POLITICS
10/10/2013 06:34 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Government Still Pointlessly Closed

Republicans dropped their anti-Obamacare efforts in exchange for the totally reasonable, commonsense request that we decimate the social safety net in time for Thanksgiving. Harry Reid won't negotiate the debt ceiling until the government is reopened, meaning he is either playing hardball are dying to visit Mount Vernon. And a new report finds the current administration's crackdown on whistleblowers rivals that of the Nixon administration. When reached for a comment, an administration official began to softly weep and mutter something about the safety of his family before hanging up. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, October 10th, 2013:

OBAMA REJECTS GOP SHORT-TERM DEBT PROPOSAL - Times: "President Obama on Thursday rejected a proposal from politically besieged House Republican leaders to extend the nation's borrowing authority for six weeks because it would not also reopen the government. Yet both parties saw it as the first break in Republicans' brinkmanship and a step toward a fiscal truce. Twenty Republicans, led by Speaker John A. Boehner, went to the White House at Mr. Obama's invitation after a day of fine-tuning their offer to increase the Treasury Department's authority to borrow money to pay existing obligations through Nov. 22. In exchange, they sought the president's commitment to negotiate a deal for long-term deficit reduction and a tax overhaul...Still, the House Republican offer represented a significant breakthrough. Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said Republicans were now willing to go to formal negotiations with Senate Democrats over a long-term, comprehensive budget framework, a move Republicans have resisted since April. And while House Republicans are divided over even a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, Representative Tim Griffin, Republican of Arkansas, said the proposal would pass with Republican and Democratic votes." [NYT]

RT @AP: BREAKING: Majority Leader Cantor: White House meeting useful, 'we expect further conversations tonight'

Harry Reid would like a side of functioning government to go with that serving of debt servicing: "After a lengthy meeting at the White House, Senate Democratic leadership addressed reporters on the state of negotiations surrounding the debt limit and continuing resolution. Toward the end, a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the main question of the day. Would Democrats negotiate with Republicans on a budget if the government remained closed? 'Not gonna happen,' he said, leaving no wiggle room." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

Nancy Pelosi is skeptical of the proposal, and not just because it could ruin everyone's Thanksgiving: 'House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said House Republicans' plan to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks is too insubstantial and 'not the right way to go,' but she wants to see more details about their plan. 'We don't know the terms that go with it, what we hear are onerous. But let's see what it is,' Pelosi told reporters. 'I hope it's something that we can support.' Pelosi said her preference is that the debt ceiling be increased for at least a year, 'so people don't have to wonder if the United States of America is going to stand by its full faith and credit.' House Republicans may not even be settled on what their plan is. Pelosi noted they postponed a morning House Rules Committee hearing until later in the evening. In the meantime, Democratic leaders haven't heard a peep from GOP leaders about what they're planning to propose." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

Take note, Grover: Heritage Action for America, the advocacy wing of the conservative think-tank, said that though it opposes "clean" debt ceiling hikes, it would not penalize House GOP members for voting for one." [HuffPost's Luke Johnson]

Upset by the shutdown? Why not kick back, relax and drunk dial Congress?

SHUTDOWN STOPS TIME ITSELF - Not even the fourth dimension is safe. Roll Call: "The Senate's stately Ohio clock has fallen victim to the federal shutdown. Its hands froze in place at 12:14 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and won't be ticking again until the furloughed Capitol Hill workforce is allowed to return to the job. Winding of the richly grained mahogany timepiece, which has stood in the main corridor just outside the Senate chamber since 1859, falls to a team in the Office of the Senate Curator. That staff has been furloughed, the office of the Secretary of the Senate confirmed. The last time the clock stopped ticking is a mystery, just like the origin of its name. That's because the staff of the Senate Historian's office has also been furloughed. According to the historian's records, Connecticut Sen. David Daggett wrote Philadelphia clockmaker Thomas Voigt in 1815 to order a clock for the Senate chamber, which was then under construction following its burning by the British during the War of 1812." [Roll Call]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Chelsea Combs heard through Facebook she'd have to find a new way to buy baby formula this month. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday it would stop issuing vouchers for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children because of the federal government shutdown. The department said 80 percent of the state's WIC clients had already received their benefits and could redeem them at stores for the rest of the month. But Combs and her baby are among the 50,000 or so who hadn't picked up their vouchers yet. Combs missed the press release. "I got no actual notification from anyone," the 21-year-old nursing student said in an interview. Combs has two cans of formula in the cupboard and had planned to pick up WIC vouchers for seven more cans next month. She said she and her husband, who works full time for a builder supply company, will eat more Ramen noodles or reach out to a private charity for help if the shutdown continues. "People who really do need help are getting it taken away because Congress can't come to an agreement," the Wilmington resident said, flabbergasted. She spread the word on Facebook and said a "friend" told her in response that she should have gotten an abortion. "I just wanted to tell somebody," she said. [HuffPost]

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CONGRESSMAN SHOVES CAMERAMAN FOR QUESTION ABOUT SHUTDOWN - A dramatic moment courtesy of Congressman Sean Penn Gary Miller. Jen Bendery: "Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) didn't want to answer a question about whether he would support a 'clean' funding bill to end the government shutdown. So he just pushed the person asking. In a video clip provided to The Huffington Post by a Democratic operative, Miller is walking in front of the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday when someone asks if he would be willing to vote for a clean continuing resolution -- that is, a bill to fund the government without any strings attached. Miller initially ignores the question. But as he gets closer, he reaches out and pushes back the camera lens along with the man behind it, saying only, 'Thank you.' As Miller puts his hand over the lens causing the scene to go dark, a voice, presumably from the cameraman, is still heard, saying, 'Congressman?'" [HuffPost]

Miller seems tense. He should do a few reps at the still-open congressional gym to let off some steam.

SCOTUS: CAMPAIGN FINANCE CASE COULD UNDO STATE REGULATIONS - Nothing buoys a local comptroller race quite like a $300,000 check from Charles Koch. Paul Blumenthal: "A Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that overturned any or all of the federal aggregate campaign contribution limits on constitutional grounds will likely trickle down to the eight states that currently cap overall giving, warns a group that studies money in state-level elections. A Wisconsin donor has already brought a court challenge, Young v. Vocke, arguing that the state's aggregate cap is so low that it violates the free speech rights of donors. The case could serve as a vehicle to extend an anti-limits McCutcheon decision to the states. Nine states -- Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Wyoming -- had aggregate limits in place for the last two election cycles, according to a new report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Arizona has since removed its aggregate limits for the 2014 election cycle in what lawmakers said was an effort to help candidates compete with the unlimited money spent by independent groups." [HuffPost]

OBAMA MOST AGGRESSIVE ANTI-LEAK CRUSADER SINCE NIXON - Guardian: "Barack Obama has pursued the most aggressive "war on leaks" since the Nixon administration, according to a report published on Thursday that says the administration's attempts to control the flow of information is hampering the ability of journalists to do their jobs. The author of the study, the former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, says the administration's actions have severely hindered the release of information that could be used to hold it to account. Downie, an editor during the Post's investigations of Watergate, acknowledged that Obama had inherited a culture of secrecy that had built up since 9/11. But despite promising to be more open, Obama had become "more aggressive", stepping up the Espionage Act to pursue those accused of leaking classified information. 'The war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration,' Downie said in the report, which was commissioned by the Committee to Protect Journalists...Under Obama, the Espionage Act has been used to mount felony prosecutions against six government employees and two contractors accused of leaking classified information to the press, including Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden. In all previous administrations, there had been just three such prosecutions." [Guardian]

Sucks to be Detroit right now, part 523,009: "Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday, seven months after he was convicted of public corruption in federal court...The former Detroit mayor's sentencing recommendation called for at least 28 years to life for Kilpatrick, who prosecutors say robbed the City of Detroit of millions through criminal enterprises when it was at its most desperate. It's 'equal to the longest sentence' for corruption ever handed down to a public official, said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade after the sentencing was announced." [HuffPost's Ashley Woods]

HELP ME (NOT) HELP YOU - Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Natalie Minas quit her job in Seattle last week in preparation for her upcoming 10-month stint with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, a full-time community service program for young adults. Minas, 22, hoped to provide mental health services in youth prisons in exchange for experience, housing, meals and a small stipend. Her training program in Sacramento, Calif., had been scheduled to start Wednesday. Instead, the program is indefinitely delayed by the U.S. government shutdown. Minas, now jobless, is back at home with her parents, one of about 175 incoming AmeriCorps members awaiting news...The scuttled training is just one of the ways that members of AmeriCorps have been hit by the shutdown. Current NCCC members won't be deployed to any new projects, while members of AmeriCorps VISTA, an anti-poverty program, have been told they're expected to continue working during the shutdown, even though they won't be paid until the government is funded again. Since the program is designed to pay wages barely above poverty, most have little savings. Members who leave won't be eligible for the program's education award, which pays for college costs or student loans, and is among the program's biggest draws. Some programs that rely on AmeriCorps workers, including a Habitat for Humanity home-building project in Iowa, and classes for underprivileged children in Nevada also face delays." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is an adorable young child regretting eating so much food.

FOX NEWS ANCHOR TAKES A LAP Media Matters: "Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum suggested that voters are less likely to blame Republicans for the government shutdown than they did during the mid-90s shutdown because they're watching Fox News. During an appearance on Fox News Radio, MacCallum, who co-hosts America's Newsroom, referenced comments from colleague Brit Hume to remark that during previous shutdowns, 'you didn't have a lot of things.' She added, 'Fox News Channel was just beginning. People are very -- it's a different world in terms of what people understand about what's going on. In those days, it was much easier to pin the problems in this on the Republicans ... I'm not sure that they're going to punish the Republicans to the extent that they did last time around. I think they get it, and I think that they're very divided on it.'" [Media Matters]

COMFORT FOOD

- If only all TED Talks were delivered while high. [http://huff.to/15WZLf8a>]

- The debt ceiling explained in cartoon form. [http://bit.ly/1gpJOjP]

- A Connecticut weatherman accidentally ate cat vomit on air... somehow. [http://bit.ly/15p6X1l]

- New Yorkers were polled about how they feel about the city's neighborhood. [http://read.bi/1apVVZn]

- Slo-mo video of paint being bounced off of a speaker. [http://bit.ly/16309nf]

- Hi-res photos of Mars. [http://bit.ly/15VCY3f]

TWITTERAMA

@owillis: i love how republicans act as if they worked arm in arm with clinton. *they impeached him*

@dceiver: Responsibly keeping gov't open & avoiding debt ceiling crises might actually attract people to yr political viewpoints is just an idea I had

@arishapiro: It'd be helpful to have universal definitions of "ransom," "negotiation," and "conversation." Everyone seems to assume shared understanding.

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