Nancy Pelosi says she'll run for reelection while Steny Hoyer says he'll need some time in a darkly-lit, insulated room where no one will hear his sobs and quite statements of self-affirmation. Henry Waxman announced that he'll retire, leading Democrats to wonder just how they'll find a socially liberal environmentalist in Los Angeles. And GOP lawmakers gathered for their annual policy retreat. In a break from tradition, they didn't lead off with the trust falls where someone leans back, hits the ground and learns once and for all that government isn't the solution. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 30th, 2014:
GOP REVEALS IMMIGRATION REFORM PRINCIPLES - The list was unveiled during the party's annual policy retreat where members and strategists play name games, put on a talent show and are briefed, one hopes, about the way the female reproductive system works. Elise Foley: "House Republican leaders laid out their long-awaited immigration reform principles on Thursday to the GOP conference, suggesting a broad step-by-step plan that would include more border security and enforcement, major changes to the legal immigration system and what will likely be the most contentious issue: legal status for some people who are in the country without authorization. The principles aren't detailed and are considered more a jumping-off point for discussion than proposed bills, but it's a start for the House GOP, which has delayed on immigration reform since the Senate passed a bill last June...The most contentious sections could be those on how to deal with undocumented immigrants. The principles recommend different things for so-called Dreamers -- the undocumented young people who entered the country as children -- and undocumented adults. Dreamers should be allowed "an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship," the principles state, so long as they meet certain requirements." [HuffPost]
BuzzFeed and 6'7" Congressman Jon Runyan document what it's like being large and in charge in the Capitol.
NAVY ADMIRAL TAPPED TO BE NEXT NSA CHIEF - We suppose the president will alert NSA staffers about the change but, c'mon, they already know. USA Today: "President Obama has chosen Vice Admiral Michael Rogers to be the next director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. cyber command, according to a senior defense official. The official asked not to be identified because the president has yet to make the announcement. The pick of Rogers comes at delicate moment for the NSA, which has faced congressional and public scrutiny in the aftermath of revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's surveillance methods. Rogers will succeed Gen. Keith Alexander, who has served as NSA director since 2005. He later took on a dual-hatted position as chief of U.S. Cyber Command in 2010. The White House previously announced that Alexander would step down in March." [USA Today]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - God forbid policymakers seek an actual solution to economic problems. Pamela Prah: "State legislatures must act this year or possibly lose their share of $100 million from the federal government to create 'work-sharing' programs, which allow employers to reduce workers' hours rather than resort to layoffs. Work-share programs have existed since the 1980s, but the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 marked the first time the federal government offered states grant money to help set up such programs and to pay for benefits…. Rhode Island, which has the country's highest unemployment rate at 9.1%, figures its work-share program saved nearly 14,000 jobs between 2007 and 2010, a period when the state lost 36,600 jobs. 'Imagine if those 14,000 jobs went away and we were approaching more than 50,000 jobs lost,' said Charles J. Fogarty, director of the state's Labor and Training Department. 'That would have had a devastating impact' on the state's economy. Without the program, he said the state's unemployment rate in 2010 would have reached 12.2%, rather than 11.7%." [USAToday]
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WAXMAN WANES - On the legacy scale, we'd say Waxman has earned himself a rechristened committee room, or at least a number of memorial benches. WaPo: "Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), one of the most prolific and successful lawmakers of the modern era, has decided to retire at the end of this congressional session. 'Forty years have gone by very quickly. I have a great deal of satisfaction in our legislative accomplishments. There’s obviously more to be done,' Waxman, 74, said Wednesday in an interview. 'But I’m in good health, and my family is in good health. This is a good time to move on and have another chapter if I am to do anything after Congress.' The walls of his suite in the Rayburn House Office Building are covered with picture frames holding pens that were used by every president since Jimmy Carter to sign legislation that Waxman played a crucial role in writing. Among that legislation were laws to make infant formula safer and more nutritious (1980), bring low-priced generic drugs to market (1984), clean the air (1990), provide services and medical care to people with AIDS (1996), and reform and modernize the Postal Service (2006). He was also instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act." [WaPo]
Everyone brace for a spike in the DCCC's quarterly earnings AND Rush Limbaugh's ratings: "Sandra Fluke, who became an instant celebrity when she was denied the opportunity to testify at an all-male hearing on Obamacare’s contraception requirements, is “strongly considering” a bid for Rep. Henry Waxman’s congressional seat, according to KPCC, a Southern California radio station. 'I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,' she told the station. 'A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.' [Fluke's testimony] controversy went viral when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a 'prostitute' and a 'slut' because of her need for birth control. Fluke quickly became a celebrity for the left and an outspoken advocate for women’s health rights. She even received a speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, as Democrats contended that Republicans had waged a 'war on women.'" [Politico]
Darrell Issa praised Waxman for a bunch of things previously opposed by the current Oversight Committee Chairman: "A number of issues he doggedly began to follow during his two years as Chairman, such as the use of the White House Office of Political Affairs to advance partisan political agendas with taxpayer funds, the over-classification and pseudo-classification of information to hide embarrassing government blunders, and the problematic use of non-official e-mail accounts for official government business remain on the Committee’s agenda today."
HOW TO FIX REPUBLICANS - Hint: LOL. Jon Ward: "The idea of anyone, or any group, steering the modern Republican party in any direction sounds like a fool's errand. The party's grassroots is a prison riot on steroids. The cultural spirit of the age is, 'Don't tell me what to do.' Technology allows multitudinous political tribes and factions to swarm around anything that smells like the establishment or top-down manipulation and kill it in its infancy. Right-wing opinions form instantly in response to events on right-wing websites like RedState or Breitbart and are disseminated by email, Twitter, Facebook and social media. Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff recently described 'the world of 'present shock,' where everything is happening so fast that it may as well be simultaneous.' 'One big now. The result for institutions -- especially political ones -- has been profound,' Rushkoff wrote. 'This transformation has dramatically degraded the ability of political operatives to set long-term plans ... The extreme present is not an environment conducive to building lasting movements.' No kidding." [HuffPost]
IRAN SANCTION BILL DYING - All we know is John McCain is going to be blowing into a lot of paper bags and then violently popping them over the next few months. Luke Johnson and Jen Bendery: "It took a presidential veto threat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's refusal to budge, but it appears a contentious Iran sanctions bill has been laid to rest. 'The sanctions bill is on ice while the diplomatic process plays out,' said a senior Senate Democratic aide. 'The fact that cosponsors of the bill are now publicly distancing themselves from the measure shows just how hasty and ill-conceived this effort has been.' Another Senate Democratic leadership aide wouldn't go so far as to call the legislation dead, but conceded, 'Its forward momentum has been stopped and even reversed.'...The bipartisan bill had been gaining steam over the past two months, picking up a whopping 58 cosponsors -- including 15 Democrats. The measure would boost sanctions on Iran unless it agrees to halt all of its uranium enrichment. But the White House has been pushing back hard against any congressional action on Iran sanctions, warning it could thwart a delicate deal in place between Iran and six world powers...Several senators acknowledged Thursday that the bill isn't going anywhere, at least not anytime soon." [HuffPost]
PELOSI RUNNING AGAIN IN 2014 - But will Pelosi's 2012 reelection challenger, John Dennis, run again on his anti-zombie platform? Jen Bendery: "Two of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's closest and longest serving allies in the House have announced their retirements in the last few weeks, which has sparked a fresh round of questions about whether she's on her way out the door, too. Not so, the California Democrat said Thursday. 'I'm running. I've already started the paperwork process,' she said in a statement. 'My work is not finished.' Pelosi's comments come just hours after Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) announced that he will be retiring this year. Earlier this month, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), a close personal friend of Pelosi's and one of her top lieutenants, announced that he will be leaving as well. Both Waxman and Miller have been in the House since 1975. Pelosi joined them in 1987. The timing of their announcements is related to the nominating process in California. It runs from Feb. 7 through March 7, at which point all paperwork must be resubmitted." [HuffPost]
TED CRUZ ON JOHN BOEHNER: WHO? - Shadee Ashtari: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discussed several topics Thursday, including House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership and Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 candidacy during an interview on Bloomberg Television's 'Market Makers.' After October’s government shutdown and the subsequent schism between the tea party champion and more traditional GOP House members, Cruz described a distant relationship with the House speaker. 'To be honest, I don't really know John Boehner. He has his job. I have mine,' he explained. Boehner (R-Ohio) on the other hand, contradicted Cruz's account on NBC's 'The Tonight Show' Jan. 23. 'Ted Cruz used to be my attorney a long time ago. A good guy. I don't always agree with him, but he's a good guy,' Boehner told host Jay Leno. In 1998, Cruz represented Boehner, then House Republican Conference chairman, in a six-year lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who was the ranking Democrat on the Ethics Committee, over an illegally recorded telephone call. In 2004, a federal judge ruled in favor of Boehner, who was later awarded more than $1 million in legal fees." [HuffPost]
SORRY, DC: YOU ARE POWERLESS - Tom Sherwood: "It was a nice try, but it won’t work -- That’s what an influential congressional agency is telling District voters. Those voters last April approved a referendum with more than 80 percent of the vote to exempt the city’s local budget from congressional oversight. But an opinion Thursday from the General Accountability Office (GAO) said the matter had no legal standing. 'We conclude that provisions of the Budget Autonomy Act that attempt to change the federal government's role in the District's budget process have no legal effect,' the GAO said." [NBCWashington]
NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICANS WANT MITT ROMNEY TO RUN AGAIN - We're not surprised that conservatives like Mitt Romney when they live in a state with such perfectly vertical trees. National Journal: "Mitt Romney leads the Republican field among New Hampshire primary voters for 2016. Yes, you read that right. Why not make it a third run for president? That's something that the former Republican nominee is definitely not thinking about right now. To put it in his own recent words: 'Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.' But that didn't stop the Virginia-based bipartisan policy firm Purple Strategies from adding his name to a recent survey for Granite State voters, which shows Romney in the lead with 25 percent support. Libertarian firebrand Rand Paul (who has strong infrastructure in New Hampshire) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are behind with 18 percent and 17 percent support, respectively." [NJ]
PROSECUTORS SEEKING DEATH PENALTY IN BOSTON BOMBER CASE - By the time Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would theoretically be sentenced, we'll probably be lethally injecting people with Bacardi 151 and Clorox. AP: "Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced they will seek the death penalty against 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombing, instantly raising the stakes in what could be one of the most wrenching trials the city has ever seen. Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to press for Tsarnaev's execution was widely expected. The twin blasts killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, and 17 of the 30 federal charges against him — including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill — carry the possibility of the death penalty. 'The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,' Holder said in a statement. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. A trial date has not been set." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a polar bear cub seeing snow for the first time.
DE BLASIO DROPS STOP-AND-FRISK APPEAL - Cops will now be directed to use the time they would have spent feeling up young black men to dumping buckets of snow on the Upper East Side. AP: "Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the New York City stop-and-frisk court cases say the city and the plaintiffs have reached an agreement for a monitor to oversee reforms of the police tactic. Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights said Thursday that the deal calls for the reforms to take place under a scenario set down by a federal judge last year. They say the deal calls for a monitor to serve a three-year term. The monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics will provide input into reforms. The announcement came shortly after the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio filed court papers seeking to drop and appeal of the judge's findings." [AP]
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto's favorite black sheep, Mayor Rob Ford, is rising to the defense of fellow Canadian Justin Bieber
- Kitten vanishing act. [http://huff.to/MANB3E]
- This Australian PSA for staying in school is... special. [http://bit.ly/1guDzOy]
- What the twins from "The Shining" look like, 34 years later. [http://huff.to/1ln9HFO]
- People need to find a word other than "nondescript" to describe dime-a-dozen office parks. [http://bit.ly/1nqxJ16]
- Tina Fey is the guest in the latest installment of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." [http://bit.ly/1aKMXLu]
- Facebook's new newsreading app is "a complete reimagining of Facebook itself." [http://bit.ly/1fps5sC]
- Don't de-ice your car this way. Or do. Whatever. [http://huff.to/1kf1mA3]
@mkraju: Hoeven and Angus King overheard in Senate halls bonding about their shared trait: their mustaches
@LoganDobson: To be fair to Waxman, if you were Santa Monica's congressman and had spend the past month in this DC weather, you'd retire too.
@bennyjohnson: Sen. @marcorubio is just a huge bro. pic.twitter.com/1zU7ZK3IyS
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