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John Boehner was so unsympathetic to teenagers whose fathers had been deported you'd think he was a GOP debate audience. Democrats are riddled with self-doubt and electoral anxiety because
it's Wednesday Healthcare.gov sucks. And a group of congressional Democrats unveiled a bill to forbid states from restricting abortion rights, prompting Republicans to introduce a bill mandating congressional Democrats have hospital admitting privileges. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, November 13th, 2013:
REPUBLICANS HIT ON UNEMPLOYMENT SOLUTION: IGNORE IT - A House Republican panel on Wednesday concluded that the Federal Reserve should stop focusing on unemployment, and instead make combating inflation its sole objective. The recommendation may at first appear counterintuitive -- after all, the country is in the middle of an unemployment crisis, but has not faced inflation fears since the 1980s. But price stability is the primary goal of bondholders on Wall Street, who have seen their power rise in recent decades. High unemployment is good at keeping prices down, since people don't have money to spend, so bondholders have long argued that requiring the Fed to have a "dual mandate" of employment and inflation is unfair. Subcommittee Vice Chair Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) noted that central banks in other countries "work under a more focused or prioritized mandate or set of mandates….Some like myself believe that the employment component at a minimum has diverted the Fed’s attention from the more important issue of low inflation which, in my opinion, should be the sole focus," said Huizenga. Thanks, Bill!
OBAMA ENROLLMENT NUMBERS RELEASED - The report will be featured in our forthcoming book, "Recovery Summer: Why The Obama Administration Keeps Predicting Things." Jeff Young: "More than one month into the rollout of Obamacare, 106,185 people have chosen a private health insurance plan using the health care reform law's troubled exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday, the first time the Obama administration has given enrollment figures...The Obama administration is far from meeting the Congressional Budget Office's projection of enrolling 7 million people into private insurance and 9 million people into Medicaid by March 31...More than 79,000 of the people who have selected an Obamacare plan did so using the health insurance exchanges in the 15 states and the District of Columbia that are operating their own marketplaces, compared to 26,794 who used the federally run exchanges, HHS reports. Not all of the more than 100,000 people tallied by the administration have taken the final necessary step and actually made the first payment for their coverage, which begins in January, the report indicates. An additional 975,407 people have completed the application to determine whether they can receive subsidies and now have only to choose a health plan, the report says. More than 396,000 people using the exchanges have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Plan." [HuffPost]
HEALTHCARE.GOV IMPROVING, OFFICIALS TESTIFY - That's a bit like saying the week 6 Giants couldn't get any worse. Mike McAuliff: "On the same day the government reported that only 106,185 people have enrolled in Obamacare so far, federal officials painted a picture of an improving health insurance website during a House Oversight Committee hearing. While most of the comments from members of Congress Wednesday focused on the website's initial dismal performance -- and partisan bickering -- officials detailed a system that they said will never be perfect, but is vastly improved. The system now has the ability to handle 20,000 to 25,000 visitors to the site simultaneously, can register 17,000 people an hour, has an average response time of less than 1 second instead of eight seconds, and has a site error rate of less than 1 percent, the officials said. The man charged with fixing the site -- U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park -- said that improvements would continue...Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) somewhat undercut the reported improvements, however, by holding up his iPad and showing that he had been stuck for more than an hour trying to create an account for himself." [HuffPost]
Government probes are not limited to vaginas in today's America, if you roll through a stop sign leaving a Walmart parking lot, anyway. Radley Balko reports.
TEENAGE ACTIVISTS INTERFERE WITH JOHN BOEHNER'S... WHAT IS THAT, TOAST AND SOUP?- Teenage immigration activists accosted John Boehner with their personal immigration stories at Pete's Diner this morning. It was awkward. With an assist from ThinkProgress, here's HuffPost Hill's annotated transcript of the two-minute exchange: CARMEN LIMA: You’re a father right? BOEHNER: Oh yeah. LIMA: So how would you feel if you had to tell your kids at the age of ten that you were never coming home? BOEHNER: That wouldn’t be good. [RIPS PIECE OF TOAST] LIMA: That’s what happened to me. [RIPS MORE TOAST] I thought I was never going to see my dad again because [inaudible]. And I cried so hard when my mom told me that, at the age of ten. BOEHNER: [NODS, RIPS TOAST] Well, I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done. It’s, uh, you know, not easy -- not gonna be an easy path forward. [TOAST] But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that I’m going to get this done. LIMA: So we can count on your vote for immigration reform? BOEHNER: I will try to find a way to move the bill forward. Thanks! [STARTS RIPPING UP SECOND PIECE OF TOAST] JENNIFER MARTINEZ: You said you were a father. Imagine missing out on your kids' football games, or soccer games. BOEHNER: I understand [WIPES HAND ON NAPKIN, GRABS SALT]. MARTINEZ: … We would really really appreciate it if you did everything in your power to move this plan foward. BOEHNER: [SALTS TOAST PIECES, PUTS SALT DOWN] Alright, I agree with you. [GRABS PEPPER, PEPPERS TOAST PIECES]. Thank you. [ThinkProgress]
@ldelevingne: Just saw @MittRomney walking in the cold on Central Park South pulling his own suitcase, alone. Times done changed
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Food stamps contribute significantly to an obesity problem in south Texas, according to a recent untrue story in the Washington Post. The piece, by reporter Eli Saslow, examines a Texas county in which 40 percent of residents receive nutrition assistance, meaning they eat cheap food, resulting in "rates of diabetes and obesity that double the national average," Saslow writes. His big question: "Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one?" Researchers have also wondered whether the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program fattens its 47 million enrollees, but they have not found overwhelming evidence that it does. "In fact, a growing body of research suggests a protective effect of SNAP participation on obesity risk," the Food Research and Action Center, a liberal advocacy group opposed to cutting food stamps, found in a report, most recently updated in January, that cited more than a dozen separate research efforts. [HuffPost]
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BOEHNER: IMMIGRATION REFORM IS TOAST THIS YEAR - Elise Foley: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted on Wednesday that even though House Republicans have moved slowly on immigration reform, they're still planning to work on it -- but not by combining their efforts with the already-passed Senate bill. 'The idea that we're going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House,' Boehner said at a press conference. 'And frankly, I'll make clear: We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.'...Bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee, which deals with immigration issues, haven't gone for votes, either. Democrats and advocates argue that the Senate bill could pass if it went for a vote -- most Democratic members and three GOP members support a bill based on the legislation -- but so far, it doesn't seem likely that the measure will get the chance." [HuffPost]
DEMOCRATS FREAKING OUT OVER OBAMACARE - Over the last few weeks their anxiety levels have deteriorated from "uneasy" to "fretful" and are now hovering somewhere around "crushing Xanax into morning coffee." Sam Stein: "Frustration with the botched, politically uncomfortable rollout of the president's health care law is beginning to mount [among Democrats]. On Wednesday morning, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced that he was co-sponsoring a bill to allow individuals who buy their own insurance to stay on their current health care plans indefinitely rather than be forced into better regulated plans through the newly created exchanges. Coming from one of the Senate's most notably progressive voices, the Oregon Democrat's announcement was a particularly vivid demonstration of how nervous party members are over the state of the Affordable Care Act. The flawed website, combined with the steady stream of news of insurers forcing people to adopt more comprehensive and at times expensive plans in response to new regulations, had already persuaded five other Democrats to support the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)...At a caucus meeting on Wednesday, [House Democrats] relayed those frustrations directly to administration officials. Those officials, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), urged members to oppose the GOP measure sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), arguing that it would gut a major component of Obamacare." [HuffPost]
Ruh roh: "Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Wednesday became the second Democrat to introduce legislation that would let people with canceled insurance plans keep their coverage. Udall's bill, The Continuous Coverage Act, would let people stay with their current health plan for a full two years, through Dec. 31, 2015, regardless of whether they receive a cancellation notice." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]
JIM MESSINA IN TALKS TO RUN PRO-HILLARY VENTURE - Former Obama 2012 campaign mananger and avowed air enemy wants to stay in the in crowd. BuzzFeed: "Jim Messina and John Podesta, top former aides to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton respectively, are currently in talks to co-chair a board backing Hillary Clinton — a plan that, should it come to fruition, would be a dramatic early symbol of party unity behind the former secretary of state. Three sources with knowledge of the plans said Messina, an Obama insider who ran the president’s campaign last year, and Podesta, a longtime advisor to Bill Clinton, are in discussions to join the board of Priorities USA, the multimillion-dollar super PAC backing President Obama’s reelection effort. The men would chair a board of former elected officials and donors who would announce their support for Clinton’s possible White House bid in 2016. Messina’s presence, in particular, would signal that key Obama loyalists have lined up behind Clinton and are ready to essentially forgo a primary. But those close to the group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, warned that the talks are still in progress and that the eventual outcome of the PAC’s 'Phase Two' plan is still fluid and subject to change. One open question surrounds Vice President Joe Biden, who some worry would view Messina’s move to a pro-Clinton venture as a slight, sources said..." [BuzzFeed]
ABORTION PROTECTION BILL TO BE INTRODUCED - The "We Know This Doesn't Stand A Snowball's Chance In Hell But Planned Parenthood Can Sure Write A Check Act" likely won't go anywhere. Laura Bassett: "A group of Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate plan to go on the offensive Wednesday with a bill that would make it illegal for states to chip away at women's reproductive rights. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will introduce the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013, joined by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.). The bill would prohibit states from passing so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose strict and cost-prohibitive building standards on abortion clinics, require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds, and create other barriers to abortion access...Blumenthal's bill wouldn't automatically overturn states' existing anti-abortion laws, but because federal law trumps state law, it would provide a means to challenge them in court. The bill would direct judges to consider certain factors in determining whether a restriction is legal, such as whether it interferes with a doctor's good-faith medical judgment, or whether it's likely to interfere with or delay women's access to abortion." [HuffPost]
Congressman Eliot Engel is an American hero (and not just because he spells his first name the proper way): "This alternate side street parking sign apparently was put on at night when the installer couldn't see it was upside down. Congressman Eliot Engel saw the sign on the east side of Broadway outside the Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park after attending a veterans memorial ceremony there Sunday. He wrote to the Department of Transportation asking them to fix the sign." [Office Of Eliot Engel]
Haircuts: Sam Stein, Amanda Reed (H/T Amanda Terkel, Joel Paque). Highlights: Sarah Zaffina (H/T Hope O'Keefe). HuffPost Hill readers: Has some random person in the Washington area gotten a haircut recently? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIMES POLITICS REPORTER IS NOT THAT JONATHAN MARTIN - Although he used to work at Politico, so he's presumably quite familiar with the subject of bullying. Jonathan Martin: "I was confused when I started receiving tweets directed at Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin. Besides the fact that I played guard and Martin is a tackle, I was also perplexed because, well, he is a 6-foot-5 312-pound professional football player, and I am a political reporter for The New York Times, who barely cracked 200 pounds at the height of my high school glory days...As reports of the treatment of Martin by a fellow lineman, the more improbably named Richie Incognito, became the biggest story in sports, my “@” mentions on Twitter began including about an equal mix of hang-in-there notes of encouragement and pointed inquires about the robustness of my manhood...As the story has intensified and misplaced 140-character assaults have piled up, though, the misunderstanding has lost some of its charm. I feel bad for my fellow Jonathan Martin — lord knows what his Twitter feed looks like — but the whole affair has also been a reminder about how ugly discourse can be on the Internet." [NYT]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two differently-sized cats.
MIKE ELK IS THE SHAKESPEARE OF MIKE ELKS - PRO TIP: Journalists' favorite method of painful death is fire. Free Beacon: "Top Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal hosted a book party in October promoting Goliath, an anti-Zionist book that draws equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany and was written by his son Max Blumenthal...A photo from the party posted online by liberal labor journalist Mike Elk shows Sidney and Max standing together and is captioned 'Father – Son Book Party #blumenthals.'...Elk declined to comment on the photo. ;I cannot possibly do this. I have no idea what is the relationship between Max Blumenthal and his father and neither do I think any reporter could possibly understand their relationship, which is why family relationships should not be written on by any reporter,' he said. Reached by phone, Elk said 'I hope you fucking burn in hell for this. I really fucking do. Go fuck yourself.'" [Free Beacon]
- What Would I Say take your Facebook account and turns it into a Twitter bot. [http://bit.ly/1aD1qSs]
- "Space Jam" as the subject for a "30 for 30" documentary. [http://huff.to/1dnjC6w]
- How much money leading tech companies make every second. Spoiler: A lot more than you. [http://bit.ly/1cnM7A6]
- Deep thoughts from mannequins. [http://bit.ly/17Dekpl]
- Behold a butt-shaped robot that helps doctors practice prostate exams. [http://bit.ly/1apeyya]
- Larry David's essence captured in one courtside photo. [http://huff.to/1dqlziK]
- "White Guys Doing It By Themselves," an homage to caucasian mansplainers. [http://bit.ly/18xB0R2]
@toddzwillich: Something I just heard a senator say: "I was not undecided, I just haven't decided yet."
@brfreed: Side note: iOS 7 automatically capitalized the word "playbook." #thistown
@ObsoleteDogma: Bitcoin 36,000
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