation of a debt supercommittee to resolve the last debt ceiling impasse in 2011. Lawmakers will separately vote on legislation to pay essential federal personnel, including those working right now and U.S. Capitol Hill police, while the shutdown continues. The two bills would be voted on under a rule that would allow them to be merged and sent to the Senate, according to sources familiar with the plan. The working group would not be a formal conference on the differing spending bills, aides said...In the House, Democrats signaled they would oppose the new supercommittee. 'Not again. Not again. Oh my gosh,' said Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the head of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the original supercommittee. 'There was nothing super about it,' he said." [The Hill]

@kelsey_snell: Rep. Jim McGovern just called the new GOP working group plan "Super Committee 2: The Wrath of Cruz"

PRESIDENT CRANK CALLS HOUSE SPEAKER - "Hi, is Speaker Boehner there? It's the president. Yeah I'll hold......John? Hi, It's Barry. TALK TO THE HAND ::click::" "President Barack Obama called Speaker John A. Boehner Tuesday morning and reiterated his refusal to negotiate on the fiscal impasse that has shut down the government and threatens a debt default. 'The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won't negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement to reporters. Obama has repeatedly said he won't negotiate until the Ohio Republican agrees to hold a vote on a 'clean' bill reopening the government. Boehner has refused to do so. The White House released a readout of its own saying Obama reiterated what he told the speaker last week in person at the White House...Obama again urged Boehner to hold a vote to reopen the government and allow a timely vote on a clean increase in the debt limit." [Roll Call]

@daveweigel: Lindsey Graham on how to force Boehner and Obama to talk: "Maybe we put 'em both in Gitmo."

@DanaBashCNN Just asked Boehner what he wants to hear from Obama. He just looked at me like "really?" & walked on the house floor

REPUBLICANS KEEPING OFFICES STAFFED DURING SHUTDOWN - Whoda thunk that the party of tough love would view federal workers as snowflakes, each unique and each deserving of love? Amanda Terkel and Jared Gilmour: "Congressional offices, like federal agencies, are supposed to furlough all nonessential staff during the government shutdown. But the interpretation of this directive has varied wildly in the Senate, with some lawmakers closing all their offices and others refusing to furlough a single person, a discrepancy Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is calling unfair. According to a tally by The Huffington Post, 36 Democratic senators have closed their Washington, D.C., offices, while 18 kept them open. Only seven Republican Senate offices are closed, meanwhile, while 39 are still open...Just because offices remain open doesn't mean that staff members are escaping unscathed. Many senators have furloughed the vast majority of their staff or closed state offices, but are choosing to keep their D.C. offices open in order to respond to constituent calls and visits." [HuffPost]

Good thing Jim Inhofe believes in medical science: "Sen. Jim Inhofe underwent emergency heart surgery in Tulsa on Friday after a routine test showed extreme blockage in five arteries. Inhofe had quadruple bypass surgery and was hospitalized at St. John Medical Center. The Tulsa Republican said in an interview from the hospital Monday he felt great and was expecting to go home Tuesday. He said he'd return to Washington as soon as possible...After seeing a specialist in Washington, who advised immediate open-heart surgery, Inhofe decided to have the surgery in Tulsa so his children and grandchildren could visit him, the senator said...He called the surgery a success and said he was walking around his hospital floor Monday while talking on the phone. 'I feel great,' he said." [Oklahoman]

TRANSPARENCY FURLOUGHED - Matt Sledge: "Efforts to force the National Security Agency to become more transparent have become the latest victim of the government shutdown, with the tech companies previously leading such efforts joining a Justice Department motion on Monday to halt proceedings. In the joint motion, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo joined with Justice lawyers to ask for a stay until the government shutdown is over, citing its impact on government lawyers. 'Absent an appropriation, Department of Justice attorneys are prohibited from continuing to work, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,"' the filing states. The tech companies have been seeking permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to publish broad details on the requests for user data that they receive from the NSA and other government agencies. Since nobody knows when the shutdown will end, the lawyers set no firm deadline for the next round of filings in the ongoing proceedings surrounding government transparency. Instead, the lawyers asked that after the government reopens, they be granted at least as much time as the shutdown lasted to take the next step." [HuffPost]

Shutdown stimulus: "Notorious 'sugar daddy' site Seeking Arrangement, which sets rich people up with beautiful people in decidedly shallow and capitalist relationships, claims that it's seen an uptick in new user registration over the last week. The reason for that increase, despite the fact that September and October are typically slow months for the site? The government shutdown (or at least that's the working theory)...NPR also notes that What's Your Price, an auction-type dating site that allows users to bid on first dates with other users, also saw an above-average increase in new registrants over the last week." [Time]

The way we furlough now: "In 2012, David Wineland, a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his 'ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.' But Wineland has been deemed nonessential and is furloughed due to the government shutdown." [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

NO SURPRISE: 'NEW YORK STATE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION' IS AN OXYMORON - Times: "When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption in early July, he promised a muscular response to bad behavior by legislators that included allegations of bribe taking, favor trading and embezzlement. But three months later, according to people familiar with the commission's work, the effort to investigate corruption in Albany is burdened by resistance from the Legislature, which has refused requests for information about lawmakers' outside income, and by unexpected involvement by the governor's office, which has leaned on the commission to limit the scope of its investigations. Now some of the groups that had cheered the commission's creation say they fear that the effort to investigate corruption is losing credibility...Mr. Cuomo, discomforted by the commission's work and the tension with the Legislature, appears to be considering an exit strategy. One option said to be under discussion is passing a package of ethics measures that could allow the governor, legislative leaders and the commission to say they had made headway in cleaning up Albany, without a prolonged investigation during next year's legislative session." [NYT]

@MichaelPaulson: A coup for @CardinalDolan: @StephenAtHome will be guest speaker at Al Smith dinner next week.

MAJORITY OF TEXANS SUPPORT MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION - Owners of James Coney Island franchises couldn't be happier. Shadee Ashtari: "A majority of Texas voters support marijuana legalization, according to a recent survey. Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of Texans 'support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol.' Even more -- 61 percent -- were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession and instead punishing violations with a civil citation. Texas law currently views possession of marijuana, even on a minute scale, as a criminal offense, punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to a year of jail time. The PPP survey of 860 randomly selected Texas voters was released by the Marijuana Policy Project." [HuffPost]

TOE FUNGUS MORE POPULAR THAN CONGRESS: POLL - PPP is the BuzzFeed of public opinion research: "Hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, dog poop, and cockroaches all might be a little bit gross- but they're all more popular than Congress. Hemorhoids beat out Congress 53/31 with bipartisan support. On the other three there's a partisan split- Republican voters go for Congress while Democrats take the alternative but overall it's a 47/40 victory for dog poop, a 44/41 one for toenail fungus, and a 44/42 triumph for cockroaches. Now the news is not all bad for Congress. It's at least still more popular than serial killers (56/18 over Charles Manson), foreign enemies (51/22 over Syria, 49/28 over Vladimir Putin), and controversial celebrities (46/31 over Miley Cyrus, 42/33 over Honey Boo Boo, and 40/36 over Lindsey Lohan). Democrats at least take Honey Boo Boo and Lindsey Lohan over Congress, but Miley, well she's on her own. Congress also outpolls heroin (53/24), Anthony Weiner (50/23), the Ebola virus (47/28), and twerking (37/33)." [PPP]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog that likes to hold hands.

'HOLLYWOOD FOR UGLY PEOPLE' TURNING AWAY FILM CREWS - Washingtonian: "The city's film office said today that the shutdown is limiting DC's ability to grant film and television production permits. With the Mall and monuments closed off, and other iconic Washington locations like Pennsylvania Ave., NW, subject to federal oversight, the film office has had to warn production companies that want to film here that they might not get their desired shots. The National Park Service controls the Mall and the monuments, but the film office arranges logistics on the surrounding streets. But with NPS effectively closed for business since last Tuesday, the film office has not been able to cooperate with its federal partners." [Washingtonian]

COMFORT FOOD

- Animated slideshow demonstrating the Higgs field, named after one of the two winners of this year's Nobel Prize for Physics. [http://nyti.ms/1bF7qBn]

- The government shutdown, explained by Legos. [http://bit.ly/18KP8Kg]

- A side-by-side performance of songs and their blatant copies. [http://bit.ly/17dKuSh]

- "Tom Hanks: The Movie" is this season's must-see Tom Hanks thrill ride. [http://huff.to/1a6atvy]

- Adorable two-year-old delivers adorable birthday message in adorable fashion. Adorable. [http://huff.to/1b8cIkz]

- An interview with "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuarón reveals all the way Hollywood tried to destroy the movie. [http://bit.ly/19vYaI6]

- Dog loves it some toilet bowl. [http://huff.to/1e6sRZt]

TWITTERAMA

@mollyesque: Listening to Obama and Boehner back-to-back is how I imagine being the child of a bad divorce must feel.

@GrahamDavidA: If Obama gets out of this presser without a Q about ACA rollout problems, he should send House Republicans a fruitbasket

@jbarro: The weight of the platinum coin should be expressed in grams, to further annoy conservatives.

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